Mr. Mariani, your trucks await
MY DREAM episode of American Trucker takes irrepressible host Robb Mariani to Cuba, where he can exclaim over the island's wondrous collection of old and new haulers.
Not likely, I know.
Cuba might be OK with it (with Cuba, you never know), but the Speed specialty channel — corporate cousin to Fox News — and its advertisers would almost certainly have, shall we say, concerns.Mariani, a guy who wears the American flag on his sleeve, might hold his own objections to setting a show in a country that has been at odds with the United States longer than the majority of Americans and Cubans have been alive.
But I think his passion for trucks, and his desire to tell the stories of trucks and truckers and their too-often-unsung contributions to our world, would override any political considerations. And let's remember that he recently took viewers to Mexico, which, while not Cuba, is certainly not the U.S., either.
If you do get to Cuba, Robb, I've found a few trophies on Revolico, the Cuban version of Craigslist, that should interest you. They aren't the big rigs you love best, but I think you'll still agree that these are pretty cool.
The 1952 Ford above, also shown at the beginning of this post, has been converted to a 100-passenger bus. It has a diesel engine from Russian manufacturer Kamaz, a Kamaz transmission and a Fiat differential. The asking price is 38,000 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC), the equivalent of $38,000 U.S. Trucks don't run cheap in Cuba.
For 18,000 CUC — firm — this 1949 International comes with six gallons of paint and enough spare parts to almost build another truck, the seller says. It has an engine from Spanish manufacturer Pegaso, a "KP3" transmission that may be from a Ukrainian KrAZ truck, a Fiat differential and air brakes.
Another '52 Ford, this bus conversion has a Pegaso Comet engine, a Kamaz gearbox and a Russian ZIL differential and subframe. It rides on six new tires. Asking price: 17,000 CUC.