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One more Corvette in Cuba



   We've known of one functioning Chevrolet Corvette in Cuba – a 1959 survivor seen regularly on the streets of Havana. Check out photos of it here and here.
   Now another Corvette has surfaced. And this one, a '54 from just the second production year for Chevy's fibreglass two-seater, is even rarer. Only 3,640 Corvettes were built for that model year, compared with 9,670 for 1959.
   Who first owned the '54 in Cuba, and whether it arrived on the island as a new car or used, is unknown – a sweet mystery for someone to untangle.
   We do know who owns it now: the artist Esterio Segura, who has earned regard for his provocative paintings and installation pieces, some of them automotive-themed.


  The photos you see here were supplied by Rob Simons, a San Antonio, Texas, businessman who visited Cuba in 2011 on a trip organized by the Entrepreneurs' Organization. Simons met Segura on a tour of Cuban artists' studios and had a close look at the Corvette, which he describes as "in good shape, not great, but really nice for Cuba."
   The artist, he reports, was "very nice and accommodating," even treating a member of the tour group to a ride in the sports car.
   The Corvette remains original, say Rob, who notes, "I knew it was a '54 because it had the six-cylinder engine." Chevy's sports car wouldn't get a V-8 until 1955.
   Segura's black 'Vette would make a fine counterpoint to that red-and-white '59, should the two ever cross paths in Havana.
   Of course, long-time CARISTAS readers know that somewhere in Cuba hides one more Corvette. We don't know its whereabouts, but we do know who once owned it.


Photos by Rob Simons, who travelled to Cuba with the Entrepreneurs' Organization. Used by permission.

Comments

Ralphee said…
Truly stunning photos of a stunning car. It seems like Havana's creative elite knows how to enjoy life: painter Otto Alvarez Ferro owns an Austin Healey Sprite, Esterio Segura a Corvette. At least, this car looks true to the original, and didn't become a "work of art" … yet.
Caristas said…
Hmmm ... now there's a thought, Ralphee. Probably not much risk of that -- I hope!
Paul said…
Hi Rob, I know it's been a while since I last posted a comment so here goes....
That 'Vette doesn't appear completely original..for starters, it's got custom chrome wheels and the parking lights are amber instead of white...so do you know if it's still got its original Powerglide transmission (or was it replaced with a manual) and its red interior (or was it reupholstered in a different color and/or style)?
Caristas said…
Hi Paul. I found another report on this car and its owner (www.sfgate.com/bayarea/williesworld/article/The-Cubans-know-how-to-treat-tourists-right-2394714.php) and it seems that the transmission is a Russian replacement. So the Powerglide, sadly, must be long gone. The interior looks red, but to know how close it is to original, we'll need to get a closer look. Definitely on my to-do list!
Paul said…
Hi again Rob, just want to say thanks for providing to Web address for that report...I read it and found something interesting...Mr. Segura didn't say it was a Russian transmission..he said (and I quote)"that's a transmission we got from some Russian"...so it's possible it could be Japanese, European or even Canadian!!
Caristas said…
Good point, Paul. Even more reason for a personal inspection.

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