After the before, before the after

From the ground up: Floor of '56 Chevrolet has been patched and primed.
   There is no mystery to the longevity of the Cuban car.
   Not when Alonso's 1956 Chevrolet is laid bare for you to witness the toll of nearly six decades of motion and sun heat and most of all corrosion. The Cuban car will never be immersed in the ice and brine of a northern winter, but still it must live amidst the salty ocean winds and sweating humidity that ensure the inevitability of rust.
Before: Bel Air was soft around the edges.
   Stripped to its metal skeleton, the Bel Air sedan shows this corrosion even in the curl of roof above the doors and in the channel that holds the glass of the windshield. The mechanic/bodyman charged with reviving Alonso's car has already patched and primed the trunk and cabin floors and now is grinding away the upper rust and brazing in new metal to replace what has been lost.
   The decay runs far deeper than you suspected from casual observation of Alonso's white-and-black Chevy before it reached this backyard garage. Yet it is matched, you realize, by the intensity of the effort to reverse it – an effort that will extend, after the bodywork, to the rebuilding of the original six-cylinder engine and other mechanical assemblies that are the other parts of this car's long history.
   You observe, too, the evidence of earlier restorations – the resprayed red-and-white dashboard, the green enamel inside the roof that perhaps was once this Bel Air's outward hue. And you understand now that the Cuban car does not in fact live forever but dies and is reborn, again and again.

Rust must be removed before windshield goes back in.

Repairs progress along roof edges.

Rear quarter will receive patch panel with moulded wheel opening.

The same area of the car earlier.


DBC said…
Rob, when wrer you in Cuba last?
Caristas said…
Get down once a year, DBC, but wish I could go more often!

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