HERE'S MORE proof that not every Cuban old-timer ticks along on some
replacement Russian or Japanese diesel engine. A 1956 or '57 Opel
Kapitän, this German sedan is propelled by the same six-cylinder
gasoline engine with which it left the factory. The
Kapitän has had a few useful modifications: an alternator in place
of a generator, an added console, a set of aftermarket
gauges. But after nearly 60 years of service, it remains remarkably
close to stock.
IT COULD seem like sacrilege to affix the MG badge, the same octagon that has graced so many two-place, open sports cars, to a line of generic, Chinese-built sedans and hatchbacks. Before we get too righteous, however, let's remember that the MG name has appeared on sedans in the past, including the 1960s-era 1100 and 1300 that were variants of a squat four-door shared with Austin, Morris, Riley and other British Motor Corp. brands. Nanjing Automobile picked up MG Rover in 2005 and was itself absorbed two years later by SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., headquartered in Shanghai.
In 2011 SAIC stopped production of the dated TF roadster that Nanjing had inherited from MG Rover and introduced the MG6, a bland midsizer produced as sedan and five-door hatchback. The 6 was joined the following year by the MG5, a more sharply drawn five-door hatch. In Cuba, the 5 and 6 are mid-level rental choices. Despite the foreign ownership, MG hasn't lost its British connection. SAIC still uses t…