Máquina de misterio

A special, Cuba-only UAZ 469? Or something else entirely?
   IN EARLY episodes of television's Highway Patrol, Broderick Crawford as Chief Dan Mathews drove a 1955 Buick Model 68 Century, a police-only two-door sedan with 322-cubic-inch V-8 engine.
   Young car watchers (here!) had no trouble identifying it, or any of his later rides that ranged from Plymouths and Dodges to Oldsmobiles and Mercurys.
   But this Cuban Patrulla de Carretera truck has me stumped.
   From Russia or one of its former satellites? Has to be. But I've gone through the Soviet catalogue from ARO to Zil without putting a name to this square-rigged four-by-four.
   Closest, maybe, is the UAZ 469 that succeeded the GAZ-69 army truck of the last post. But the Cuban police vehicle is chunkier, with straight-cut wheel openings in place of the 469's more angled fenders. And its door handles are lower.
   I did learn that UAZ had – maybe still has – an assembly plant in Camaguey, Cuba, the Empresa Reparadora José Smith Comas. Usually this sort of satellite facility bolts together "knock-down kits" from the parent plant, with little deviation from the original design.
   Maybe, though, the Camaguey plant was allowed to put its own stamp on the Russian product, and the Patrulla truck is a Cuban police-only UAZ 469. Or maybe not, in which case I hope someone can say what it is.
   One thing for certain. It's no Buick Century.

Chief Mathews and his police-special Buick.


Manuel said…
It's a Beijing 'Jeep'BJ212n made in China, the new friend ;-)
Caristas said…
Thanks, Manuel. I should have thought of the Chinese connection. And I see that the Beijing Jeep BJ212 apparently shares its roots with the UAZ 469, so that explains the resemblance.

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