The Real Cuba’s 1958 Gran Premio de Cuba

Color photography dates back to the 1890s but the cost associated with it, even after “modern” color film was available to the masses, was typically several times more expensive to buy and process. Even as late as the early 60’s, it was much more common to see black and white snapshots from race tracks. It’s just one more reason why these color shots of the 1958 GP de Cuba uploaded to Cuba Green Screen by The Real Cuba are so precious. Those ultramarine waters and blue skies would lose some luster as medium greys—not to mention the Ferraris and Jags.

The 1958 Gran Premio de Cuba will always be remembered as the time when Castro’s rebels kidnapped Juan Manuel Fangio on the eve of the race. Whenever I read of it, I always try and imagine how that must have affected his team and the rest of the field. I struggle to put myself in their position. Or Fangio’s; locked in a bedroom listening on the radio to the race he should be winning, a guard over his shoulder. I wonder what would happen in similar circumstances today. If Vettel got nabbed before the Bahrain GP, how would the teams; the sport; or the media react? Would the show—as it did in Havana 60 years ago—simply go on?

Fangio was returned unharmed after the race, and even befriended his captors in the years afterwards. The events have cemented the ’58 Cuban GP in the history of Caribbean politics as well as the history of sport. Looking at these marvelous photos though, I may start to remember the event for Carroll “Chicken Farmer” Shelby lounging in his Ferrari in a pair of hickory striped overalls getting gassed up.

Click on over for more shots and thanks to Bring a Trailer for pointing the way.

11 responses to “The Real Cuba’s 1958 Gran Premio de Cuba”

  1. Peter Linsky says:

    Wonderful period photos…but I wish to note a captioning error and ask a question. First, Sir Stirling Moss is not the third gentleman in the photo that shows Fangio chatting with Batista. No idea who the gent with the mustache might be. Also, Can anyone put a name to the strange gold-painted custom convertible shown lined up behind the red Speedster by the Malencon wall?

  2. Mandy Alvarez says:

    The golden special was a home made Mercury powered.
    It was called the Tangana Special.

  3. Jose R Lopez,30 Miami says:

    The Picture looks like the Tangana Special.Mercury Montclair Engine, Mandy is right.

  4. Great photos. I’m covering this race on my blog: Anyway, fantastic to visualize the thing I was writing about! As part of my project, I have seen a lot of vintage motorsport photos and these rank among the best.

  5. The photos from Gran Premio de Cuba 1958 are actually from Cuba 1957!

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