Forgotten Gullwing

This isn’t for the squeamish. I’ve long been fascinated by the Cuban people’s ability to keep the cars of the 1950s on the road without a steady influx of parts. The ingenuity and determination of Cuban mechanics and their ability to cobble together bits and pieces or wholly create spares that keep those old Dodges and Chevys rolling through sheer force of will is just artistry. Why then, couldn’t one or two devote that masterful ability to this Gullwing? Instead it looks to have been abandoned and cannibalized over her years hiding under a banana tree. It’s heartbreaking.

This car is also featured in Degler Studio’s 2015 Carros de Cuba calendar. If you can bring yourself to look at this for a whole month, you’re stronger than me.

Abandoned Gullwing Mercedes in Cuba

More photos and information at This European Life.

Dropping the Flag at the 1960 Cuban GP

Formula Junior start at the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix

Formula Junior start at the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix

Castro had been sworn in as Prime Minister a year before but the transition to totalitarian regime was slow enough that there was still time for one last Cuban GP. A brief series of races for various classes was held between February 21 and 28, 1960. In a not-too-subtle metaphor for the nation as a whole, the race moved from the bustling and vibrant esplenade Malecón along Havana’s coast, to a closed runway of Columbia Military airport. What a marked transition that must have been for the diehard racing fans that stuck with it through the political transition.

Stirling Moss’ Birdcage Maserati took the win in the featured race. In this image of the Formula Junior event, Stanguellinis ruled the day; taking the first 9 positions. Which sounds incredibly impressive until you realize that they made up 73% of the field.

Via the Nostalgia Forum.

1957 Cuban GP in Color

Reader Photos: Back to Havana

A few weeks ago we were fortunate to receive a handful of photos from racing driver Mandy Alvarez of the Cuban road racing scene experienced as a child in Cuba. Our luck has grown, because Mandy has dug back into the archives for another round of marvelous shots of racing on the island.

With Fangio kidnapped by the revolutionaries, it fell to Maurice Trintignant to take the driver’s seat in Juan Manuel’s Maserati. He finished 11th. It’s hard to imagine climbing into the racing seat, now knowing the fate of your teammate, but the show must go on.

At the ’57 Grand Prix Alfonso de Portago (#12) passes Juan Manuel Fangio (#2). Fangio later took the lead—and the race—when de Portago pitted and was unable to continue. Man, do those street lamps look awfully close. It’s photos like this that remind us that drivers were a whole magnitude of bravery higher than we see today. Even Monaco is surrounded by walls for the weekend.

Fangio and Bertochi on the Saturday of the 1958 GP (prior to the kidnapping)

Left to right: Guarino Bertochi, Fangio's mechanic. Juan Manuel Fangio. Porfirio Rubirosa. Wolfgang Von Tripps. Unknown gentleman with mustache. Unknown young man,possibly one of Batista's sons. Presidente Fulgencio Batista.

Testa Rossas lined up and ready

Eugenio Castelotti pushed to the grid

Thanks again, Mandy!

We’d always excited to share more reader photos with Chicane readers. Drop us a line at