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Reviewed by Steve Leshin for Readers' Favorite
Classic Cars of Cuba (Photography by Wayne Gerard Trotman) is not just a picture book about cars. It is an appreciation for a people and a culture on the largest island in the Caribbean. This is demonstrated through the images of old internal combustion-powered automobiles held in a time capsule of the 1950s. Politics aside, Trotman explains in a neat introduction to his portfolio of photographs that these classic cars were handed down from grandfather to father to son. When Cuba became a communist country under Fidel Castro after 1959, the island was under an embargo by the United States, and as a result, they would receive no new products including new American cars nor any replacement parts for cars already sold. Through necessity and ingenuity, the cars they owned were kept in good to excellent condition for years to come.
The photography in Classic Cars of Cuba shows vibrant colors on the bodywork of Chevrolets, Fords, and other American-made vehicles. Trotman captures the bright yellows, reds, greens, and blues with subtle backgrounds showing the narrow roads in the Cuban cities and the long stretches of country roads. A 1956 Belaire, for example, looks much as it probably did in the showroom that year. A bright red and white sedan is parked next to a crumbling building in one picture. Some photos were taken close to nightfall where bright headlights reflect off the pavement. You can look at the dashboard of a 1950s classic car and be amazed at how it has been so well kept all these years. The photographer captures the Cubans' love of their vehicles and, as a consequence, a view of their lifestyle and culture as well. The pictures are sharp and clear. A fine book for any fans of classic cars.