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Showing posts from November, 2011

Salute to a Suburban

     OVER AT CubanClassics, Ralphee has a photo of a well-preserved 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe Suburban. As always, he also provides some interesting background notes, in this case on a model with much significance in auto history.
    His entry got me thinking: Didn't I see one of those? Turns out, I did. A far-from-pristine example, to be sure, with some awkward body revisions carried out in its conversion at some point to a small bus, of the sort seen everywhere in the Cuban countryside. But still, an honest wagon, and, as Ralphee notes, "a perfect fit for a small business or suburban commerce."





Emblematic

In view of our discussion of trucks and badges, I can't resist offering a repeat view of a vehicle first presented here in March 2009. Though it bears the brands of many manufacturers — including, of course, Hino — it is in fact a KAMAZ.
   And a spiffy one, at that.

Trams, trucks and taxis

You know what they say about '50s Cadillacs. Seen one, you want to see them all!
    Still, there can be a predictable sameness to the transportation pictures many visitors bring back from Cuba. Chevies and Cadillacs. Bright-hued convertibles. Stately Studebakers. I've taken more than a few of these myself.
    To the car enthusiast, such subjects are always of interest. But at the same time, they do little to satisfy our human craving for the new and different (or, in Cuba's case, the old and different).
    Fortunately, some visitors have a different focus. Take the Russian website ymtram.mashke.org, whose authors dedicate themselves to the presentation of images of trams, trolleybuses and other systems of public transit around the world.
    In a section on Cuba, the site offers some 90 photographs of rail transport (including steam trains and diesel locomotives), buses and taxis. Here you find see such trophies as a Russian LAZ-699R bus collecting passengers in Sancti …

Winging it

Hino Motors had its beginnings in Tokyo Gas and Electric, which produced its first vehicle, the "A-Type" truck, in 1917. Hino emerged as a separate company in 1942 to make military vehicles, and after the Second World War turned its focus to diesel engines, trucks and buses.

Today controlled by Toyota, Hino is Japan's largest truck-builder. But it has also at times produced cars, including Renault 4CVs built under licence in the 1950s and its own sweet-looking Contessa in 1961.

It has used many versions of its winged logo through the years, as can be seen from these images from Hino's website. Sadly, the wings now are history, replaced by an unremarkable stylized H that appears patterned on Toyota's oval emblem.

   I'm guessing that the huge Hino wings so proudly displayed on many Cuban trucks today arrived in the 1970s and '80s on buses imported by the island for intercity routes. Adrián León Aja has posted a remarkable collection of photos of those buses

The truck that fooled me

When I posted photos of this survivor some time back, I identified it as a Hino. I was wrong, of course. But what kind of truck is it? See the answer here.

Three ringers, one winger

Last entry, I challenged readers to identify the real Hino or Hinos among a group of Cuban trucks all wearing the winged emblem of the Japanese manufacturer (to see the quiz, click here).

The answers:

    Truck C: Nope. The styling has a bit of a Japanese look, and the cabover design certainly is in keeping with modern Hinos. But this blue hauler is a product of Czech manufacturer Avia. Founded in 1919 as an aircraft and engine builder, Avia expanded to trucks after the Second World War. Smart-looking and practical, this is an Avia A31. The model was introduced in 1983 as an update to the Avia A30, itself a variant of the Renault-Saviem SG-4 Super Galion built under licence.Avia was taken over by Korea's now-defunct Daewoo in 1995 and today is a unit of India's Ashok Leyland.


Truck A: Nope again. I saw this compact school bus in Havana. I'm not certain of its make (though I know it's no Hino) but I suspect it's a Girón VI, from a factory in Cuba that built buses …