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Showing posts from November, 2016

Fidel Castro Ruz, 1926-2016

"He often told interviewers that he identified with Don Quixote, and like Quixote he struggled against threats both real and imagined ..." – Anthony DePalmanov in the New York Times, Nov. 26, 2016.

The earliest Escalade?

I CAN THINK of just two possible explanation for this great red machine.

1. Back in 1957, a group of up-and-comers in the Cadillac division of General Motors hit upon an idea for a bold new model that would combine the refinement and style of a passenger car with the people- and cargo-hauling capability of a truck. They called it a "utility-sports vehicle." Surreptitiously, they removed a 60-S sedan body from the assembly line and, toiling at night in the basement of the Cadillac headquarters, replaced its tail fins and rear roofline with a tall, wedge-fronted box. They weren't good welders, but hey, it was a prototype. After spraying the body a bright Dakotah Red and mounting it on a pickup truck chassis, they presented their creation to Cadillac general manager James Roche. "This," they told him, "is how we can grow our brand." Alas, they had seriously misjudged their reception. The normally restrained Roche was furious. "Destroy this immediatel…

Trump and Cuba: A tortuous timeline

   WHAT IS Donald Trump's position on Cuba? As with so many other policy questions, his record offers no clear picture:
Late 1998: With the mood in Washington suggesting an easing of tensions between the U.S. and Cuba, Trump Hotels and Casinos sends consultants to Havana to explore business opportunities. The $68,000 trip was in violation of the U.S. trade embargo, according to a recent Newsweek report.June 5, 1999: In an op-ed piece for the Miami Herald, Trump writes that he has rejected invitations from European groups to back projects in Cuba because investing there "would directly subsidize the oppression of the Cuban people." He calls for the U.S. embargo to remain until Cuba has a change of government.2012-2013: Trump associates travel to Cuba to study potential opportunities for a golf resort, Bloomberg reports.September 2015: Seeking the nomination for president, Trump breaks with most fellow Republicans by speaking in favour of normalized relations. “The concept …

The Remarkable Story of Fortune Magazine's Confusion Over Cuba

WE KNOW THAT some American news outlets get Cuba, and for that matter, get cars. Fortune appears lacking on both counts.    Sad evidence of this is supplied in "The Amazing Tale of How Cuba Saw Its First New U.S. Car in 58 Years," a web piece in which staffer Sue Callaway accompanies Infiniti design boss Alfonso Albaisa on his first visit to the island his parents left in 1962.
   Also on the trip: a pre-production 2017 Infiniti Q60 coupe for Albaisa to show off in a country where, in his words, "the romance of the automobile is still completely alive."
   U.S. car?
   Despite the contributions to its styling by Infiniti's San Diego design centre, the Q60 is about as American as sukiyaki.
   Just like its predecessor, the Infiniti G37, the Q60 shares its platform with the Nissan 370Z. And it's built at the same Tochigi factory as the 370Z.
   It's Japanese.
   Perhaps Fortune was confusing it with the similarly named QX60, the sole Infiniti model produced at N…

Back in the U.S.A.?

 The United States may be ready to welcome home cars it shipped to Cuba before 1960 – if, that is, Cuba is willing to part with any.
   Daniel Strohl of Hemmings Daily reports that the U.S. government has lifted a prohibition on items exported to Cuba from being returned to the United States, even for service or repair. The change is part of an easing of trade restrictions that form a big part of the Cuban embargo.    "As written, the new regulation would plausibly allow Cubans to send their old American cars to the United States for restoration ... and even allow them to sell their cars to Americans," Strohl writes.    But would the Cuban government allow its citizens to ship their cars north? In recent decades, the only cars to leave – at least officially – have been state-owned, and even those have been few. See 55 Reasons Why Cuba's Old Cars Will Keep On Rolling.