That Time Jeremy Clarkson Went to Cuba in Search of a Car Story and Found Gold

Back when Motorworld was a thing and TV still ruled everything media based, the famous British car enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson thought it would be a good idea to visit Cuba. His idea – find a car story. Not even him expected to learn so much about a tiny country with big ambitions.
Clarkson Car Story in Cuba 6 photos
Photo: Town of Jezza on YouTube
Clarkson Car story in CubaClarkson Car story in CubaClarkson Car story in CubaClarkson Car story in CubaClarkson Car story in Cuba
In that specific episode he drives an MGA Cabriolet that, unsurprisingly, had a Lada engine! As he smartly points out, this is a perfect example of what followed after the communists took over. Everything rather good was replaced by strange Soviet solutions. Government officials and employees got new Lada and Moskvitch cars, but the rest of the population had to do with what they had before Castro. That planned economy didn`t turn out very well in the end for the many.

Cuban families were forced to use horses instead of cars like Alfa Romeo or Cadillac. They were promised Russian rockets instead and help that never really came into their favor.

One man interviewed by Clarkson, named Gonzalo Fernandez, tells him that he had to hide his European car. Foreseeing what was going to happen, he understood that having that vehicle could make him a target.

After the Castro dust settled and the U.S. halted trade, the Cubans had to mend their imported cars themselves. This was especially hard to do since new parts couldn`t be ordered. Clarkson shows how Hector, another car enthusiast, cleverly found a way to make brake fluid from brown sugar. His wife was also working to mend cars, but she was responsible for making the hood for a Caddy – by using nothing else but some paper and a pen.

Cubans had to live a tough life, but their creativity and passion got them going despite what was happening around them. Clarkson ends his Motorworld episode underlining that sometimes it'ss best to be happy about the place you are in, rather than complain about minor daily inconveniences.

Video thumbnail
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram Twitter

Editor's note: This article has screenshots from a YouTube video.

About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories