Santiago de Cuba’s Automobile Museum

Austin 1947
Austin 1947

Photo Feature by Janis Hernandez

HAVANA TIMES — Located 25 kilometers from the city of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s National Transportation Museum (or Automobile Museum, as it is also known) is one of the better attractions of Baconao Park.

The museum houses old automobiles that were popular in their day or belonged to renowned figures. Among its 44 cars, we find such impressive vehicles as the 1956 Ford Thunderbird once driven by vedette Rosita Fornes, the 62-series 1958 Cadillac which once belonged to Benny More and the 1929 Ford that Lina Ruz drove around in, donated to the museum by her son, Raul Castro.

The museum boasts the flashy 1996 Volvo in which such personalities as actors Alain Delon and Jack Nicholson and supermodel Naomi Cambell were chauffeured during their stay in Cuba.

A 2,700-piece miniature collection which includes reproductions of means of transportation from different periods in history (from the first wheels to the most modern vehicles) is one of the museum’s treasures.

Some of the pieces in the collection are as small as two centimeters. Most were built and donated to the museum by Fermin Hernandez Hurtado, a Spanish communist activist known for his struggle against fascism.

Packard 1935 Modelo-120
Packard 1935 Modelo-120

The collection includes everything from the coaches pulled by slaves to construct the Greek Parthenon, through Eskimo sleds to Red Cross vehicles and fire trucks, among others.

Replicas of vehicles driven by renowned historical figures, such as the 1938 Mercedes Benz so dear to Japanese Emperor Hirohito, the 1939 Packard owned by Stalin, and the 1912 T-model Ford driven by the legendary Charles Chaplin, are also on display.

Sadly, I was unable to take photographs of this exhibit, because many of the pieces normally on display are being repaired, due to damage caused by hurricane Sandy last October.

Other vehicles are currently being restored. Yet others, belonging to the Classic and Antique Automobiles Club, are rented out for tourism.

Below are some photos of the vehicles currently on display.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery. On your PC or laptop, you can use the directional arrows on the keyboard to move within the gallery. On cell phones use the keys on the screen.


2 thoughts on “Santiago de Cuba’s Automobile Museum

  • August 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm
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    albeit some of the museum pieces are not in good repair, given protection in the years ahead many could be brought up a better standard as time moves on, after all they are unique in their own right. I do not think Moses would be out of place in the museum.

  • August 24, 2013 at 11:44 am
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    One man’s museum is another man’s junkyard. Only in Cuba. 🙂

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