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.
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.
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