“Why do we race? When we were born, it was in our blood. It’s the way to live, it’s better than… with the girls.” Rey illustrates this point by gyrating his hips. Uncontrollable laughter and much backslapping ensues. Thing is, I don’t doubt him for a second, racing needs to be that good given the sacrifices these Cuban drag racers have to make.
To move forward with this story, first we must look back to the 1959 Cuban revolution that triggered a trade embargo by the US. Car imports, besides a few Ladas and Moskvitches from the Soviet Union, were virtually impossible, forcing Cubans to make do with what they had. It’s the reason why the Caribbean’s biggest island is crawling with Buicks, Chevys, Oldsmobiles and Fords from the Fifties, some in good nick, some limping around like terminally ill dinosaurs.
This feature was originally published in Issue 284 of Top Gear magazine.