The Rusty Nuts return to Cuba for car show
The fifth annual Cuba Car Show was held in October 2013 and another show is coming up this fall.
The Rusty Nuts Car Club, originally from Holland Landing, now has a chapter in Cuba. This past October, the club returned to island for the annual show, which was held just outside the town of Santa Cruz De Norte, located on the north shore roughly 45 minutes east of Havana.
Open to all local Cubans from the area with an older classic car, last year’s landmark attendance was just under 75 cars. A variety of cars were represented ranging from a 1925 Ford Bus, to several 40s and 50s era Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Plymouth, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Lada models.
The Rusty Nuts Car Club was founded in 1999 by six close friends in the Holland Landing area. Today, the club has grown to well over 100 members across Canada and around the world. For last year’s show, the Rusty Nuts once again brought with them a large amount of tools and automotive gear to be given away in the traditional car show raffle. Basic tools are still very difficult and expensive to get in Cuba. Tools represent a means of empowering Cuban people to improve their lives and their vehicles.
In addition, The Rusty Nuts arrived with 75 club t-shirts to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the show. Kenn and Donna Clegg and Ian Rome, president of the Canadian Rusty Nuts, donated the shirts and Ron Burlow donated 75 embroidered Rusty Nuts Club hats to give out at the event. Brenda Boyle, of Vancouver, supplied snacks and drinks for all the kids.
“It has been a pleasure to see the car show grow in popularity,” said Rome. “Our Cuban friends now consider themselves a real car club sharing tools, equipment, parts and resources. They have seen the TV and magazines that feature some of the large car shows across Canada and the United States and they are excited to have show of their own.”
Diesel fuel is still the most economical in Cuba, so many of the cars are still being converted to diesel engines. Some of the engineering is nothing short of magnificent. Once primarily a mean of simple mobility the cars have now become treasured members of the families.
“With the economic changes in Cuba these days, you can really see the quality of the cars improving,” said Rome. “Many cars that have been hidden away for decades are now being rediscovered, reborn and returned to everyday use. The new taxi industry is fuelling the restoration of some very rare and beautiful cars.”
It has now become trendy to take a tour of Havana or Varadero in a vintage American car. This is especially exciting for many Europeans who are not accustomed to seeing so many classic cars on the roads in one place. The classic cars are now recognized as one of Cuba’s greatest treasures. Cuba is now home to a few road rallies as well, where classic car owners can drive from Varadero to Havana, with scheduled stops along the way.
The 2013 car show once again ended with a car cruise of 40 cars driving through the streets of Santa Cruz, with many townspeople coming out to watch and wave to the parade. The cruise concluded with a good old fashioned tailgate party at a restaurant on the main highway just outside of town. Drivers, families and friends shared stories and laughs with the common interest of the automobile as the focus.
The Rusty Nuts are planning another Cuba Car Show this fall, with the hope of reaching the 100 car mark. It is expected to be bigger and better than ever before. The club encourages all car guys, girls and “gearheads” looking for a cool vacation with a fun automotive twist to try the Cuba Car Show. The club can help you with where to go, what to bring and what to see.
The club is also running a Tool Drive for Cuba. From now until September, the club will be gathering assorted new and used hand tools they can take to Cuba.
For more information about The Rusty Nuts, the Cuba Car Show or to donate tools, contact Ian Rome at email@example.com or find the Rusty Nuts Car Club on Facebook or check out the website at www.gearheadcountry.com. A Cuba Car Show You Tube video can be seen at http://youtu.be/hpEEOJopjxQ .