ACCORDING TO Cuban history, the official line is that Fidel Castro used this LWB Series 1 station wagon in the last throes of the revolution against Batista’s dictatorship. Not many Lode Lane products have become a monument but, after the overthrow of power (in Cuba), this one has. Additional body modifications in the shape of bullet holes were gained during the Battle of Maffo in December 1958.
Bodily straight and bearing low mileage (in kilometres), its Birmabright body has been painted many times over. Now lying in state in Havana’s Museum of the Revolution, this Landie currently sits alongside similar four-wheeled monuments to the revolution including a CJ5 and a very early Toyota Land Cruiser, not to mention the tailfin of the ubiquitous B26 bomber shot down during the Bay of Pigs incident.
The car is a surprising find given Cuba’s heavy reliance on the American automotive industry prior to the revolution. One wonders if Land Rovers were a more popular choice in South America… It is known Che Guevara travelled extensively across South America from his Argentinian birthplace before calling Cuba his home.
At odds with the chrome and fins of the abundant ‘Americana’ two of Oxford’s finest were spotted – the first (alas not on film) was a Steel-bodied Traveller (the roof gave it away), the second was this Series Two split-screen Minor.
Whether its original beating heart of 803cc and running gear still lived beneath is unknown – the smart money would point towards the USSR; note the tight PCD of the wheelnuts compared to the original. The smart flush fitting (Lada?) door handles are quite a nice touch and a fairly regular modification on Cuba’s highways. Britain’s workforce ought to be proud of the condition of the chromework over 50 years later.
Two Lane Blacktop Zephyr meets Fast and Furious Westminster: dig deeper though and, apart from the electric green paint job, some startling body modifications appear – not least the major bootlid and tail lamp surgery. The bootlid has actually been shortened a good six inches in depth!
An unusual find to say the least! As a product that is post-revolution, but not of a Communist origin, it is rather surprising to stumble (from the top of a moving bus!) on a bog-standard R6 Rover Metro/100. The blue number plates mark it as a Government- rather than contractor-owned car, so maybe this was a gift from our own British embassy?
It’s hard to identify where in the model range it came, does anyone from the firm know more?
If you’d like to see more, visit Andrew’s new site, Stratosilver.