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realclearworld

The 1957 Cuban Grand Prix

A great historical piece with incredible photographs showing what Cuba used to be in Veloce Today on the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix:

The 1957 Cuban Grand Prix Part 1

The 1957 Grand Prix of Cuba did not get much press and few knew about it either before or after. It was almost as if it didn’t exist. Two who knew were Robert Pauley, no stranger to these pages and who actually attended the race. Another was David Seielstad, who is also a contributor to VeloceToday and well-known Ferrari historian. Seielstad had found out about the event and had written a comprehensive article which appeared in Forza magazine in August, 1998, issue number 12, with photos by Tom Burnside. However, recently Robert Pauley sent us dozens of color slides he took at the Grand Prix. Below, we use portions of Seielstad’s Forza article with permission of David Seielstad and Forza magazine. Seielstad provides the history, Pauley the images he and recalls his experiences in Italics.

[...] Cuba already had a nascent automobile racing tradition. Wealthy amateurs had been racing MGs, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benz 300SL and even a handful of Ferraris along with modified American sedans over the roads of their small island. In this milieu the National Sports Commission of Cuba headed by Colonel Roberto Miranda formed the Technical Committee of the Grand Prix of Cuba, made up of influential businessmen. The president was Fernando Ovies supported by 18 other prominent Cubans. One goal was to make Cuba world famous for top level racing, another was to develop and showcase Cuban driving talent. A 3.5 mile course was laid out over the streets of Havana, much like Monaco, following the seaside Malecon Boulevard and skirting leafy parks in the toni part of town. The start/finish line was near the shiny new American Embassy. The President of the Milan Auto Club and Director of Monza, Aleardo Covacivich, was brought in to help the organizers in running their first international race. He also coordinated the shipment of at least 12 cars from Europe aboard the American Export Lines USS Independence.

Read the entire article and see more pictures HERE.

H/T Jose L.

2 comments to The 1957 Cuban Grand Prix

  • FreedomForCuba

    The saddest part of looking at these pictures from 1957 is to compare them against current Havana pictures of the same area (56 years later) and you'll immediately notice much decay there is in Havana today caused by the Castro tyranny.

  • asombra

    The Cuba that was lost is gone; it ceased to exist except in memory and archeological remnants. Those who made it what it was are either dead or soon will be. That Cuba will not be recreated, least of all by Cubans on the island, even if the Castro system ends. The only ones who could conceivably restore what was lost are exiles, the real ones, or rather their descendants, but most of them will never return to Cuba except as visitors--and even if they were to repatriate, the natives would stand squarely in their way, and the natives are much more numerous. So yes, the lost Cuba is gone.