Saturday, May 05, 2012

you're familiar with the plight of the old American cars in Cuba, but had you heard of the Harley's that are kept running? Here's a great story and photos from Southsiders MC after the link

Here is an exerpt of the future book being photographied and written by Gunther Maier, a German Photographer installed in Santa Fe NM.
 Gunther is also looking for an publisher, please contact him at :
 And have a look at his website:

Not surprisingly, many Harlistas keep their motorcycles in coveted spots in the living room or on the patio, not the garage. And toddlers began playing on the machines as soon as they can crawl. Some Harlistas ride the same motorcycles their grandfathers owned before the revolution.

Today only a few hundred remain nearly a half century after the island’s last Harley dealership closed. “They’re an endangered species,” said Jose Angel “Pipi” Perez, a Cuban mechanic who restores Harleys. “They are disappearing.” But Cuba’s hogs aren’t gone yet thanks to the remarkable efforts of a group known as Harlistas. Harlistas have kept their engines running despite decades of hardship and economic isolation. Almost all their motorcycles are at least 50 years old.Yet they find a way to keep them alive, scavenging parts from battered old trucks, lawn mowers and even anti-tank guns.

After the United States cut off trade with Cuba in the early 1960s, Harlistas couldn’t get any spare parts, not even tires or brakes. So they were forced to improvise. One old-school mechanic used barbed wire to fix broken chains, another started cutting up cake boxes to make engine gaskets. That led to his nickname, Cake Box, which sticks to this day.

Harlistas have done whatever it takes to keep their motorcycles on the road, even it means using:
 * Pistons from Russian trucks.
* Chains stripped from the conveyor belts of a pre-Castro Coca-Cola factory.
* Fiat ambulance horns from Poland.
* Exhaust pipes made from tubes ripped from electrical transformers.
* Tires from VW Beetles.
this is only a small part of the entire post I found on the superb
Man, I like that blog!

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