When Ian Rome and his friends head toward their favourite vacation spot in Cuba, their luggage is packed with spark plugs, car magazines and automotive tools. As members of the Rusty Nuts Car Club of Holland Landing, just north of Toronto, they understand what is required to keep 1950s-era American cars running through countless odometer cycles. They have befriended Cubans who love a ’57 Chev as they do. The Cuban owners have even formed their own Rusty Nuts chapter, with help from their Canadian friends.
This October, the Canadian car buffs return to the Santa Cruz del Norte area, midway between Havana and Varadero, to help put on the fifth annual Rusty Nuts Cuban car show. As the club’s video from the 2012 event reveals, show-goers can expect to see a delightful selection of classic vehicles. Big sedans from the late ’50s are always in strong supply, but there could also be British Fords, Polish Fiats, even a Gurgel from Brazil.
Friendships between the Canadian and Cuban car owners were quick to form after club members first travelled to Cuba to escape the Canadian winter and saw the island’s vintage car bounty. The Canadians were also quick to take in the Cuban’s impressive mechanical skills, and the need for parts and tools to keep the old cars alive.
“There are some strong bonds,” Rome said in a newspaper interview. “Some club members are down there two and three times a year. We have been to Cuban members’ houses, we have met their families. They are so happy when we visit, and it’s not just the stuff we bring.“We have all become friends.” he said.“To some, a car of any shape is just a car, but to a true car guy, it is much more.”Learn more about the Rusty Nuts at www.rusty-nuts-car-club.com