Cuban auto enthusiasts find their hopes for a legal car race dashed by the Pope’s visit – among other roadblocks.

havana motorOne of the most visible indicators of the US sanctions against Cuba since the Revolution is the anachronistic presence of vintage 1950s cars that dot its streets. For the most part, only those with political connections and money have been able to afford newer imported cars from Europe or Asia. For most, refitted classic cars have been the only option, and, for some, a source of pride, such as the men of Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s film. With car racing long outlawed by Castro, they’ve held underground drag races. With recent reforms, the men grow excited about participating in the first legal race since 1959, painstakingly working on finding the right parts to give them the edge. But when a Papal visit cancels their plans, organizers find themselves caught in limbo.

Perlmutt has just over two weeks left in his Kickstarter campaign for finishing funds, and has already reached nearly two-thirds of his $52,250 goal. For more information on the project, visit the film’s website.

Despite having absolutely zero interest in cars, racing, or car culture, this project has easily won me over. Perlmutt has found fantastic, expressive characters, and there’s an immense appeal to the image of these classic cars being raced in the modern day. Simultaneously exploring attempts at progress and the status quo of the past half-century, the project offers a distinct, and fun, perspective on present-day Cuba that has the potential to reach new and larger audiences.

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