Car Talk's Ray Magliozzi Shows How Insanely Resourceful Cuban Mechanics Are

Illustration for article titled Car Talk's Ray Magliozzi Shows How Insanely Resourceful Cuban Mechanics Are

Nobody can MacGyver a fix for a car like Cuban mechanics. All they need is a handful of dirt, some spit and a chewed up shoestring, and—boom—they’ve got a rebuilt transmission. Here’s Ray Magliozzi from Car Talk showing just how resourceful the Cubans are with a wrench.

Magliozzi, the final member of Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers—the iconic car-diagnosing team from the radio show Car Talk— joined up with BestRide for a trip to Havana to have a look at a couple repair shops.


Magliozzi shows us a custom-made vibration damper, a hydraulic-to-cable clutch system conversion, and a very interesting fix for a drill press. Perhaps the funniest fix, though, was the flex-plate, which the mechanic simply turns around once the gear for the starter motor wears down.

Despite having built up a $600 Jeep with junkyard parts (and lots of zip ties and tape), I’m simply an amateur compared with Cuban mechanics. They are my heroes.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps. Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

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I went once to Cuba and had a wonderful time, it’s truly a lovely place with it’s ups and downs. I learnt two things there: the embargo is nothing short of criminal and their mechanics are FUCKING GENIUSES.

I was walking with my mom around El Malecon and we saw a guy wrenching on his “Almendron” (their nickname for vintage american landyachts). We decided to go and talk to him considering how nice had most cubans been with us and I asked him about his car. I kid you not, this mechanic had the looks and style of the most impossibly cool Son cubano bass player you can imagine, his dirty blue overalls contrasting with the shiny ‘55 Dodge he was working on. Fucking cubans have “tumbao” even when wrenching! I saw an inline 6 Nissan diesel under the hood and complimented him for the sheer ability required to do such a thing and he kept on explaining the rest of his ‘sick mawds’: Toyota gearbox and Moskvitch disc brakes! We shaked hands and we kept walking to our hotel, not after admitting to the guy. time and time again, that he was a genius mechanic.

I don’t have the pictures on this hard drive but I’d be happy to share them just as I’m happy to reccomend Cuba as a travel destination.