The spirit of Harley Earl is alive and well and living in Cuba.
Earl, an automobile designer for General Motors, is known as the father of the tailfin, the flashy post-World War II design that mimics the P-38 Lightning fighter plane.
That era of classic cars stands out in Cuba, partly because time stood still, automotively speaking, after the 1959 overthrow of the government and the ensuing blockade.
The scores of cars you see today might be a cliche, but they're riveting, says
"They are stunning," Short said.
Because she has the perspective of time, Watson added, "They are now." On her first trip to Cuba in 1999, they were old clunkers.
Articles by Short and Watson and photography by Times photographer Brian van der Brug will appear Sunday in the Travel section of the Los Angeles Times and online this weekend.