Sunday, January 15, 2012
Che - He's Not Just For Selling T-Shirts Anymore
The Mercedes-Benz unit of Daimler AG rolled out a new advertising campaign with a revolution theme this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. One of the cutesy advertising gimmicks was to use the image of Che Guevara - see the Mercedes emblem on Che's beret? - to appeal to Mercedes' customer base.
Why would they do that? Because, as everyone knows, upscale geezers love vicarious association with Latin American communists.
The ad was yanked after predictable complaints from Cuban-Americans, including U.S. Sen. Robert Melendez (D-N.J.) and Florida State Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart.
But I am left wondering, what did Guevara drive during his post-revo years in Havana? Surely not a Mercedes (way too bourgeois). Did he stick with his political convictions and drive a Russian ZiL limo, as would befit a commie bureaucrat? Or maybe he went proletarian, and dug out that old Norton motorcycle from his 1952 road trip.
After some Googling, I found out that Che was a Chevy man. Specifically, a mint green 1959 Chevy Bel Air, a swooping road monster with tail fins that looked like it was about two models years ahead of the original Batmobile. [NOTE: I stand corrected on the brand of Che's car. According to a commenter who has actually seen it, Che drove an Oldsmobile. I should have realized that myself since, now that I blow up the photo of the car, I can see the Oldsmobile name in the grille. Back in the day, an Olds was a classier and more bourgeois ride than a Chevy.]
This is it, currently on display at Havana's Depósito del Automóvil:
See a slideshow of the Depósito's exhibits here. If I ever get a TDY to Havana, I'm going to check that place out.