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This 1,000-piece puzzle by Educa is titled, “Vintage Cars in Old Havana.” The puzzle depicts a street scene in Old Havana with a 1959 Pontiac parked at the curb. At the opposite end of the street is the National Capitol building.

You might say this week’s OCC headline and subject photo is, well, puzzling – to say the least! Allow me to explain.

I don’t need to state the obvious about what turned everyone’s world upside in April of 2020! On a personal note, besides immediate family concerns, I had just lined up a cast of three TKCS-STL participating volunteers, a.k.a. The Fin Man Posse, to help me continue the presentation of SEMA’s Take a Kid to a Car Show program at local shows and cruises.

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Since I began this undertaking in the Spring of 2009, our booth has been seen by a conservatively-estimated half-million visitors. With the help of my participating volunteers, I have set up booths at local car shows and cruises, typically 20 per season, to bring SEMA’s mission to St. Louis area children in an effort to instill an interest in our hobby for generations to come.

Many of us, especially those who have an interest in American cars of the ‘50s and ‘60s, are aware that Cuba has been known for having plenty of vintage American iron on the streets.

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The Fin Man Posse poses with their car-themed puzzles... part of the Fin Man Puzzle Plan for spending time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Left to right, Ignacio (Nacho), Dillan and Eddie.

So, getting back to the puzzle reference. I had taken the boys to the St. Louis Auto Show at the America’s Center in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, January 25, 2020. We were looking forward to the upcoming season of nearly 400 or so shows and cruises that typically happen in St. Louis and the surrounding metro area including Metro East, between Easter and Halloween. Our hopes were soon dashed when news of COVID-19 broke just weeks later. Events were being cancelled by the hour and St. Louis area car shows and cruises were hit especially hard. Because of this, The Fin Man and crew were put on hold for the entire 2020 season.

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What could I do to keep the boys in The Fin Man Posse busy while isolated at home? I came up with an idea. I searched the internet for puzzles with automotive themes and started collecting them. I dropped off one at each kid’s home with a 30-day time limit at which point I would go around and rotate the puzzles to the next home. There was no pressure to complete the puzzle, but the boys had something to do with their family and close friends that would help pass the time and increase their knowledge of classic and collectible automobiles. The puzzle project was a big success.

1959 Pontiac specs: Pontiacs for 1959 road on wheelbases of 122 or 124 inches. All were powered by 389 cubic-inch, cast iron block V-8 engines ranging in horsepower from 245 to 300. Carburetors were either a Rochester two-barrel or Carter four-barrel. Factory base prices ranged from $2,633 to $3,532. Model year production totaled 383,320 for a 6.9 percent share of the market.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Rollin’ with the FIN MAN V is in the works. When the date and destination is confirmed, you will be the first to know.

Thanks for reading the Old Car Column... and, Keep on Cruisin’!


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This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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