The Eye Catching Car Known Around the World!
José Cuenca has an all consuming hobby: his car is adorned with hundreds of ornaments. Everyone on Vieques knows the vehicle even if they don’t know the Vieques native personally. Cuenca, born in Esperanza in 1932, is tremendously proud of his vehicle and the attention it gets on a daily basis. Due to social media, his car has traveled the world in images and pictures. Not surprising, visitors to Vieques look for a chance to see the car, take pictures and meet its artistic owner. Cuenca told the Vieques Insider that his idea for decorating the car started at the beach. “One day I was walking on the beach and saw hundreds of sea shells next to one another. I thought the surface of my car would be the ideal place to display the shells.” Unfortunately, under direct sunlight and exposure to the elements the shells became brittle and broke. After his failed experiment, he gave up on the shells, but not on the car as a potential canvas for something else. And so he began to glue items that he found at home starting with dolls. Now friends, neighbors and visitors bring him items to put on the car along with the special glue it requires. Cuenca says, “It takes many hours a week to maintain and to clean and to re-glue. I’m constantly replacing items and getting new ideas. Today I will try some plastic iguanas.”
Obviously Cuenca’s work is a labor of love mixed with pride. The octogenarian is very aware if his notoriety and lets you know with a twinkle in his eye that pictures of his car can be found as nearby as the main island of Puerto Rico and as far away as Japan.