The only photo, small photo

We are going to keep this story running today FRIDAY, Read the comments. IT’s AMAZING!  The good folks at Katzs Marina got this great email from Manny Parodi regarding his fathers Cobra. WOW, what a great story this Cobra has!

New family photo – WOW –

This is my fathers Cobra he escaped to Miami from Cuba in 1960.  He was broke by the time he got to Miami and had to sell his Cobra for $500.00.  Wondering if you have any info on this boat, all we have is the registration number on the nose FL 360 SE.  My fathers name was Carlos Manuel Parodi.

Manny Parodi

I tried to fix it, but its a rough photo, but the registration number is there, which is kinda a way to start.

There ya go! There has been talk for decades about a Cobra in Cuba, Chris Craft Cobra, there are also tons of stories on rare race cars there as well, left to the time capsule of history. This is thought to be bought in Florida, then Manny strapped a 50 gallon tank on the fin and drove it to Cuba! Then durring the revolution, did the same in reverse. GO MANNY! But this Cobra kinda changes the Cobra in Cuba story a bit. One was delivered to Cuba according to the Hull cards. This one is thought to be HULL #4 and has a Hemi!  The one IN Cuba and ordered delivered to Cuba is Batista’s brother in laws boat Cobra wich is still there.  And would explain.. wait.. SPLAIN why some confusion.

How cool would it be to find out that the Cobra you own was used in this way! Which by the way is the coolest way to escape EVER! WOW! In a Chris Craft Cobra!  Manny, we are on it! My head is going to explode this is so cool.


67 replies
  1. Matt
    Matt says:

    Seth and Terry are digging through the archives. They think it may have been a Cadillac Cobra but still trying to varify. I am getting the hull card of the one shipped to Cuba. That may help. Still the idea of hauling ass across the Atlantic in a 21 Cobra to freedom is amazing to me. Manny Sr is a hero for sure

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    He fled Cuba in it to Florida! you may need another cup of coffee. HA Wait, arnt you having a boat show up there soon?

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      I’m with Greg here. He fled Cuba with NO money and had to sell the boat for $500.00, but he registered it first? Something seems funny there.

      If there is only on Hull Card with delivery to Cuba, what is the HIN # of that Cobra? Seems like the simplest lead.

      • Manuel Parodi
        Manuel Parodi says:

        He purchased the boat in Miami Beach with FL registration. He kept the FL registration while in Cuba.

      • Gustavo Parodi
        Gustavo Parodi says:

        Hi I’m Gus, Manny’s brother. My dad was the first to leave Cuba right after my first birthday June 1960 because he was in politics against Castro. My mom and I and other relatives had exit visas and flew a KLM flight to Miami in 1961. My dad kept the boat as long as he could. He loved that boat. He sold it in 1962 because he couldn’t afford maintain the boat properly and we were relocating to Los Angeles, towing a U-Haul.

  3. Matt
    Matt says:

    Okay, okay, okay!!!! I got an update and Greg is right. It’s thought to be HULL #4 maybe, bought in Miami, and had a Hemi, Manny delivered himself to CUBA with a 50 gallon fuel tank. Stayed registered in FLA and then escaped back to FLA the same way. I fixed the copy in the story to reflect this. Sorry.

    • Greg Lewandowski
      Greg Lewandowski says:

      I think he had extra fuel on board for the 90 mile run to Cuba. The way that Hemi uses it up I don’t think it would make it on the boat’s fuel tank. Refueling in the open ocean must have been fun!

      • Gustavo Chacon
        Gustavo Chacon says:

        It took them 4 hours and the regular tank plus The 5o gallons They left Guanabo Beach about 430 pm .

    • Gustavo Chacon
      Gustavo Chacon says:

      What will change if she was 18 feet ,But Chrysler Poweerded for sure on the HUll # ? and Thanks to All !

  4. Allen
    Allen says:

    Out of 56 cobras only nine were designated for export. hull number four which was originally delivered to Jacksonville Florida was not designated for export but Manny’s father bought a cobra from Robie Chris-Craft in Miami Florida Which he said always had Florida registration I believe in my humble opinion that the boat was bought used in Miami and was originally the boat that was delivered to Jacksonville. manny’s father bought the boat put a 55 gallon drum on the back and drove it all the way to Cuba then when he had to flee he did the same thing and drove all the way back to Florida he then sold the boat in Florida for $500 because he had no money at the time

  5. T.J. Sitter
    T.J. Sitter says:

    The $500 in today’s dollars is $4,300. Still a low price for that kind of boat, but if you are starting over with just the shirt on your back, that amount of money is very helpful.

  6. Manuel Parodi
    Manuel Parodi says:

    Hi everyone. My name is Manny Parodi. My father Carlos Manuel Parodi purchased his beloved 1955 Chris Craft Cobra 21′ from Rodi Chris Craft in Miami Beach. He drove it to his beach town in Cuba, Playa de Guanabo just outside Havana. The Cobra was his pride and joy. We have very few (2) pictures so far and looking for more.

  7. Randy
    Randy says:

    A full drum of fuel would be prohibitively heavy to handle on it’s own — must have put an empty drum in the cockpit, secured it well, and then filled it. Probably had a hand pump fitted in the bung hole and pumped it to the tank fill as needed.

    You certainly would have to pick a relatively calm day to make the trip, cuz’ if that tank got thrown around (even well tied down) it could be the end of the Cobra.

    Brave man in a desperate time to have chosen this ‘escape’ craft.

  8. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    Welcome to the group, Manny! Do you know if your father purchased the boat new from that dealership, or was it possibly used?

    Great story, I hope we can locate it!

    • Manuel Parodi
      Manuel Parodi says:

      Steve Anderson. We were always told he purchased the boat brand new from The Rodi Chris Craft dealership in Miami Beach. I’m hearing from other family members that he might have purchased it used with only a few hours on her, from the dealership that had taken the boat as a trade in with only a few hours on her. My older brother who lives in Miami is checking with Marine Patrol the FL registration numbers. Will keep everyone updated on what we find out.

  9. Tommy
    Tommy says:

    This is a great story. Two great stories back to back. I have a question. If he had the drum only when he escaped, what did he use for extra fuel to get it there?

  10. Damon
    Damon says:

    Great Story, Hope the boat still exists. How much fuel does a Cobra hold? It is only 106 miles from Havana to Key West. Could he have gone directly to Key West, arrived safely on US soil then fueled up the tank and perhaps a smaller spare gas can instead of a 55 gallon drum. Maybe the can has been embellished over the years and grown in size? Looking forward to more details.

  11. tom
    tom says:

    Both hull cards say Cadillac powered?As far as a ballsy move on Mannys part to make that run in a Cobra, many people have done it on a homemade raft.This was in say,1959,1960?500 bucks for a 5 year old used Cobra doesn’t sound that far off the mark,or is it?

  12. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    I would not be surprised if Manny’s statement that it might have been a nearly new used trade in proves correct. Some folks found out, once the glitter was gone, that a Cobra is among the most useless configurations CC ever produced. Sexy yes, but you can’t get any use out of that finned stern etc. As posted…the trip would have been pretty easy in a seaskiff.
    John in Va.

  13. Gustavo Chacon
    Gustavo Chacon says:

    2 new Clues ? The boat I belive it was Not Registered in Fla. was taken to Cuba on a Barge pull by The Cabañas Tug Boat along W/a cement block factory and a Mack dump truck also purchased in Miami on Nw 29 st & 13 ave.The exit from Cuba brough them to The Florida keys behind Jimmy Buffett’s House , the FL# was 1959 or 1960 The picture W/ 4 persons where The 4 that came Herminio,Cheo,Carlos pass away & Hilario Guerra unknown last known NY state . I believe it was a Fla Keys newspaper story them /

  14. Gustavo Chacon
    Gustavo Chacon says:

    What if The boat was 18 feet and for sure she was Chrysler powered ? That would change the HULL # and letters TOO ? It was Bought at Rody ChrisCraft Miami Beach Marina 1955″or” 56?

  15. Matt
    Matt says:

    WOW, my guess is it was a 21. And 18 is very small for that water. Manny and Gustavo, if you could send me higher res scans of the images I can clean them up and post them. Sometimes the smallest detail can unleash some more history. My email is in the about section. THANKS SO MUCH!

  16. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Is this WoodyBoater History being made right in front of us?

    One GREAT story, two days!

    Love it!!!!!!

  17. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    I saw 4 Cobras on Antique Boat America This morning. All were 21′ and had Cadillac engines in them. One is in Trembrant QC. the others are in Dover MA. Andover NJ. and Lodi CA. Might be worth investing. You never know.

  18. mahoganymadness
    mahoganymadness says:

    I wonder if we take a look at all the hull cards to find which cobras were shipped to that marina…It might be a start to see if it was new or used or a possible hull number

  19. Minnie Minoso
    Minnie Minoso says:

    Holy Cuban Cobra Crisis!
    It is believed the Chicago White Sox now own this Cobra & have been using it to import players. Also, it is rumored that Jose Abreu only uses mahogany bats.

  20. Greg W
    Greg W says:

    Keep in mind that inventory got traded around between dealers.
    A boat delivered to Jacksonville could easily have been ultimately sold as new in Miami. As cool “and desirable” as a Cobra is today I can think of a number of reasons why a dealer might be very willing to trade for a more “salable” model. Not saying happened that way but very probable. Hull cards don’t always tell the whole story.

  21. Allen
    Allen says:

    Don P owned hull 53 not hull 52 and it was sold to Canada so as Bryan said Bruce Robertson owns hull 52 i think it got lost in translation I wonder if Terry can clear this up.

  22. Gustavo Chacon
    Gustavo Chacon says:

    THE Other COBRA in Cuba NOW , was Own By Roberto Fernandes Miranda Presidente Batista Brother in Law . and in 1958 hit a reef of Guanabo Beach and came to the river and was Hoisted of the water at the Dock where The other Cobra was . Only time I saw The Two Together in Cuba. They had 3 Lifting rings on them . Manny’s father was Kept out of water .

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