Photos of The Vintage cars of Cuba, Cuba

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The Vintage cars of Cuba

Cuba is one huge rolling car museum, with mainly American vehicles dating from the 1950s (and some even older) and some Russian ones. Most have been kept running with hand-built and improvised parts, and most seem lovingly maintained. Many serve as taxis and, in Havana, dozens of shiny open cabriolets lure tourists for a tour along the Malecón.

Avenida Salvador Allende
Vintage Chevrolets
A 1959 Buick
Vintage American cabriolets
Vintage American cabriolets
1956 Buick Roadmaster
1956 Ford Fairlane
1955 Plymouth Belvedere
Washing the 1959 Thunderbird
Vintage cars
Along Paseo de Martí
Vintage cars parked
Vintage cars parked
Plaza de la Revolución, Cocotaxis
1953 Lincoln convertible
Narrow street, vintage Austin
1955 Chevrolet, Trinidad
1958 Ford Edsel, Trinidad
1934 Plymouth, Camagüey
1959 Hillman Minx, Santiago de Cuba
Public bus, Santiago de Cuba
Public bus, Santiago de Cuba
Peugeot 403, Havana
Spray painting a Chevrolet, Havana

This situation goes back to the victory of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution in January 1959. Because of the American boycott and the hostility of Cuba’s leader against the United States, Cuba imposed a ban on importing foreign vehicles. No new foreign-made cars could be bought, and spare parts became impossible to get for the old American cars. Because Cuba tilted to the Soviet Union, some Russian made Volga, Lada, and Moskvitch cars were imported; many remain, but they are easily outnumbered by American (and some European) cars.

Those restrictions no longer apply, and Cuba’s road increasingly sees foreign cars appearing: Korean, Japanese and European brands, although these are expensive. So many of the old American classics are kept running, although nowadays, you may get a ride in an ancient Chevrolet with a new Mercedes or Peugeot engine. Because those old cars have become so iconic, it is unlikely they will disappear from Cuba’s roads soon.