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, still going. 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
 

The reason of 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, a ban on the importation of foreign vehicles was imposed; so no new foreign-made cars could be bought and also spare parts for the old American cars became impossible to get. Because of Cuba’s tilt to the Soviet Union, some Russian made Volga, Lada and Moskvitch cars were imported; many still remain, but they are easily outnumbered by American (and some European) cars.

Now those restrictions no longer apply and Cuba’s road increasingly see 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.