Classic Cars in Cuba and how they maintain them

You will definitely agree when I tell you that Cuba is one of the most interesting places to go to in the whole world, especially if you’re into retro cars. Aside from Cuba’s rich history and culture, you will definitely feel that oozing nostalgic vibe when you walk around their streets as you see classic cars in Cuba. It’s literally like going inside a car museum, except that you haven’t paid any fee to watch antiques, and that the cars that were supposed to be on display, are actually moving and driving about, here and there. It is a car paradise for those who admire anything about vehicles.

Cuba cars that are ordinarily found everywhere

Before we discuss the reason why there are too many classic cars in Cuba. Let’s give you some excitement as we mention different brands and models of vehicles found in Cuba. Well, they pretty much have everything, from the cars like the 1951 Ford, 1952 Chevrolet, 1958 Chevy Impala, 1950s Mercedes Benz Ponton Sedan, 1951 Buick, 1952 Buick Station Wagon, Chevrolet Corvair, 1956 Ford F-700 bus, Opel Rekord, 1950 Cadillac, Eastern Bloc Sedans, and too many more to mention. If you’ve felt the excitement just by reading these very rare endangered models of cars, how much more excited would you feel if you actually saw these cars in front of your eyes? Perhaps you’d be tempted to take photos all day long, or pose a selfie with them, that would be so cool, right? Not to burst your bubble, but these Cuban cars are still running despite the long years of usage for a particular reason. And it’s not just to entertain tourists, nor display their love for antiques. Let’s discover the reasons why.

Ford Thunderbird 1958

Why do Cubans have Retro cars?

This is a very interesting story and it may no longer be about cars but it will definitely answer the question of why Cuban cars are well-preserved old models from the past. In summary, after the revolution that happened in Cuba’s history, there had been a lot of implementations of trade restrictions that were imposed on their country. Although Cuba is geographically and conveniently located near Florida in the United States, there are no cars that are allowed to be imported from any part of the American territories. And when it comes to other vehicle manufacturers located in other continents, it just wasn’t cost-effective for them to import all the way from their continent to provide cars for Cubans. So, it definitely comes as a blessing and a curse, depending on how you see the bigger picture. Blessing, perhaps because these golden cars Cuba has are all way too priceless, and their value is too much more than any other new luxury cars in the market nowadays. It may be a curse though because they don’t have other choices but to rely on their mechanical skills and creativity to keep maintaining these Cuban cars that have lasted for more decades!

cars in cuba

Ingenuity Alterations and resourcefulness

Looks can be deceiving as what they always say, so before you appreciate the beauty of a car in Cuba, take a look under the car’s hood. More often than not, you will discover that the car parts and engine that makes Cuba’s car run is because these are all a mashup version of motor parts coming from different cars. Some of these parts may have been bartered, revitalized, reconditioned, and so on. It does look quite interesting how these cars could still function in such conditions. They have been driven down the roads for nearly a century, and it’s hard to imagine how often they should be maintained. Quite more often than the modern ones, I bet. But of course, the well-preserved cars look shiny as if they just came out from a vintage car museum, their engines probably took more effort to work the way they do. And yet in unfortunate circumstances, you can also see the far worse vehicles that you might have thought wouldn’t even last a day anymore. These cars’ exterior cases are almost scrapped metal, which was put on together with odd parts to make a four-wheeled vehicle that could only transport, and with no other purpose.

Cuba’s Future

After all the discussions about vintage cars and all the elegant beauty in them, it still makes us wonder if Cuba could possibly acquire newer models of cars in the future. How long might it take to open its trades and lift the sanctions finally? This would actually depend on the political aspects of the country. As you may know, the incumbent president of Cuba is Miguel Díaz-Canel, who was seated at the presidency on April 19, 2018. However in retrospect before Canel as the president, it is a common knowledge in politics that the Castro brothers were the ones who led the country for a long time. And even until the present, their power and influences maintained strong. Castro was the one responsible for banning the importation of cars from America to Cuba. Fortunately though, in the year 2011, the American and the Cuban government proceeded with a mutual treaty. And American car makers could finally penetrate Cuba’s market. Although it is slightly monitored, Cuban people could finally buy newer cars freely. This has definitely improved the auto market in Cuba.

More than just a vintage car

Even in the current situations of being able to buy newer car models, some Cubans have actually continued maintaining their Cuban car. When you explore local streets, you will be able to see some Cuban men hunching over their hoods and repairing some parts. They now have approximately 60,000 vintage American cars; half of these go all the way back from half a century ago. 25 percent of these are from the 1940s, and a significant 25 percent again came all the way back from the 1930s. These are not your ordinary cars; they are basically part of a generation in their family heirlooms.

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