Classic cars of Cuba

Along with the colourful buildings of Havana, hand rolled cigars, salsa dancing and rum cocktails, fleets of 1950s American classic cars adorning the streets are an iconic and charming part of Cuba’s heritage.

In the 50s, Cuba was a popular holiday destination for Americans, with the Florida coast located a mere 145 kilometres away. A a result lots of American cars were imported from the USA.

Skilled mechanics

After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro imposed a ban on doing business with American companies and citizens were no longer able to import cars or new parts.

Modifications

Many of the fabulous old 50s cars are battered beyond belief and due to the American economic sanctions put in place, the old Dodges, Chryslers, Fords and Chevrolets are patched up and repaired with handmade, improvised parts to keep them going.

More than just a car

In Cuba, the cars are a matter of livelihood, with many used as taxis, as well as being a key part of the country’s tourist appeal. However, they’re also a matter of national pride and a visual reminder of Cuba’s political past – the working artefacts of the Cold War and the 1960 embargo.