• 21
Cuba has an interesting law when it comes to the purchasing and sale of automobiles. While European and Asian cars can be imported, only vehicles built before 1959 (the year of the Cuban Revolution) are allowed to trade hands on the open market.

This means that Cuba's automotive landscape is filled with an excess of classic American iron. It's a post-war plethora of beautiful automobiles in varying states of repair. This could all be changing, however, because the island nation is talking about reforming some of the laws that have been on the books for decades.

If Cubans are allowed to purchase modern vehicles, does that mean an end to the classics, which have come to serve as iconic fixtures of this communist Caribbean country? Not right away, according to a report by NPR. The classic cars are a treasured part of Cuba's history, and folks feel that they will be sticking around even after modern vehicles begin to arrive. Only time will tell.

[Source: NPR via The Truth About Cars | Image: FDITG/Flickr CC 2.0]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      When I was down there over Christmas I talked to some locals about this. It is not a free for all when it comes to buying new vehicles. It is still highly restricted and you need to have the money to buy the vehicle in the first place. It works as an exchange type program on a system that works a lot like a numbered draw.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you are waiting for the embargo to be lifted so that you can fly South and pick up a pristine piece of classic American iron, you may be disappointed. These cars have been taken care of with the highest care, but since they cannot get replacement parts from the US, most of the 40% of the cars that have survived are jury rigged or have become American sheet metal bodies full of Russian parts.

      Here's a good article about the reality of the cars in Cuba.
      http://ezinearticles.com/?Classic-Cars-in-Cuba&id=866794
      • 3 Years Ago
      This pre '59 american cars in Cuba are not considered classicsby island's population. Those are vehicles in everyday use, predominantly as taxis for foreign tourists, excluding americans - you know why. The ordinary cubans are not in position to buy or maintain properly any transportaion. A lot of this american cars, as a rule, have improvised repair with DIY "aftermarket" parts. And they are running!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I heard you could retire comfortably in Cuba for a thousand dollars a month . That will get you a nice villa with a live in housemaid , a butler , a yard man , and over 1700 square feet of living space including a closed in garage . All this & NO crime to worry about like Mexico .
      • 3 Years Ago
      anyways they probaly wont have money to buy new cars so .............
      btw you should remove american ban to cuba so i can go and buy a nice classic
      • 3 Years Ago
      Most "classics", especially those run by GranCar the public/private partnership that runs these cars as cabs, have refit 4 cylinder diesels (often Nissans) in them. Many are shells of their former self. Venture out to Trinadad or Vilenes and you'll find more original versions.
      One of our only complaints (we just got back yesterday) was the pervasive pollution, mostly from diesel smoke from these and from the old Soviet era heavy equipment plodding around the city streets. FYI a local in an early 90's GTI took us on tour of the city.
      It cost him the equivalent of $9,000 US. Most later day cars Lada's, Hyundai's, Seat's etc. have upwards of 4-600,000 kms. Unreal.
      The streets themselves oddly enough were as good, if not in better condition than those locally here in LA.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Guess I wont complain about my 14 year old beater anymore.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My Dad specializes in selling lights and lenses for classic cars and since the swap meet market is getting weak I was selling stuff for him on ebay. I sold a whole lot of pre-1959 tail lights in the south Florida area, more than would be expected for normal distribution, and often to the same few people. And this was stuff my dad has been sitting on for years and couldn't sell because those cars are not that popular to collectors. I have a feeling there might be some sort of black market for classic parts to Cuba.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Do they get all those parts over to Cuba by putting them on inner tubes?
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a Cuban-American I say fix the roads first and oh yeah and let people have their freedom, but yeah..

      On a lighter note my uncle in Cuba has a 1936 Ford Coupe. Still remember sliding down the fenders as a kid. I imagine if and when they let these people sell and buy whatever they want a lot of car collectors will be heading down to Cuba
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder how many of these have the original V8 engines.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wouldn't want a car from a tropical,moist-salt-air island, no matter how collectible.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "open market"
      lawlwut!!
    • Load More Comments