Cuba is known as a nation that loves its cars. After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the government made it nearly impossible to obtain a new vehicle. So Cuban drivers kept their '50s classics on the road even through today. Given this automotive enthusiasm, you might be surprised to learn that since the country began freely allowing new vehicle sales in January just 50 cars and 4 motorcycles have been sold through its 11 national dealers.
From the 1959 Cuban Revolution until just recently, it was illegal to buy or sell cars in Cuba without government approval. There were also very few new cars brought into the country. At the same time, racing was also banned on the island nation because it was considered an elitist sport. Of course, a government can do its best to prohibit whatever it wants, but that's not always going to stop passionate people from pursuing what they want to do. And that's exactly what has happened with racing
One could hardly blame Cuban consumers for suffering from a bout of 'sticker shock' when new car shopping this week – after all, they haven't had the opportunity since 1959. But it isn't just a half-century of inflation that buyers are having to wrap their heads around this week, it's massive markups.
Cuban citizens will be able to freely buy new and used cars for the very first time since the island country converted to communism in 1959. Previously, citizens were only able to buy and sell cars without government approval if they were built before the revolution, which accounts for the spectacular array of vintage American metal on the island, according to a report by Automotive News.
As car enthusiasts, we all know the little gem about classic American cars driving around the streets of Cuba, but few of us will ever be able to see these sites first hand. Fortunately, Motor Trend recently spent some time in the land of cigars, mojitos and Yank Tanks to create this incredible mini-documentary about the cars and the country for the latest video in its Epic Drives series.
Raul Castro is changing the way life works in Cuba, lentamente. According to Reuters, the island ruler sent several hundred reforms to the annual Commuist party congress, and one of them just approved now allows Cubans to buy and sell cars made after 1959. Previously, only cars that predated the island's Communist revolution could be commercially traded by anyone not specifically given permission by the government.