Cuba is all about the cigars – and the cars

Cuba is a Caribbean Island nation with sugar-white beaches, salsa dancing, vibrant colour, tobacco fields, pastel houses and vintage cars.

The classic cars of Cuba can be seen everywhere – Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Studebakers, Packards and Plymouths just to name a few. In 1956, there were 143,00 cars on Cuban roads.

Cuba was a favourite holiday destination for Americans in the 1950s and they imported 125,000 Detroit-made cars to Cuba. At times, Cuba would receive American cars before they even became for sale in America. It wasn’t uncommon for Americans to travel to Cuba to purchase their cars and transport them back to the USA.

After the Cuban revolution of 1959 though, things took a turn and America closed it’s market to Cuba. The Cubans eventually became accomplished mechanics using spare parts imported from the USSR. Some have managed to preserve their classic cars, albeit at times, heavily modified.

There are still 70,000 of the 1956 registered vehicles travelling around Cuba. Many of the cars though have not been kept in their original condition and only receive practical repairs.

The striking cars have become a tourist attraction in their own right and a classical car tour of Havana is a must – while you still can …

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