why do they drive old cars in cuba

Since 1959, when Fidel Castro assumed power, the majority of Cubans have been prevented from importing foreign cars and parts. And so, for the past 55 years, locals have played the role of Dr. Frankenstein, pulling components from old Fords, Chryslers and Chevrolets, and even creating custom parts to keep their vintage cars on the road. Soon, the patchy cars of Cuba may get a few upgrades, as
plans to loosen the embargo on U. S. exports to Cuba's private business owners, including taxi drivers and mechanics. For now, however, the cut-and-paste car culture in Cuba remains, and the locals are masters of inventive car repair.


Topics:, We just returned from the island of Rum, Cigars, Great Music and Beautiful Women в Cuba. There, we got the feeling that time had somehow stopped. And it was there that we witnessed thousands of Cubans going about their daily lives, transported via late-50вs American automobiles. This collage, above, was a JOY to shoot and dream about on our trip. Just as cool, at lunch one day in Havana, Tom Miller joined our group (photo: standing, Larry sitting).


Heвs the author of Trading With the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro s Cuba. В That ought to clear some things up. Americaвs dominance of Cuba ended when I was a tween. Today, wherever you turn in Havana, you see rolling relics of days gone by. Cubans donвt necessarily love classic cars, per Miller. They simply have not been able to get anything else for five decades. Bottom line, no choice. These cars were there, then the door slammed shut on American-sourced goods. Ever since, Cubans have kept those autos going, handed down from dads and granddads.


With no Pep Boy stores for parts, the owners make due. They tinker with anything possible to keep the autos rolling. Because, without them, they have even less than the precious little they have. The cars are what visitors love. We drove in five of them, if I recall correctly. В The oldest was a в53 Chevy with practically no interior left в good times! We made this trek via and flew there out of Miami. В People, scenery, countryside, architecture, climate, everything in Cuba is eye candy to the camera, whatever stage of decay.


В And the drivers were so cool. Point a camera and they slow down until you get your shot. Then, a warm wave and carry on. No camera? WATCH OUT, they do not stop (easy to understand, given inertia). Not a car show, merely a parking lot. Stand still, the beauties stream by, day and night. Even small neighborhoods have a nonstop flow of late-50 Chevrolets, Fords, Bel-Airs, Packards, Studebakers, even Edsels. The colors, soв Cuban!


Me, on a Havana street, checking out the autos. White wall tires. I remember my parentsв cars having them. We used Comet or Bon Ami cleanser to scrub them clean. By this point, it was hard to remember it was 2012, so I started shooting in black and white, my first shot was after the sun went down (below). Quite Godfather-esque, wouldnвt you say? They look stunning shot in Sepia, as well. Covers up many sins: (Yes, I have posts planned on food, scenes, and the like. Stay tunedв) National Geographic Cuba Expeditionsв Tagged as:,