Why Does Cuba Have Old Cars?

How did a former home and tourist center for high and notable individuals like the former president of America, John F. Kennedy, Rita Hayworth, and many others suddenly become a home for old cars? Where did the glory go? Why does Cuba have old cars?

A country once living and enjoying the pleasures of innovation and technological advancement is now a center of vintage cars dating back to 1940. Since the inception of the revolutionist Fidel Castro, his government policy, and the US embargo, Cuba now has more old cars.

popular cars in cuba

What is the typical car in Cuba?

Due to the US embargo on Cuba, the country made do with what was available. They brought back to life and maintained the already US-imported cars in the country. Cuba has become famous for their vast collection of vintage cars.

Typically, Cuba and vintage convertible cars are inseparable. Cuba relied so much on the importation of automobiles from America and Russia. At one point, America used Cuban track roads to test-run her vintage cars before supplying them to the market.

Why doesn’t Cuba have newer cars?

Before Fidel Castro’s government and after his administration, Cuba never had an automobile manufacturing firm. They depended so much on the importation of cars. However, the US embargo made things worst. They only had to maintain the American classic cars.

Moreover, the government economic policy, which prohibited the private ownership of cars, contributed to this. The cost of purchasing new cars in Cuba would instead leave the individual thinking otherwise. But there is a handful of newer cars in Cuba, but only for a few excepted individuals who primarily work abroad.

vintage cars in cuba

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q: What kind of cars does Cuba have?

Think of old classics and vintage; think of Cuba. It won’t be a misconception to consider Cuba a tourist Centre for old vintage cars and classics. American car brands like Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet, equipped for off-road situations, are the most popular.

Since the price of cars and spare parts is insanely high in Cuba, some citizens use horse-driven carriages as transportation. Nowadays, automobile brand giants like Mercedes, Audi, and even BMW are a few.

Q: Does Cuba have modern cars now?

There are modern cars in Cuba at this moment. Yes, there are modern cars in Cuba right now. The former US president, Barrack Obama, relieved the trade embargo on Cuba in his first tenure in office. The country has attracted other automobile brands to pitch their tents to them.

Cuba has modern cars, but making them as popular as vintage cars seem mission impossible. The famous Japanese auto brand Nissan products are now available in the market, but the Cubans can hardly afford them due to the high taxation.  

Q: Are the cars in Cuba still old?

Most cars in Cuba are older than most youths in America. It’s no joke. American classic cars for sale in Cuba were an old trade. The cars stood the test of time and withstood pressure. Little wonder they are still much in use, unlike the typical modern Japanese cars without reuse value.

All thanks go to the professional motor mechanics in Cuba. They were able to fit in and fix these outdated cars to date. Due to a limited supply of spare repair parts, they fixed non-matching parts of Russian-made parts to American vintage cars to keep them alive.

Q: Does Cuba have a lot of vintage cars?

It is laughable to ask, is there water in the ocean? This is the same as asking if Cuba has many vintage cars. Vintage cars in Cuba are not just for fun but for tourism and historical purposes. The vintage cars in the country add beauty to the environment. It makes the countryside unique and attracts tourists.

Since the country operates a mixed command economy, most people are prohibited from owning private cars. So the government owns all business and trade. Cuba may have more vintage cars than any other country.

Q: What is the average age of cars in Cuba?

The considered average age of a car ranges from 11.5 years to about 12.3 years. After this millage, the vehicles are not just old but also unsafe. America, for instance, has the average age of cars pegged at 12.2 years as of now.

But this is different for Cuba. The average age of popular cars in Cuba is shockingly above, dating as far as 50 – 60 years. Some are way older than that. However, this is largely due to the embargo imposed by the US.

Q: What year did Cuba stop importing cars?

Cuba, without any car manufacturing plant of her own, imported thousands of cars from America and other parts of the world. They enjoyed the importation of goods and services until the year 1959. The revolutionist Fidel Castro came into power, and the US was forced to place a trade embargo on them.

The embargo came soon after Fidel Castro took over. In 1960, Cuba stopped importing cars due to the ban on them.

Q: What percent of Cubans own cars?

Due to the government policy ban on importing cars and spare parts, the percentage of Cubans owning cars is relatively low compared to other countries like America.

The large number of cars in Cuba is owned mainly by the state, not the individual. Even with the relaxation of the ban on importation, the percentage of individual-owned cars is still very minimal. About 2 percent of Cubans own a car. This also accounts for why cars in Cuba are so old.

Q: How safe is Cuba right now?

There are violent crimes in Cuba that include petty theft crimes in public transport, airports, and tourist areas. Robbery is pretty sure since the country faces undue hardship and poverty.

With COVID–19 still ravaging the country, with poor medical supply, the country is considered unsafe for tourists without adequate provision and protection. Cuba is also considered to be in an earthquake zone.

Final Words

With the vast number of vintage cars in Cuba, the average age and the ability of their mechanics to keep them running tell a lot of stories about the poor nature of the country. There are all possible answers given to Why does Cuba have old cars? To sanction the actions of the revolutionist Fidel Castro, America placed a trade embargo on the land.

Since there was no import or export of cars and spare parts, the Cuban mechanics had to convert and sustain old government-owned vintage cars. They managed to make these old vintage cars look attractive.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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