Classic Cars in Cuba

Vintage auto in Cuba
Antique auto driving past the Havana capital
The Capitol in Havana, Cuba is alive with color and life accentuated by the intense blue of the vintage automobile driving by. These antique automobiles provide taxi service for countless visitors looking to step back in time while touring the capitol city.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about visiting Cuba? No doubt many would say the classic cars from the 1940s and 1950s that are seen in every town and city in the country. During my visit, I saw Studebakers, Pontiacs, Plymouths, Fords, Dodges, Chevrolets, and Buicks. Some are in great condition, others are about to rust into oblivion.

Studebaker in El Cobre Cuba
One of the few vehicles in El Cobre, this working Studebaker provides both transportation and color for visitors to enjoy. Behind, a typical dwelling built to provide shade, yet benefit from cool breezes. Cubans and foreigners alike, travel many miles to this town to see the Patron Saint of Cuba, pulled from a tempest 400 years ago.

These cars date back to the pre-revolutionary days. Many of the best cars are reserved for doctors, Communist officials, sports stars, etc. Others are kept for the government-run tourist trade providing taxi service. In 2011, some of the restrictions on selling cars were eased. Then, in 2014, the government abolished a system that required citizens to attain a permit to buy a car, and loosened restrictions on new car imports. However, markups of four to five times the base price left cheap cars with an astronomical price in a country where a good state job pays $30 a month make buying a car an impossible goal for most citizens.

Vintage auto in Cuba
One of the antique cars that Cuba is known for. Since the revolution in 1959, these vintage automobiles have been kept running and are now used for the government-run taxi service so popular with foreign tourists.

How many classic cars are in Cuba?

There are no official statistics regarding the numbers of classic cars. Most estimates say there are 60,000 pre-1959 American cars still operating in Cuba. The U.S. government eased the embargo eased, but how have the Cubans kept these cars running in the intervening years? Via many ingenious ways – cannibalizing vehicles that are beyond repair, modifying Russian car parts and engines to use in the American vehicles, crafting hand-made parts and even tools from scrap metal, and many more. Cuban mechanics use imperfect parts and keep the cars running.

Vintage automobile in Havana Cuba
Antique Plymouth, now owned and operated by the Cuban government, draws in much-needed cash from European and other tourists by providing taxi service throughout the capitol city of Havana.

In Havana, many tourists take the opportunity to hop in one of these classic cars to take a driving tour of the city. Whether you arrive by bus, cruise ship, or plane, you will see rows of beautiful classic cars lined up ready to whisk you off on an adventure. Be sure to know the price before you start out – usually set as a flat hourly rate. Don’t forget to take photos! It will be one of the highlights of your trip.

Vintage Studebaker auto in El Cobre Cuba
“Studebaker” by artist Dawn Currie. Shown here as a fine art print with custom silver frame.

Can’t get to Cuba right now? Why not bring Cuba to your home or office. These images will enhance your room and spark conversations with fellow car buffs and anyone who appreciates these old classic vehicles. These are available as print on demand according to your style and taste – framed art print, modern metal print, acrylic and more in the size you need for your home or office.

Red vintage auto in Havana Cuba
“No Parking” by artist Dawn Currie. Shown as metal print gracing the wall of a private office.

See more images of autos and architecture around Cuba.

Whether you’ve visited or long to go, I invite you to check out my other images of Cuba. Go to to see more of this tropical island and its people. These artworks are the fruits of a two-week trek by the photographer that spanned the island from east to west. Share a glimpse of modern-day Cuba where time stands still, yet takes its toll. This photographic and personal journey across the island exposes just some of the rich tapestry which is modern-day Cuba. Furthermore, you can customize your art according to your needs. Fine art productions are available on paper, canvas, acrylic, metal, and wood. And while you’re there, consider ordering greeting cards of your favorites. These images will bring a slice of the Caribbean, with a Cuban flare, into your home and place of business. Bienvenido a Cuba!

Also don’t forget to check out more Travel Photography on this site!

3 Comments on “Classic Cars in Cuba

  1. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for?
    you made blogging glance easy. The overall look of your web site
    is fantastic, let alone the content material!

  2. Beautiful images and great post, I wish I can visit Cuba someday, looks like a gorgeous place indeed 🙂

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