All over the world, seeing a classic car in everyday traffic is a pretty rare occurrence. If you however see such a vehicle, it will almost certainly be a perfectly restored example, and you’d often see it taking part in a classic car rally or a car show. However, there is a country where seeing classic cars as everyday transport is an inevitable experience. In fact, with an estimate of more than 80,000 classic cars on the road, old iron dominates the streets. Where is this classic car heaven, you may ask? And the answer is quite simple. Just 90 miles south of Miami there is an island with the perfect tropical climate, best cigars, fantastic music, and beautiful people. It is called Cuba, and it’s one of the last communist countries in the world, filled with glorious American classic cars. So, let’s introduce you to the vibrant Cuban automotive landscape.

A vintage car passes a Che Guevara mural in Cuba

In order to fully understand Cuban car culture, we must take you back to the 1940s and 1950s when Cuba was a playground for wealthy Americans. Perfect beaches and grand hotels attracted tourists, as well as investors, and very soon Cuba became somewhat of a tropical Las Vegas. Of course, with a strong American influence came the US dollar and with the US dollar came all the American cars. Imagine big and shiny Cadillacs, Lincolns, and Chryslers cruising down the Cuban boulevards, overlooking the ocean and parking in front of luxurious mansions, and that was the Cuba of the era.