Currently reading: Cuban cars - picture special
As Cuba lifts its ban on importing new cars, we revisit Autocar chief photographer Stan Papior's holiday snaps from his time on the island, which showcases some of the wonders on Havana's roads

Cuba has lifted a 50-year-old ban on importing new cars into the country.

The move will now allow Cuba's residents to get their hands on new cars, and will mean the end of the road for most of the vintage American cars currently being used on the island.

Autocar chief photographer Stan Papior recalls some of the weird and wonderful examples he found roaming the streets during a holiday to Cuba.

Papior, an incorrigible traveller, became so mesmerised by the capital’s rich collection of ‘50s and early ‘60s American cars that he found himself standing for ages on street corners, just snapping ‘Detroit iron’.

His photos make such a rich collection that we’ve decided to post a few dozen for your enjoyment over the festive season.

“I’d heard the cars in Havana were special,” says Papior, “but nothing prepared me for how many there were, and how great they looked. The newest is 50 years old now, so they’ve all done huge mileages, especially as many are used as taxis to attract tourists.

"But quite a lot have been done up, and most still have original trim parts, wheels, hubcaps and badges. If you like ‘50s Yank cars — and I do — Havana is the world capital.”

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Smilerforce 23 December 2013

All off to Las Vegas

so a mini vintage cuba will be recreated in Vegas.
NotHandMade 21 December 2013

Looks like now is a good time

Looks like now is a good time to snap up a bargain vintage from Cube. I hope the old cars live on with new owners though I fear there will be a mass scrapping.
AV 21 December 2013

There's an opportunity

Plenty of buyers in the rich world for those lovely vintage cars that will be cast aside in the dash of modern metal