Why Cuba is a Classic Car Enthusiasts Dream

Why Cuba is a Classic Car Enthusiasts Dream

By Jason Mueller from a1autotransport.com


Travel to Cuba has been going well this past year and outlooks show that tourism is on the rise. 2017 showed nearly 5 million visitors to the country that helped pump an extra $3 million into the economy. Cuba has long been a bucket list country to visit and while Americans can not technically travel to the country as tourists, they can go to visit family or on what is known as a people-to-people exchange. With a people-to-people exchange, you can travel to Cuba with a group or three or more and stay in local homes or hotels and tour the country in some amazing classic cars. 

People to people exchanges can be planned by speaking to a travel agency or a cruise line that ventures to Cuba. Even better, going to Cuba on an exchange opens the chance to get to know locals and plan trips in the future to meet again. With the possibilities of taking a cruise through Havana in a classic convertible to see the amazing sites including the home that famed writer Ernest Hemingway lived in or a tour of the beautiful coastline or the spacious countryside, Cuba is ideal for the tourist who wants to catch a glimpse of history while visiting spectacular areas of the country.  

There’s so much to see in Cuba and for the most part, Cuba has been untouched by Americans for more than fifty years. Now is the time to book a trip to see Havana and take part in festivities and dance with the locals or spend time relaxing on the beach. Whether you enjoy spending time in the busy city or maybe venturing out to the country, Cuba has so much to offer. 

When trade embargos between the U.S. and Cuba took effect in 1959, there were a great many Cubans who owned American manufactured cars and today, thanks to the ingenuity of Cuban car owners and mechanics, many of the pre-1960 classics can be found throughout Cuba. Because of this, classic car enthusiasts can see some great classics on the road in Cuba. Cuba has become somewhat like a museum of classic cars and one that car enthusiasts should take time to check out when possible. 

Since these cars have been taken care of over the years, and in many cases even restored with parts that are creative since the original replacement parts were not able to be ordered and with the embargo, new cars were not available, there are many one of a kind vehicles on the roads in Cuba. The creative mechanics in Cuba have a way with keeping great classics on the road. 

 If you have a dream car and it’s a classic made prior to 1960, chances are that it may be sitting on a road in Cuba waiting for you to see it. There are tens of thousands of classic American cars in Cuba, and while a great many of them are probably not worth much monetarily, they are still fascinating to see. Sure, there are quite a few classics that have been restored to perfection, but a detailed restoration is expensive, and rare to see.

Many of the classics on the roadways in Cuba have been redesigned to fit more people and they are used as Taxi’s. Even with the many that have been revamped as Taxi’s, it is truly amazing to see such a car culture seemingly frozen in time with cars such as the classic Mercedes Gullwing, Jaguars, Porsches, Buicks and Chevrolets. Many who visit Cuba would enjoy being able to purchase as classic and have it shipped home to America. 

At this time, it is not possible to import a classic car from Cuba to the United States (source: a1autotransport.com)  but for residents of other countries, the possibility to find a dream car and have it brought home is something to check into, especially if you can find a classic for a low price. 

Cuba has much to offer and since it was long forbidden for Americans to vacation in the country, now is the time to make plans to visit. There are so many beautiful adventures awaiting you in Cuba, and what could be better than to see them all from the back seat of a vintage red Buick Roadmaster or a great antique pink Pontiac Bonneville? Be sure to book your tour soon and see everything that Cuba offers.

Becoming a Vintage Car Expert: Here Are The Oldest Cars Ever Made

Becoming a Vintage Car Expert: Here Are The Oldest Cars Ever Made

By Lucy Wyndham


Visiting Havana is a great way to witness the beauty and finesse of vintage cars. By taking a tour in a vintage car and learning more about the way they work, you can fulfill your desire to learn more about antique vehicles while experiencing a part of Cuban history. After taking the tour, you may even have a newfound passion for old cars, leading you to pose the question: what are some of the oldest cars in the world?

While many people assume that Henry Ford’s Model T is the oldest car ever made, there are numerous vehicles that actually came before the Model T. In fact, there are several automobiles that predate the Model T by over 100 years! To become a true vintage car expert, you should be aware of the oldest cars ever made and know a little bit about their history.


1. The Cugnot Fardier, 1770

Designed by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, the Cugnot Fardier vehicle was officially constructed in 1770—well over 100 years before Ford’s Model T. French inventor Cugnot build the very first self-propelled car, which in fact was merely a self-driving carriage. The car was invented or the use of the French military, designed to cover 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles) in one hour and carry four tons of goods. While the car wasn’t able to travel this far or carry this much, it was still considered an achievement in its day. It is now on display at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris, where it’s been kept since 1800.


2. London Steam Carriage, 1803

Built by Richard Trevithick, the London Steam Carriage was constructed in 2803 in London and is still considered today to be the first-ever self-propelled vehicle that carried passengers. While Cugnot’s steam powered carriage technically predates the London Steam Carriage, the French vehicle was meant to haul artillery, not people. Thus, Trevitchick built the first car meant to transport people together, nicknaming the carriage the “Puffing Devil” and driving it up a hill in Cornwall. Unfortunately, the steam carriage was destroyed in a fire, but the original drawings survive.


3. Hancock Omnibus, 1832

Invented by Walter Hancock, the Enteprise steam omnibus was the first manufactured steam-powered car in the world in 1832. The omnibus was originally built for the London and Paddington Steam Carriage Company. It became the world’s first steam carriage service in 1833 when it was used as a regular service between London Wall and Paddington via Islington. The omnibus required three people working together to operate it, including a driver and two operators. In coordination, the three people were responsible for maintaining braking, looking after the water level of the boiler, and steering the wheel. It is still unknown how the three people communicated, but it was a great success at the time.

Learning about vintage automobiles is a hobby that unveils many interesting details and facts, like the oldest cars in the world predating Ford’s Model T by over 100 years.

Cuba’s Crafty Mechanics - Classic Car Upkeep

Cuba’s Crafty Mechanics - Classic Car Upkeep

By Lucy Wyndham

Vintage cars just don’t seem to make an appearance on the streets of many countries these days. This has given Cuba a top advantage and a slick vibrancy by their everyday presence on the streets of Havana, Varadero and elsewhere. However, even in Cuba, new cars are starting to emerge. Whilst the vintage cars will always be a feature of the roads of the island, you might be wondering how on earth the island nation has managed to keep their cars working and looking so well.

So, next time you’re thinking about being driven around Havana in a classic car, you might ask yourself - just how are they keeping this vehicle going, without access to original parts?

Finding The Right Vehicle

The vintage cars smattering Cuba are actually relatively rare, with only 60,000 in total on the island. Soviet-era Ladas and new, modern East Asian cars are more common, though there are showrooms to purchase classic vehicles in Havana. When purchasing, residents need to be careful to make sure they’re getting a genuine vehicle - after all, many families don’t want to let go of their prized possessions, so a sale is rare. Often, they authenticate the cars value by making sure the car valuation is correct through independent checks and balances. Secondly, many make sure that the car’s documentation is completely up-to-date and that there is a paper trail to prove the vehicle’s history.

Licensing and Driving

You may be well aware that only residents and owners of vehicles are allowed to drive the vintage vehicles. You might get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat, but never direct the tour yourself. This is because there is a huge assortment of parts and adjustments made to keep the cars workable, and the experience and nous of each car owner is crucial. A Cuban 1959 Impala won’t drive like an American one, and getting to the various areas of natural beauty in Cuba in your vehicle can be challenging. Ask your driver what he knows and to show the tips and tricks he’s picked up - you can earn yourself an education in expert driving.

Maintaining The Vehicle

Maintenance is not the easiest task going to keep the vehicle looking great and not damaging original fixings, or irrevocably changing the look. Vintage owners will employ special waxes and paint colors to ensure they maintain the classic luster of their cars. Speak to locals and classic car owners who own these vehicles about their hints and tips; many have been maintained through word-of-mouth suggestions for their entire lifespan. The parts needed to fix these vehicles are no longer readily available, at home or abroad. Speaking to local mechanics and enthusiasts, who have been crafting smart methods to keep the cars running over a long period, can be absolutely fascinating. Some of the mechanics would be the finest around, even when lacking a certificate to prove it.

Classic cars are a unique part of Cuba’s history and every visitor will find themselves stunned by the glittering array. A ride around the cities and villages of the island is a wonderful experience, but by asking the question and doing some research, you can learn some fascinating history and technical skills yourself. 

Classic car tours from Havana Cruise Terminal

Classic car tours from Havana Cruise Terminal

Cruising to Havana city has become a popular attraction in TheCaribbean. Havana is a very exotic city where visitors can experience a senseof the past by driving through old historic buildings where classic Americancars roam the streets. Touring in old cars is one of the most requestedattractions in the city nowadays.

Havana shore excursions in classic cars


OldCarTours offers tours in classic cars from the Cruise Terminalin Havana, known as “Terminal Sierra Maestra”. All our tours are OFAC compliant. They can be considered within the category of "Educational people to people travel" because you are interacting with Cuban people, their culture, religion and society.

Tourists are picked up near thatlocation. Currently the cars are not allowed to park right in front of theterminal entrance (located just in front of the San Francisco Square) so thecars and guides meet the tourists just in front of the Russian Orthodox Church(also known as “Our Lady of Kazan Orthodox Cathedral”), easily identifiable byits golden domes, which is located on the left, very near the Cruise shipterminal. The distance from the main exit of the terminal to the church isabout 300 meter or 1000 feet.


The driver or the guide will be waiting for all tourists withconfirmed reservations holding a sign with their names written on it.

You can see here all our tours and prices here. But we offer one tour called:

Havana special classic car tour from cruise terminal

Duration: 8 hours


Price: 320 CUC per car (with a driver and English or French guide)


Moneyexchange inside the terminal

For all the Cuban visitors it is mandatory to use the CubanCurrency known as CUC. Many tourists’ service inside the island must be paid incash, with CUC. It is not common to find places where tourist can pay withcredit/debit cards inside the island. So, once the visitors arrive to theisland, they must exchange their money into CUCs.

OldCarTours services must be paid in cash CUC as well. We don’thave a way to receive money online or through credit card. There are smallbooths inside the terminal where tourists can exchange money into CUCs beforetheir tour or before consuming other services in Cuba.

Exchange rates vary according to the currency. Generally Euros hasbetter rate than USD. Today (Jan 2018) exchange rate is around 1 USD = 0.97CUC. This rate may change according to the location; it means that terminals,banks and hotels sometimes have different rates.   


Merry Christmas from OldCarTours

Merry Christmas from OldCarTours

2017 has been a good ride. Took us through paths of sharing and most fruitful contacts. On the way we have met the most beautiful people from all over the planet and multiple experiences became one as a whole.

So we are grateful and honored to have met each one of you through our journey. The best of the holidays, full of happiness, love and prosperity! 

Always yours, OldCarTours.

Three Classic Cars that Define Cuban History

Three Classic Cars that Define Cuban History

By Lucy Wyndham. 


The entire country of Cuba is an antique car museum rolling on wheels. Wherever you look, you’ll be greeted by an American vintage car cruising down the street. Although many Americans would pay thousands of dollars for these once glorious cars, to Cubans, this is simply everyday life.

The state of the automotive industry in Cuba has a frozen-in-time type of feeling. In 1960, after the Cuban revolution, there was an embargo put into place by President Eisenhower that banned certain exports to Cuba. Therefore, the cars that were in the country remained in the country and there haven’t been any new exports since. Now there are an estimated 60,000 pre-1959 American cars still flying through the streets that you can still admire, glorify, and even take a ride in. If you’re part of the gearhead community and have a chance to visit Cuba, see if you can spot these three classic cars that have defined the history and culture of the beautiful island.




Chevrolet Bel Air

These cars, known as cacharros or bartavias tend to come from the 1955-1957 time period. You can see many Chevy Bel Airs cruising down the streets of Havana and they are now seen as a representation of the time capsule the state is stuck in. Many of these have mismatched parts and a tri-colored body that directly symbolizes everything the country has been through in the past couple of decades. According to many auto magazines, the 1957 Chevy Bel Air is the king of the Cuban road.



Ford Fairline

Ford sedans constructed during the first half of the 1950s are one of the most common classic car in Cuba. The original Ford Fairline was designed as a family vehicle, but has since evolved to include many different convertible styles. The car also has a reference in the movies. In Die Another Day, James Bond navigated around Cuba in a 1957 Ford Fairline, which has further increased the popularity of the vehicle and strengthened its link to Cuba.




Plymouth

A 1957 Plymouth was involved in the kidnapping of racecar driver, Juan Manuel Fangio by Fidel Castor’s Cuban rebels. On the eve of the Cuban Grand Prix, Fangio was confronted by a man with a gun who shoved him into a black Plymouth. The kidnapper and his accomplices were able to get away in the Plymouth because it was a generic car driving along the Cuban streets. Although Fangio was eventually released, the Plymouth still rules the streets.

With the renewed relationships between the US and Cuba that came about in 2014, we may start to see an increase in the number of car exports to Havana. Therefore, you should check out these cars before they once again, become a part of history. 

A book that shows the truth about old cars in Cuba

A book that shows the truth about old cars in Cuba

There is a new book about the culture of American cars in Cuba. As we said before, Cuba is a rolling museum, where you can find about 60,000 old cars along the island. It is true that many of them have been transformed with modern parts but there are some that remain original. Many of our cars in OldCarTours have original engine. So, the book seems to be very interesting revealing the Car's culture in Cuba. That's a good point because the old American cars have become a part of Cuban life. For sure.

If you want to read the article in Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaclyntrop/2017/02/08/new-book-reveals-the-truth-about-car-culture-in-cuba/#66688bec1d4e

If you want to buy the book in Amazon:

Cuba's Car Culture: Celebrating the Island's Automotive Love Affair Hardcover – October 1, 2016
by Tom Cotter  (Author), Bill Warner (Photographer), Stirling Moss (Foreword)

https://www.amazon.com/Cubas-Car-Culture-Celebrating-Automotive/dp/0760350264

Enjoy it.

Havana Classic Cars

Havana Classic Cars

If you want to ride a classic car in Havana city, then you must be prepared to see as many options as people had at the 50’s years. With around 60,000 old classic cars in Cuba, Havana' visitors will have the opportunity of feeling like traveling in time.

Along the 3 hours tour, tourists can see many sights located in 4 districts of Havana. The most important attractions to see along this tour are: The Capitol building, China Town, Carlos III street, The famous Revolution Square, the houses of “Vedado”, Cristobal Colon Cemetery, Habana Forest that is considered the lung of the city, Miramar residence district, the 5ft avenue, Malecón avenue, and many other attractions.

It would be good idea to have a guide along the tour because you can have more details about history.

Havana city is a kind of rolling car museum. The interesting combination of old American cars and the old style of architecture make Havana a fantastic place to visit despite the crisis and destruction.

Riding a convertible car in Havana city is vintage and very funny for families. We recommend it.

Havana tour in vintage car

Havana tour in vintage car

Havana city is fashionable today. Since the conversation between Raul and Obama there are more and more tourists visiting the city, many of them with the idea of “visiting Havana before Americans arrive”.

That may be true, but despite the political focus, Havana is an old city. Almost the 80 percent of the city remains original since the Colonial period until the Communist Revolution at 1959. Therefore the city is old and today due to the crisis, the city is destroyed. This is part of the charm of Havana, the "City of Columns", because during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s there were built many houses with neoclassical style, because Havana was a rich city at that time.

You can see that Havana is vintage and one extra detail are the thousands of old American cars that ride along the city. About 6 years ago people of Havana realized that vintage cars were attractive for tourists so they started to restore them and today there are around 200 classic cars prepared for working with tourists, not only convertible cars but also sedan hardtop cars.  The rank of years of production are since 1920 until 1959. 

OldCarTours invites you to reserve a tour in Havana with a vintage car. We suggest using convertible cars for touring in Havana city, because the best way to see Havana is on convertible vintage cars. 

Havana and Ernest Hemingway

Havana and Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, the famous American novelist and Novel prize writer, lived in Cuba about 20 years. Since 1939, his first visit, until 1960 when he left Cuba, never to return. 

Today in Cuba still remains the beautiful house where he was living in Havana.  Ernest Hemingway's house "La Vigia" is considered an important monument not only in Cuba, but also in United State. The house remained with the original contents when Hemingway leaved the house.

Hemingway lived in the house from middle 1939 to 1960, renting it at first, and then buying it in December 1940 after he married his third wife Martha Gellhorn. The house cost $12,500 at that time. The Finca at the time consisted of 15 acres (61,000 m2) with a farmhouse.

Today “La Vigia” is a museum that consists on the house, its contents, 38 ft (12 m) fishing boat “Pilar”, and the grounds.

For visiting, the tourists must pay 5 CUC per person which is used for keeping the museum in good conditions.

Other important place related to the writer is the town of Cojimar. Cojimar town is 4.2 square km and there are 18 000 inhabitants inside the town nowadays. The town is just at 7 minutes from Havana downtown. 

Hemingway liked to fish in Cojimar’s water on his boat Pilar and with his skipper Gregorio Fuentes. Hemingway made famous Cojimar’s Terraza restaurant through his novels. The 1954 Nobel award winner, met Anselmo Hernández at this place. Anselmo inspired him for his novel “The Old Man and the Sea”. When Hemingway died the inhabitants of Cojimar gathered money for making a small statue of the immortal friend.

More about Cojimar Town: http://www.cojimarhavanarent.com/

We suggest taking the Hemingway route with an old convertible car in Havana.

We also offer this 5 hours tour:

Havana Combo Hemingway & City Tour

Duration: 5 hours


This tour is a combination of Hemingway route and the 2 hours city tour. Within this tour you will visit "La Vigia" (Ernest Hemingway's house), Cojimar town (where he used to fish and drink), and a stop at the Morro-Cabaña fortress to enjoy a panoramic view of Havana city then you continue visiting Old Havana, Centro Habana, Vedado, Nuevo Vedado and Miramar districts. Some of the attractions to see along this tour are: The Capitol building, China Town, Reina and Carlos III streets, Revolution Square (stop), Cristobal Colon Cemetery, Habana Forest (stop), 5th Avenue and Malecón Avenue. This tour has an extra fee of 5 CUC per person when you visit the Museum La Vigia, to be paid by tourists at the location. This tour cannot be done on Sundays because the museum is closed. The museum opens from 10 am to 5 pm, so the tour must be done within this time frame.

Tour Varadero-Havana in classic American car

Tour Varadero-Havana in classic American car

Are you hosted in Varadero Beach? 

Would you like to have a tour from Varadero to Havana city in a classic American car?

You can do this tour with our agency OldCarTours. In this tour the car pick you up at the hotel in Varadero, then to travel to Havana (this travel lasts about 2 hours). Once in Havana, you will be given a tour of the city, stop for lunch at a Cuban restaurant (please note the cost of lunch is not included in tour price), continue touring the city after lunch, and finally return to Varadero at sunset.

The most important attractions to see in Havana city are:

  1. Revolution Square
  2. Old Havana (historical center)
  3. Malecon avenue
  4. Vedado and Miramar districts
  5. Havana Capitol and Central Park
  6. Museum of Revolution

This tour is a combination of riding a classic car with professional driver and guide and walking inside the pedestrian tourist area of Old Havana. Our vintage cars are in very good conditions as well.

You will see much Havana city in only one day tour.

Varadero-Havana long day tour on convertible

Duration: 10 hours


In this tour the car pick you up at the hotel in Varadero, then to travel to Havana (2 hours). Once in Havana, you will be given a tour of the city, stop for lunch at a Cuban restaurant (please note the cost of lunch is not included in tour price), continue touring the city after lunch, and finally return to Varadero at sunset.


Reserve this tour now 

Viñales tour from Havana city

Viñales tour from Havana city

OldCarTours offers a long day tour to Viñales town on a classic American car. This tour lasts 10 hours. Between 2 or 3 hours of traveling from Havana city when you arrive to Viñales, you realize that the place is one of the most beautiful countryside in Cuba.

Once you arrive you can visit the balcony at the hotel "Los Jardines" with a beautiful view of the valley. You can also visit the house of a farmer who plants and processes the tobacco for creating the famous Cuban cigar, you can have there a explanation about all the process (English) and you can buy the best cigar in Cuba. You will see, how the Cuban farmer live in context. You may have the possibility of riding a horse (extra cost of 10 cuc per hour) and drink the Cuban coffee and "guarapo" (sugar cane's juice)

There are many Cuban typical restaurant where you can have a lunch and Cuban taste is very good.

The town of Viñales is a typical Cuban country town, full of colorful houses where you can stay in many of them. La Cueva del Indio (the indian cave) is a tourist place where you use a boat to visit. You will enjoy of Cuban rural live in Viñales with our classic cars.

Havana-Viñales long tour in convertible

Duration: 10 hours


This is a long day tour to Viñales town on classic American car. This is a round trip tour and should start between 8 – 8:30 am. Traveling to Viñales could take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Viñales is one of the most beautiful countryside in Cuba. Once you arrive you visit the balcony at the hotel Los Jardines with a beautiful view of the valley. Then visit the house of the farmer who plant and process the tobacco for creating the Cuban cigar, you have there an explanation about all the process and you can buy the best cigar in Cuba. You will see how the Cuban farmer´s live in context. You may have a lunch at a Cuban typical restaurant (the cost of lunch is not included in the tour´s price). Later visit the town of Viñales and la Cueva del Indio (indian cave). You will enjoy of Cuban rural live. At the end of this tour in Viñales the car drop you off in the hotel, accommodation or pick up point in Havana city.


The 50s and American cars

The 50s and American cars

The 50s was characterized by significant changes in design, style and functionality of American cars of the time. This is known as the decade of automotive culture. Following the 2nd World War, the US economy grew rapidly due to the industrialization and commercialization of many new products which were invented or developed as a result of the war needs. After the war crisis, the decade began strongly regarding desires of consumption and production. It is estimated that in that decade, American factories produced 56.6 million family cars and 7.3 million vehicles bound for the agricultural and industrial production.

The war resulted in the increase of the roads connecting the entire country, so the cars began to be used and in demand for transportation throughout North America. This, combined with gas prices, generated considerable use of new vehicles. At the beginning, a gallon of gasoline (3.78 liters) cost 18 cents and 25 cents at the end.

The designs of the cars were gaining in length (L), their engines in power and they were lower and wider, as they say: lower, longer, and wider.

Classic cars in Havana

The chrome of the cars was becoming an essential aesthetic element and the most varied designs were used to compete with large companies as Ford, General Motor, and Chrysler.

Cuba has a wide variety of American cars of the 50s. Many are maintained with the efforts of Cubans, some over love and others over necessity. The splendor of the island in that decade has left thousands of cars driving through the city to the attraction of tourists and to meet the transportation needs of this country.

Vintage car tours

OldCarTours offers tours in classic American cars. All our prices are per car, NOT per person. Tours are paid in cash (CUC) at the end of the tour.

All our tours are OFAC compliant. They can be considered within the category of "Educational people to people travel" because you are interacting with Cuban people, their culture, religion and society.

Pick-ups at hotels, private accommodations and cruise terminal. We cannot pick up at airports.

See more of our tours here


Panoramic View of Havana

Panoramic View of Havana

Havana is a picturesque city characterized by buildings in different styles and colors. This town buildings have different kind of styles - colonial, baroque, neoclassical, art nouveau, art deco and, modern. Furthermore, it is common to find Russian buildings from the Soviet influence period after the 1959 Revolution.

Visiting Havana is like traveling in time. According to experts, 80% of these city buildings are from the colonial period to the mid-twentieth century, so that Havana is currently a city with architecture older than 50 years.

Due to Havana's almost five hundred-year existence, the city boasts some of the most diverse styles of architecture in the world, from castles built in the late 16th century to modernist present-day high-rises. The present condition of many buildings in Havana has deteriorated since the 1959 Revolution. Numerous collapses have resulted in injuries and deaths due to a lack of maintenance and crumbling structures.

Neoclassical

Neoclassism was introduced into the city in the 1840s, at the time including Gas public lighting in 1848 and the railroad in 1837. In the second half of the 18th century, sugar and coffee production increased rapidly, which became essential in the development of Havana's most prominent architectural style. Many wealthy Habaneros took their inspiration from the French; this can be seen within the interiors of upper class houses such as the Aldama Palace built in 1844. This is considered the most important neoclassical residential building in Cuba and typifies the design of many houses of this period with portales of neoclassical columns facing open spaces or courtyards.

In 1925 Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, the head of urban planning in Paris moved to Havana for five years to collaborate with architects and landscape designers. In the master planning of the city his aim was to create a harmonic balance between the classical built form and the tropical landscape. He embraced and connected the city's road networks while accentuating prominent landmarks. His influence has left a huge mark on Havana although many of his ideas were cut short by the great depression in 1929. During the first decades of the 20th century Havana expanded more rapidly than at any time during its history. Great wealth prompted architectural styles to be influenced from abroad. The peak of Neoclassicism came with the construction of the Vedado district (begun in 1859). This whole neighborhood is littered with set back well-proportioned buildings.

Colonial and Baroque

Riches were brought from the colonialists into and through Havana as it was a key transshipment point between the new world and old world. As a result, Havana was the most heavily fortified city in the Americas. Most examples of early architecture can be seen in military fortifications such as La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana (1558–1577) designed by Battista Antonelli and the Castillo del Morro (1589–1630). This sits at the entrance of Havana Bay and provides an insight into the supremacy and wealth at that time.

Old Havana was also protected by a defensive wall begun in 1674 but had already overgrown its boundaries when it was completed in 1767, becoming the new neighbourhood of Centro Habana. The influence from different styles and cultures can be seen in Havana's colonial architecture, with a diverse range of Moorish architecture, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Roman. The San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary (18th century) is a good example of early Spanish influenced architecture. The Havana cathedral (1748–1777) dominating the Plaza de la Catedral (1749) is the best example of Cuban Baroque. Surrounding it are the former palaces of the Count de Casa-Bayona (1720–1746) Marquis de Arcos (1746) and the Marquis de Aguas Claras (1751–1775).

Art Deco and Eclectic

The first echoes of the Art Deco movement in Havana started in 1927, in the residential area of Miramar. The Edificio Bacardi (1930) is thought to be the best example of Art-deco architecture in the city and first tall Art Deco building as well, followed by the Hotel Nacional de Cuba (1930) and The Lopez Serrano building built in 1932 by Ricardo Mira inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York City. The year 1928 marked the beginning of the reaction against the Spanish Renaissance style architecture, Art Deco started in the lush and wealthy suburbs of Miramar, Marianao, and Vedado.

The city's eclectic architectural sights begins in Centro Habana. The Central Railway Terminal (1912), and the Museum of the Revolution (1920) are example of Eclectic architecture.

Modernism

Many high-rise office buildings, and apartment complexes, along with some hotels built in the 1950s dramatically altered the skyline. Modernism, therefore, transformed much of the city and is known its individual buildings of high quality rather than its larger key buildings. Examples of the latter are Habana Libre (1958), which before the revolution was the Havana Hilton Hotel and La Rampa movie theater (1955).

Due to the economic crisis, the city displays destroyed buildings, but many of them, located on its main avenues, have received modest renovations which create a phenomenal colorful look. 

This is because the Cubans like to be one of a kind. So since ancient times, houses have been built with different styles and if they look similar, so they are painted in different colors. This makes Havana a colorful city.

We invite you all to visit this beautiful city on a classic convertible car, where you can see a peculiar Havana from all points of view.

Tours on convertible classic car in Havana

Source Wikipedia [Havana]

Tours in Havana city

Tours in Havana city

Havana is a beautiful touristic destination. Havana is warm and welcoming. Its streets, buildings, old cabriolet American cars and urban style appear like the city stopped in time.

One of the most attractive pastimes is riding on a classic convertible American car. Just put the top down and you’ll feel and enjoy better the city’s architecture and its charming crowd.

Visiting Havana today is popular and it is included as main destination for many Caribbean cruisers line. 

Our agency offers a special tour from Havana cruise terminal 

In this tour tourists can visit many areas in Havana city. This is a Havana shore excursion in classic cars. This tour is perfect to introduce visitors to Cuban people, their culture and way of life. This tour is OFAC compliant. This tour almost covers the all about Havana city. Classic car tours are the best way to experience Havana and all it has to offer! 

We also pick-up tourists in Hotels and private accommodations, known as "casa particular". We offer English and French guide service and the cost is separate from our regular tours’ cost.

Check our tours list and prices here:

http://www.oldcartours.com/classic_car_tours_in_cuba

Havana's old cars is like traveling in time machine

Havana's old cars is like traveling in time machine

Old cars and urban style in Cuba appear like traveling in time machine. There are more than 60,000 classic American cars in Cuba. Most of them remain with original parts, which are brought mainly from the US. These vehicles are locally known as “Yank Tank” or “maquinas”, you may find many around the country.

Among other brands you'll find Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, and in less quantity Cadillac, Mercury, Dodge, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chrysler and Plymouth; also some classic European automobiles like Opel, Citroën, and MG.

Classic American cars in Cuba use both diesel and gasoline as fuel and their engines can be V-8 or 6 cylinders in-line.

Old Car Tours offers cars with drivers and tours in Havana and Varadero. All our tours are OFAC compliant. They can be considered within the category of "Educational people to people travel" because you are interacting with Cuban people, their culture, religion and society.

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There are all kind of convertible cars in Havana

There are all kind of convertible cars in Havana

Cuban people are good making solutions. We transform or adapt any car in order to keep then working. There is a model of Fiat made in Poland, that Cubans call it as "Polsky". So, here you have a convertible version of this old car from the 80´s.

There are thousand of Fiat Polsky (Fiat type 126) in Cuba. Nowadays these are very popular because of they consume just a few gasoline (small engines). It may be a problem their limit room but Cuban people don't tend to be big size, so it is a comfortable car for the family.

Some history from Wikipedia


The 126 used much of the same mechanical underpinnings and layout as its Fiat 500 rear-engined predecessor with which it shared its wheelbase, but featured an all new bodyshell resembling a scaled-down Fiat 127, also enhancing safety.

The front footwells, suspension, battery and spare wheel left little room for luggage in the 126 front trunk.

Engine capacity was increased from 594 cc to 652 cc at the end of 1977 when the cylinder bore was increased from 73.5 to 77 mm.[5] Claimed power output was unchanged at 23 hp (17 kW), but torque was increased from 39 N⋅m (29 lb⋅ft) to 43 newton metres (32 lb⋅ft).[5] The 594 cc engines were still available in early 1983 production.

A subsequent increase took the engine size to 704 cc in new "restyling" model Fiat 126 Bis (1987–1991), with 26 hp (19 kW) of motive power.

Fiat 126 (second from left) at the Auto Italia, Stanford Hall, 2010

In Italy, the car was produced in the plants of Cassino and Termini Imerese until 1979. By this time 1,352,912 of the cars had been produced in Italy.

The car was also produced under licence by Zastava in Yugoslavia.

Despite clever marketing, the 126 never achieved the frenzied popularity of the 500 in Western Europe. The total number of 126 produced is: 1,352,912 in Italy, 3,318,674 in Poland, 2,069 in Austria, and an unknown number in Yugoslavia. For a brief period in the early 1990s, a German company called POP also offered convertible versions of the 126 BIS. Two models were offered: a lesser equipped one called the "POP 650" and a more luxurious model called the "POP 2000".

Old car tours in Havana