Things to Be Aware of When Importing Classic Cars from Cuba

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Things to Be Aware of When Importing Classic Cars from Cuba

Things to Be Aware of When Importing Classic Cars from Cuba

Relations between Cuba and the United States have not been good throughout the second half of the 20th century and into the 2000s, but under the Obama Administration, the ice cold relationship began to thaw out a bit.

This was apparent when on October 17th, the US Department of Treasury lessened their restrictions on import and export regulations between US and Cuban goods (see this source).

In lessening the trade restrictions, the US Department of Treasury stated: “This authorization will allow recipients of authorized exports or reexports to Cuba to return the items to the United States… including for service and repair.”

For classic car enthusiast’s, this was the key line that made it so that they could officially import American classic cars.

Yet, while it may seem tempting to do so, there are some caveats that classic car enthusiasts should be privy to:

Many of the Cars Are Not in Good Condition

Even though some of the classic cars that you may see in pictures of Havana seem to be in pristine condition and also seem to run well, many of them actually aren’t. While this is not the case for all of the classic cars in Cuba, the truth is that many of them may have that great-looking exterior, but underneath the hood, they’re not in great shape.


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Why is this the case? Well, it’s actually quite simple:

  • Cubans could not import that necessary replacement parts for many of the classic cars due to being effectively cut off from trading with the United States;
  • These cars are 50 to 70 years old in many cases;
  • Many of the classic cars contain engines of Chinese or Russian origin;
  • Cubans are experts at fixing the cars so that they run well, but these are not with their original or official replacement parts.

In addition, some of the classic cars, because of the alternative parts underneath the hood, will need constant maintenance or may need to be completely restored. You can imagine just how much this will cost in addition to whatever you pay to have it imported.

Many of the Sought After Classic Cars Are Gone

There was a point several decades ago where there were still many highly-sought after classic cars in Cuba, but most of them are long gone now. You may still be able to find some steals, but after the Revolution took place, many of the expensive and/or rare classic cars disappeared or left the country through various means. In addition, there’s also the reality that, as mentioned, many of them that are still there are in extremely poor condition.

It may make sense to actually send the parts to Cuba to restore the cars there if you have the means to do so, but regardless, there are situations where it would still be the best option to import a classic car here for restoration. A-1 Auto Transport can certainly help you out with any of your transportation needs! Be sure to contact us today for your free quote.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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