The unique mix of old and new is one of the most captivating traits of Cuba’s buzzing capital. Millions of tourists who visit the island every year are fascinated by the fleet of vintage cars that continue to circulate through Havana and through the entire island. Due to scarce economic resources and barriers like the embargo the country has suffered for more than 50 years, many Cubans have used their wit to keep old American cars rolling through the streets.
Last week, a special tribute was paid to these vintage vessels that have become a symbol of Havana’s peculiar charm. An old cars rally rolled through the streets of the city on Sunday 12th November. According to Juventud Rebelde newspaper, the event was organised by renowned local vintage car club “A lo Cubano” in an attempt to celebrate the popularity of these vehicles amongst tourists as well as the inventiveness of the Cuban people who manage to keep these jewels running day after day.
The three-hour long rally started and finished in the parking lot of the capital’s famous Tropicana Cabaret where the likes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole once performed. The route was made up of 50 cars and five motorcycles in total that travelled 55 kilometres throughout Havana’s different municipalities. Part of the tour included streets with good traffic and important historic and cultural landmarks like Old Havana’s Capitol, the picturesque Prado promenade, the Revolution Square and the city’s stunning Malecon seawall.
This vintage cars parade was also a special homage to the Cuban capital which celebrated its 498th foundation anniversary recently. The organisers highlighted that the event was not a speed competition but a tranquil circuit where old American 50s cars showed off their colourful, well-preserved bodies, evoking the greatness of another era. Each car took a pilot and a co-pilot as they rolled through Havana’s streets.
When speaking of the motivation for this event as well as the intention behind creating the club itself, Alberto Gutierrez, president of the “A lo Cubano” old cars club, declared that since its foundation in 2003, the group has had the objective of enhancing knowledge and the image of the national automobile family and its cultural heritage.