Cuba is a country not only synonymous for making Cigars but also for its abundance of pre-1960 cars. In 1959 Fidel Castro came to power and along with many changes created a law where no one could import a car without prior permission from the government. This in effect created Cuba a rolling museum without acknowledgement to motoring’s future.
Chevys through to Studebakers all construed as modern family cars around fifty years ago have been a regular sight populating the streets throughout Cuba and now considered to be classic cars. And these classic cars are going to become available to the U.S. if President Barack Obama is successful in winning over congress to remove the ban on Cuban imports. But are these classics actually going to be worth anything?
The problem lies with the classics being used as daily vehicles for all of their lives and not being maintained with classic or quality components. This is why it wouldn’t be uncommon to find a ’57 Chevy with a diesel engine, homemade body panels and homebrew paint. New parts haven’t been available since the import embargo so the mix-match recycled parts from other vehicles & models have created Frankenstein cars and reduced values due to the lack of originality.
If you consider restoration for a Chevy or Caddy to show room condition could cost anything up to £60,000 you could actually buy a similar car on the US market in good condition for between £10,000 and £45,000 respectively.
So, buying a classic car from Cuba may seem like a bargain hunters dream but the true reality would be that the cost of restoration outweighing its market value. Unless the car you are lucky to have found is the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing hidden in the Cuban landscape since the fifties and now rumoured could sell for over £600,000.
22 September 2017
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