Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Will Classic Cars Disappear From Cuba Following New Rule Change?

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News from The Guardian reports that Cuba's council of ministers has changed strict rules that controlled what Cubans were able to do with classic cars made before 1959. This marks the first time since Fidel Castro took power that Cuban citizens have had much choice in what they drive and own. Some say the move threatens the very existence of classic cars in Cuba.

Photo Credit: The Guardian
The old law, in place since 1959, meant most car imports were banned. Those who wanted to buy a car in Cuba had to get permission to do so first. It also meant that the vintage American cars they had once been able to freely purchase became icons to the world and the envy of many collectors.

Cuba is well known for roadways full of beautiful old cars and trucks. Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Fords and others. Many of these vehicles have been sought after by collectors worldwide. With regulations on imports relaxing, this is all set to change, and it has many enthusiasts and collectors worried.

Over the last fifty years of U.S. sanctions, both fuel and parts for cars have been difficult to purchase in Cuba. However, current president Raul Castro recently changed the restrictions Fidel Castro put into place in 1959, opening the car market to all Cuban citizens for the first time in 55 years.

So why are so many people worried? With the new car market opening up with little regulation and potentially long wait lists, there is concern over what will become of the classics. Will they be made available for export, or will they be tossed aside and left to rust?
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