Welcome to Cuba's automotive time capsule, filled with classic cars.
The story of how Cuba came to be trapped in automotive time is a fascinating one. For decades, the island country had enjoyed healthy tourism trade and American outpost status, and by the 1950s it had the highest per capita automotive purchasing of any Latin American country - its middle class ensured an interesting variety of vehicles plying the roads. But when Cuba fell to communist rebels in 1959, so ended the inflow of new cars. Since then, trade embargo forced Cuba's car enthusiasts to develop a unique and insular culture, one marked by great creativity, such as:
Keeping a car alive with no opportunity to acquire replacement parts
Customizing a car with no access to aftermarket parts
Drag racing with no drag strip
In many ways, Cuba is an automotive time warp, where the newest car is a 1959 Chevy or perhaps one of the Soviet Ladas.Cuba's Car Culture offers an inside look at a unique car culture, populated with cars that have been cut off from the world so long that they've morphed into something else in the spirit of automotive survival.
Authors Tom Cotter and Bill Warner (founder of the Amelia Island Concours) take readers of Cuba's Car Culture on a whirlwind tour of all things automotive, beginning with Cuba's pre-Castro car and racing history and bringing us up to today's lost collector cars, street racing, and the challenges of keeping decades-old cars on the road. The book is illustrated throughout with rare historical photos as well as contemporary photos of Cuba's current car scene. For anyone who enjoys classic cars, from old Chevy Bel-Airs to Studebakers to Ford Fairlanes, a cruise around Cuba will make you feel like a kid in a candy store.
About the Authors
The title on Tom Cotter's business card reads: Certified Car Geek. For the past 30 years, Cotter has worked on nearly every end of the car business: mechanic, car sales, automotive public relations and marketing executive, auto racing authority, historian, racer, collector, restorer, journalist, and author. He has authored 10 automotive books, including most of the popular In the Barn
series for Motorbooks. He has written for the New York Times and Road & Track magazine. Whenever he sits down at his keyboard to write another book, you can be sure that he has grease under his fingernails.
Bill Warner is founder of the Amelia Island Concours and also serves as president of his own business, H. C. Warner, Inc., an industrial filtration company. He also owns and operates Bill Warner Racing. Warner won the 2002 Meguiar's Award for Collector Car Hobby Person of the Year. Warner began as a go-fer for a racing team as a teenager and eventually began racing his own cars, competing in a variety of events. His writing and photography have been featured in Road & Track, as well as several European and Asian racing publications.
"Trekking throughout the island, Cotter conducted interviews through translators and delved into Cuba's unique culture, while Warner spent his time behind the camera, capturing the number of beautiful, colorful, and enlightening photographs that are featured within the book's pages. By writing about the past, present, and future of Cuban cars, these two men allow readers to better understand the effect of the Cuban trade embargo on the country as a whole and its resulting array of vintage vehicles." -- The News Wheel