1959 Corvette In Cuba

1959 Vette

From Paul P – Everyone talks about all of the American classics in Cuba and having just returned, I can attest that there are tons of them. But one day, while walking down a little side street, we saw this ’59 Vette stuffed into a tiny mechanic’s garage. It stopped us in our tracks! Obviously, it’s had some “work” done to it, but all in all, it appeared to be in great shape! Amazing! Special thanks to Paul for sharing this recent Cuban find! Who else here would love to see the classic cars of Cuba in person?


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  1. RayT Member

    Probably the sole reason I’d like to go to Cuba — and I would — would be to hunt some of the classic American cars and European sports cars that I know have been (and many probably still are) there. I wouldn’t expect to find them in better shape than this ‘Vette, which really doesn’t look like it would need all that much to put right, but it would be fun just to see them.

    That fantasy of finding a ________, _________ or _______-_______ (names withheld to protect my dreams!) that were destined for Cuba in the 1950s just won’t die….

    • Steve

      When I see something like this in a poor country, I think to myself. Did these “freedom” fighters choose the right side during their revolution? It’s obvious when this Corvette was imported (and all those other classics) into Cuba that the original owner had the means to get it there. From the articles that I read it looks as if most people don’t have bread to eat these days. What went wrong here?

  2. Dave Wright

    I have read that the Cuban classic cars are only a shadow of there former selves……..heavily modified with cheep Russian parts just to keep them running. Even complete drive trains were commonly changed to junk Russian machinery. Lots of bondo and duct tape under the skin too. I suppose we will be finding out soon.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      The cars in Cuba are in many different states of repair. Indeed many have become Frankenstein’s, but not all, and the ingenuity is not only impressive but makes each and every car interesting in its own right.

  3. jimbosidecar

    Really cool find! All I’ve heard about is the 1940s and 1950s iron that has been patched together with Eastern European junk to keep them on the road. This is the first one that seems to be in great shape. Nice find.

  4. Frankie B

    I know the car and the guy… he’s a madman mechanic and this car is SO ready for a cruize
    down the malecon! He just shortened the rear end so he can get monster tires under the body… he has made it a drag car! But the beauty is mostly original and very nice condition.
    There are many, many pristine examples of 50’s and 60’s Chevys, Fords, Chryslers, Pontiacs, Buicks and etc over there. Now that it is easing up, these babies are the retirement package for a lot of the locals, with the cars getting as much as $60K for clean examples that look and drive excellent. That’s a lot of dough for a guy that makes $30-50 a month working in the “system”.

  5. DRV

    If you want an original car, all I see here is a body , frame, some trim, windows, and a dash frame that is original. To make original I am guessing 50k plus if you don’t do it yourself. The interior will alone will be 12k…….

    • Clay Bryant

      DRV,you need to change where you get your work done.Interior 12k? I’ve done them and a real push at 5 grand.

  6. Dolphin Member

    Lots of people have been going to Cuba for warm holidays for decades, just not Americans until now. They report that most of the American cars have had engine transplants, often from Ladas and such, which more or less keeps them going, just not too rapidly. Most of them look good everywhere except under the hood.

    You might be surprised to hear that lots of Cubans have run small, mostly tiny local businesses for years, and now that’s ramping up a lot. Just proves that eventually free enterprise is recognized as the best way.

    It does surprise me to see this early Vette there. Since many of the US cars on the road have been used as taxis for the toutistas, I wonder whether the owner had to keep this car out of sight. Or, maybe it’s a lot more open there than we think.

  7. Craig Bothwell

    The Castro dictatorship has made it very clear: Should Americans come to Cuba and spend money, 90% of that money will be confiscated by Cuba’s police state, which means very little will go the citizens who earned it in the first place. That’s Castro’s version of “hope and change.” As for the hundreds and hundreds of American classics that are there, two things: 1) they are frankencars, butchered to the point of being almost worthless and 2) it will be almost be impossible to get them out of the country.

  8. JW

    I read an article by a automotive journalist who visited Cuba and said he was amazed at the mechanics down there ingenuity. He said when they are able to legally get American parts these guys will have some of the best restoration & speed shops this side of the world. He said anyone who could keep a car running with the junk they have to work with are mechanical wizards.

  9. jim s

    when they open Cuba up again it should get interesting because people who fled still have titles and deeds to what they had to leave behind. should be interesting to see how that gets resloved. this car is very interesting. i have to wonder what vehicles are hidden away. thanks for sharing.

  10. Horse Radish

    An “Imperialist” pig’s Corvette driving down the street in Havana and red to boot ?

    It’s either owned by/in the Castro family or it NEVER leaves the garage…..

    Nice find by.whoever sent it in, thank You.

    With this post you just added big $$$ to the Cuban Tourist economy.
    Every flipper in the US is booking a trip as we’re speaking….

  11. Dusty

    Having been to Cuba several times I found the locals to be very friendly and yes the average person
    does live very modestly out of necessity but are well clothed and their health care is free. Havana is where you see most of the American iron so if you are planning a trip for that purpose that’s where to go . Just behave as the army aren’t overly friendly and CASH is good .

  12. RIC Parrish

    Form of governance had nothing to do with it, Cuba was competition for Los Vegas, gambling and prostitution, only those who believe in the ‘official stories’ buy into the commie threat.

    • krash

      Hey RIC,
      ….is Los Vegas anywhere near Las Angeles?

  13. Dave Wright

    How could that be true? The same American gangsters were involved in both places.

  14. Savant Idiot

    My father was 19 in ’61 and left Cuba with his immediate family never to return. Among the possessions left behind was my grandmothers 1956 Lincoln Continental. Wish I knew of its fate. One can only hope it was recognized for what it was and lovingly cared for like this Corvette.

  15. olerascal

    Very cool story. The whole spectrum of Cuban cars fascinates me. From plebian transpo appliances, to objects of passion, I’m sure there are 1000’s of cool stories. Lotta other info shows up on Google search…including more pics of the ’59 Vette featured!

  16. van

    I’ve been to Cuba 14 times. I came across a 56 Nomad once.

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