Cuban Chrome: Clunkers Brought Back To Their Original Beauty

Journeys, Featured

guest blogger steve 2

Once again I’m a guest blogger on Nancy’s blog; thank you!

I couldn’t resist writing another blog post about Cuba, obviously it was one of my top vacation destinations. As a “car guy,” I was particularly thrilled to get a glimpse of the pre-embargo cars that Cuba had to offer.

And so, here is a bit of eye candy–a colorful display of all those American-made cars that the Cubans drive. I’ve separated the photographs into three areas: the clunkers I still find stunning, the mechanics who refurbish them, and the remarkable end result.

My interest in cars began in the 1950s, when I was a preteen. Nowhere in the world is there a collection of cars from the 1950s and 1960s as there is in Cuba. Not only were there no cars imported to Cuba after 1961, but there were also no American parts imported for repairs either.

Only about one out of 50 Cubans own a car and 90% of these are American-made. Imagine unrestored cars held together with “duct tape, bailing wire, and bondo”. They may have anything from a boat engine to a Chinese or Russian engine. Here you go.

I hope you plan a trip soon. It’s getting easier and easier to travel there.

vintage american cars

























the artists who


There is an interesting show on Discovery called Cuban Chrome. It shows how a car club in Cuba turns one of their junkers into a completely refurbished car, without any American parts. One way or another, these artists create so many of the missing pieces.














brought back to their...


























All photographs in this guest blog post are taken by Steve Gordon, using the Canon 7D.

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  • Phil

    This was such an awesome guest blog!! I loved to learn about and see the beautiful, stunning American cars stuck in the time capsule that is Cuba. I would never have known. Great work!

    • Steve Gordon

      thank you phil. so few people do know about that time capsule. i knew about it but it was just amazing to see it for myself.

  • Nancy

    I’m not a car person — cars don’t hold any innate beauty to me — but I AM a color person, and I love the fuchsia station wagon! Good job Steve – something for every eye here!

    • Steve Gordon

      thank you nancy. my blog doesn’t even do the colors justice. it was nice to see so many cars, but so many colors in one spot was remarkable.

  • Tara Crowley

    it is quite amazing how well they have restored and maintained these cars. I hope that they don’t abandon them when new cars flood the market in the future. Nice photos, Steve – I’m glad your love of cars gave you the ‘focus’ in Cuba!

    • Steve Gordon

      thank you tara. let’s hope more of the clunkers are brought back.

  • Good job Steve! Nice pictures about your passion.

  • Janet Chin-See

    I enjoyed reading your blog, Steven, I look forward to reading many more

  • What great photos! I so want to go to Cuba because of you two!

    • Hi Mara, Steve did a great job with his photography here, and we love love love CUBA. I bet you get there one day.