Jay Leno drops his two cents on Cuba's classic cars

Posted: 01-Dec-15 11:13

There are people fearing that with the lifting of the travel and trade embargos on Cuba, car enthusiasts will rush in and snap up all the colourful classics that dot the streets of Havana. But talk show legend Jay Leno doesn't think so; he says the real classics are already gone.

Jay Leno drops his two cents on Cuba's classic cars

Relations between Cuba and the US are almost back to normal with the trade and travel embargoes that had been in place for half a century slowly being lifted. Indeed, one of the defining legacies of the Obama administration will be the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

When the restrictions are done away with there is expected to be an influx of Americans into Cuba for both business and leisure. There is a fear among the car-loving community and those for the preservation of Cuban culture that when this happens the classic cars that dot the streets of Havana will disappear.

They fear that classic car enthusiasts will rush to buy these vehicles until none are left to be admired by the public. It is sad to think of a Cuba without vintage cars from the 50s and 60s of different colours crawling the streets. But according to former talk show host and car enthusiast Jay Leno, such a phenomenon will probably not take place.

"I don't see car collectors going to Cuba because all the good cars have been taken out of Cuba."

Leno explained during an episode of his special on CNBC ‘JayLeno's Garage'. The show features reviews of classic cars and motorbikes and is shot at the talk show guru's Big Dog Garage in California.

During the decades that the US embargo has been in place, collectors from Europe have been in and out of the country picking up classic European cars. Today you won't find vintage Jaguars, Aston Martins, Bentleys or Rolls Royces in Cuba as collectors from the UK, France, Germany and other countries spirited them away long ago, according to Leno.

The only classics remaining on the Caribbean island are mostly American oldies such as the 54 Chevrolet with engines from what used to be the USSR. The only mechanics brave enough to deal with the innards of these cars are probably the Cubans who have somehow kept them running through the years.

Leno fears that those vehicles are probably not even highway safe. The only thing praiseworthy about Cuba's celebrated classics, Jay jokes, is the ingenuity of mechanics in keeping them running.


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