The “Yank Tanks” of Cuba
Yank tank or máquina are the words used to describe the many classic cars (for example: 1957 Chevrolet, 1953 Ford, 1958 Dodge, etc.) present in Cuba with an estimated 60,000 of them still driving the roads today. In 1962 a United States embargo against Cuba was introduced, effectively cutting trade between the two countries. This meant that the cars in Cuba could no longer receive new replacement parts when something broke. Currently, the only way to keep these cars on the road today is by using Cuban ingenuity to adapt household products and Soviet technology into these vehicles. If a car is unable to be repaired at the time, the car is usually either “parked” for future repair or “parted out” (to produce extra income for the owner’s family) so that other cars can remain on the road. During the years of Soviet Union influence on Cuba, Ladas, Moskvitchs and Volgas became the main cars imported by the communist regime, mainly for state use. As a result of these internal economic restrictions, to this day there is no such thing as a new or used private European or Asian automotive dealership branch in Cuba for independent purchasing by regular Cubans.