WATCH: American classic cars take over the streets of Havana in annual rally

Classic American cars that one would expect to see in museums in the United States raced in the streets of Havana on Sunday during the annual Classic and Antique Cars Rally.

The 1950s Chevy Bel Airs, Ford Fairlanes, Pontiacs, Volkswagen Beetles and some older Ford models paraded through the streets of the Cuban capital.

Remnants of pre-revolution Cuba, the cars are treasured by their owners.

“There are people who have given the car its own name, yes, they are family members,” said Miguel Angel Ortega, owner of a classic car.

But Ortega also pointed out the difficulty of keeping the car running.

Painted in unusual bright colors, they are used mostly to take tourists on rides along the city’s Malecon or sea wall and other popular sites in the capital.

The more than half-a-century-old embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba made it impossible to import new cars and parts, turning Cubans into some of the most inventive mechanics in the world and helping preserve the cars.

Alberto Gutierrez, president of the American Classic Car Club said that thanks to the embargo, these cars exist in Cuba.

“If the sale of cars and the import of spare parts had not been suspended, these cars would have disappeared,” he said.

The rally is more than a competition, as it celebrates what the Cubans call “Museo Rodante” or museum on wheels.

This year it had the participation of 60 cars and motorcycles.

The drivers and co-drivers followed a route through the city that was kept a secret until the last minute and had checkpoints.

It was a “regularity” rally, not a speed rally — in other words, the organizers established a circuit and set a time for its execution, which gave points to the participants.

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Source: WT