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Nostalgic Cars: Sour Automotive Fruit Of Cuban Embargo Gets New Life

The hood ornament of a 1955 Chevy Belair. Under new more liberal policies instituted in Cuba the past few years, the owner, Julio Alvarez, started a restoration shop and named the car Nadin. Its baby-pink counterpart is named Lola.
Eyder Peralta NPR
The hood ornament of a 1955 Chevy Belair. Under new more liberal policies instituted in Cuba the past few years, the owner, Julio Alvarez, started a restoration shop and named the car Nadin. Its baby-pink counterpart is named Lola.

Daily traffic in Havana resembles a vintage car rally, even if does share the city streets these days  Hyundais and Peugeots and rattletrap Russian Ladas.
Eyder Peralta NPR
Daily traffic in Havana resembles a vintage car rally, even if does share the city streets these days Hyundais and Peugeots and rattletrap Russian Ladas.

Julio Alvarez standing in front of Lola, a 1956 Chevy Bel Air.
Eyder Peralta NPR
Julio Alvarez standing in front of Lola, a 1956 Chevy Bel Air.

The hood of Nadine, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air.
Eyder Peralta NPR
The hood of Nadine, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air.

Everything but the motor on Nadine, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, is original.
Eyder Peralta NPR
Everything but the motor on Nadine, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, is original.

Nostalgic Cars: Sour Automotive Fruit Of Cuban Embargo Gets New Life

In Havana, Cuba, the old cars that crowd the streets used to symbolize a stagnant nation. Now enterprising Cubans have begun renting cars out to tourists who are hungry for the cars of their youth.

During my reporting trip to Havana, I spoke with Julio Alvarez, the owner of Nostalgicar in Havana.

He joked that one thing Cubans should thank Fidel Castro for is all the old, majestic American cars that are now making him money.

You can listen to the story using the player above.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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