Hopes are pinned on a profitable deal with Cuban cars

The deal seemed like a good one for a couple of North Americans in Costa Rica.

They were going to visit Cuba and try to make a deal for some of those classic U.S. cars that still are seen on the roads there.

Then they were going to ship the cars to nearby México and then to the United States for a big payoff. After all, a pristine 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop might go for $70,000 in the United States.

And there was no problem with custom duties. The car was made in Detroit.

Such highly profitable business plans blossom as the night wears on at various Gringo bars. But morning brings a clearer view.

Yes, Cuba has more than its share of classic U.S. cars. There really are Edsels and Packards and even Studebakers. How about a Buick pickup or a 1950 Plymouth

One of Cuba's classic cars

One of Cuba’s classic cars

convertible? A Nash? An Olds?

The 1962 U.S. trade embargo on the island stopped the flow of Detroit’s finest. But the embargo also stopped the flow of repair parts.

Cubans are known around the world as innovators who somehow keep the old cars running despite lack of access to a parts store.
But collectors are not interested in jury-rigged hunks of junk that resemble classic automobiles. And Cuba has prohibited the export of vehicles since 2010.

So it’s back to the bar in search of another business plan.

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