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Book Review: ‘Cuba’s Car Culture: Celebrating the Island’s Automotive Love Affair’ by Tom Cotter & Bill Warner

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Cuba's Car Culture book review Motorbooks Tom Cotter Bill Warner pages

5 out of 5 stars rating



Stepping foot on Cuba is like taking a time machine back to the 1950s. Cuban streets are lined with a variety of classic cars, which makes you feel as if you’ve wandered into the world’s largest car show. The biggest difference, though, is that these cars aren’t just for show—they are the daily drivers for the island’s residents.

Because Cuba’s automotive time vacuum, this island remains one of the most unique locations—and must-see places—in the automotive industry. There is vitality in the atmosphere on this island, which is something that is capture perfecting in Tom Cotter and Bill Warner’s newest book, titled Cuba’s Car Culture: Celebrating the Island’s Automotive Love Affair.

Cuba’s Car Culture: Celebrating the Island’s Automotive Love Affair by Tom Cotter and Bill Warner

Cuba's Car Culture book review Motorbooks Tom Cotter Bill Warner coverProduct Details:  Hardcover, 192 pages, 9.25 inches x 10.875 inches
Price:  $35
Publication Date: October 1, 2016
ISBN:  9780760350263
Publisher:  Motorbooks (Quarto)

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Cuba's Car Culture


Throughout this book’s pages, readers will dive into the culture of Cuba, focusing mostly on how the ban on new, imported vehicles influenced the island’s culture. To create this book, Cotter trekked throughout the island and used translators to conduct interviews, while Warner spent his time behind the camera, capturing a number of gorgeous images of people and automobiles. So learn all about Cuba’s mysterious and interesting car culture by checking out this read.

The chapters include a look into the following:

  • Chapter One: Welcome to Cuba: Set Your Watch Back Fifty Years
  • Chapter Two: Cars and Castro’s Revolution
  • Chapter Three: Colorful Yank Tanks
  • Chapter Four: The Myth of the Romance
  • Chapter Five: Island Cars: A Hundred-Year History
  • Chapter Six: International Auto Racing
  • Chapter Seven: Leftover Classics
  • Chapter Eight: Running on Empty: Repair Shops in the Streets
  • Chapter Nine: When Cuban Cars Were New
  • Chapter Ten: Driving Around the Island Today
  • Chapter Eleven: Two Auto Museums
  • Chapter Twelve: You Can’t Bring Them Home!

Each of the chapters is informative and interesting, allowing the reader to truly understand the subtleties of the culture. For anyone that enjoys classic cars, no matter the make or model, it’s likely there is information that they will enjoy within this book.

Cuba's Car Culture book review Motorbooks Tom Cotter Bill Warner history

Product Quality

This oversized hardcover book has a beautiful dust cover that alludes to Cuba’s culture. Its design is perfect for this type of book, making it not only an attractive choice, but also the perfect title for a coffee table book. Each page is printed on thick, glossy paper that truly does the 198 images justice. The various chapters are all color-coded, which makes it simple to look through. Overall, this product is extremely high-quality and well worth the $35.

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Cuba's Car Culture book review Motorbooks Tom Cotter Bill Warner contents

Overall Review

My love of Cuban cars is no secret. I’ve written many an article for The News Wheel on the topic. There is a sense of nostalgia that surrounds Cuban car culture that is difficult to ignore—and this book captures that perfectly. Between the covers of Cuba’s Car Culture, there are a number of extraordinary images that capture the vitality of the country. Each image is pristine, making me a bit sick with the travel bug—and it will definitely do the same for you, too.

Cuba's Car Culture book review Motorbooks Tom Cotter Bill Warner textThis title is perfect for a classic car lover. It is an insightful look at—as the title suggests—Cuba’s car culture, and it isn’t all about the pictures (though, seriously. These pictures are amazing. Did I mention they’re incredible? And awesome. And enthralling. I can go on and on about the pictures). Each chapter covers an important aspect of the culture, from the reasons why the newest car on the island is likely a 1959 Chevy to how Cubans repair their vehicles in the most inventive way. Each of the 192 pages help you dive into the intricacies of a culture that is so entirely different from America’s.

I have no issues with this book at all, which is saying a lot because I’m really picky when it comes to my reading. The layout is perfect and well-organized, allowing readers to flip through quickly or thoroughly read with ease. There are photos on every page, but they aren’t all in the same position. Almost every page is different. The pastel-colored pages call to mind Cuba’s colorful buildings and landscape. Even the book lining is inventive, detailing what looks to be a vintage map of Cuba.

Overall, this is a great option for those interested in Cuban cars and the culture surrounding them. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas gift or merely want to learn more yourself, Cuba’s Car Culture: Celebrating the Island’s Automotive Love Affair by Tom Cotter and Bill Warner is the book for you.

Cuba’s Car Culture is available through, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Product provided for review by publisher.

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