They are like that because of the embargo from the US over the past 60 years. Cubans had a very difficult time importing anything so most of the cars from the 1950's and 1960's are still in great shape because they HAD to fix them and keep them on the road. They even had to make their own parts because they could not import parts to fix them.
This is not true anymore. They import cars, just not American ones. Korean brands are prevalent.
That said, the owners of these cars in Cuba do take great pride in them and do a fantastic job of maintaining them. From my experience they're more than happy to show off their cars if you ask politely.
Swede here; I wouldn't.
If you'd ever ridden in one the way those crazy fuckers drive you might think twice plus most of them don t have seatbelts and are diesel
From having taken those cars as taxis, a couple things:
Like many countries in the developing world, Cuba has un-metered taxis, so you have the 'pleasure' of having to negotiate the rate every time before stepping into one, or you will be gouged with the price
Some of those things I swear top out at like 50 mph, so its a very leisurely ride to and from the airport
Now, Americans can buy all those old classics for a song and send new, shitty cars to Cuba
Anymore, no. But it was true for the majority of a 60 year span :)
Yeah, but where would you park them?