tyler havana carTyler Greenfield/Business InsiderCarlo and his 1955 Chevy Bel Air.

Perhaps the strongest reminder of the hardened US-Cuban relationship is the 60,000 retrofitted metal relics clunking around the streets of the stagnant island nation.

Havana's stunning 1950s-era "coches Americanos" — or "máquinas" —are often referred to as the "Galápagos of the car industry" since they have been meticulously preserved by their owners during the 55-year-long trade embargo.

Branded in Cuba's surreal time-warp image, these cars provide crucial income for locals while servicing the island's tourists. Here are a few of the most beautiful vintage cars we saw on our recent trip to Havana. You can read more about Business Insider's week in Cuba here.

In 1955, Cuba was the top importer of North American-manufactured cars, with nearly 125,000 Detroit-made automobiles bustling around the island nation.