With travel restrictions being loosened, and American-Cuban relations stronger than ever, Corporate Vice President and Design Chief Alfonso Albaisa thought it a perfect time to export the all-new Infiniti Q60 coupe to Cuba – at least one of them. It would mark the first time in 58 years that a U.S.-spec car would be registered on the island nation.
Raised in Miami, Florida, Albaisa had never actually been to the country in which his parents and a number of his relatives called home. For him, the goal of this project was to trace back his roots back to his parents’ birthplace all while behind the wheel of the new Q60 in a four-day trek.
Along with his parents’ home, Alfonso would visit the Tropicana, Club Nautico, and the home of his great uncle, architect Max Borges-Recio, who had designed both. There, he would draw distinctions between the iconic mid-century modern architecture synonymous with the island and the design of the car itself.
On the last night of Albaisa’s stay on the island, he would unveil the car in a private art gallery with over 150 Cuban designers, architects, and artists in attendance. A number of students were there as well, who expressed their interest in designing cars.
"From the passion in their eyes, I could see that DNA-wise, we are the same,” he said in an interview with Fortune, “If my family could escape the island and I could end up designing luxury cars in Japan, then they can do great things too."
The Infiniti Q60, meanwhile, features a biturbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and as much as 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts). From a standstill, it will hit 60 mph (96 kmh) in just 5.0 seconds.