Fernando, one of Havana’s top mechanics, bets his life’s savings on restoring a ’58 Chevy Bel-Air but his assistant, Roberto, thinks he’s crazy. Meanwhile, cabbie Demetrio’s ’53 Oldsmobile breaks down and his family must scour Havana to find a rare part.
Dayan starts an apprenticeship with Havana’s best mechanic, Ricardo, but when they work on a ’59 Cadillac, the job nearly goes up in flames. Demetrio decides to restore his Oldsmobile, but when his “friend” sells the engine, his car is left in pieces.
Fernando and Roberto discover the Bel-Air’s crankshaft and pistons are damaged and nearly impossible to replace in Cuba. Demetrio buys a new engine, but the oil-pan gets cracked. As his sons try to start it, they learn that their father is out of money.
When Demetrio’s welder flakes again, he enlists another mechanic and learns that all the work done on his car must be re-done. Ricardo is disappointed by Dayan’s sloppy work on the ’59 Austin Healey, but gives him one last chance to redeem himself.
All of Cuba watches President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announce that the U.S. and Cuba are resuming diplomatic relations. Michel tells his father, Demetrio, shocking news of his own: he’s leaving Cuba to study in Mexico on a scholarship.
When Demetrio skips a baseball game in order to work on his car, he discovers he needs a new transmission bar. A parts dealer can help, but for a price. Meanwhile, Ricardo’s friend from Miami arrives with a suitcase full of parts in the nick of time.
With two weeks to go Roberto and Fernando can’t get the Bel-Air’s engine to start. Ricardo has hand-crafted aluminum pieces for his Austin-Healey, but they can’t be welded without Argon gas. Demetrio’s move to get his car painted backfires.
With one week to go, Demetrio gets his car painted, but a thunderstorm threatens to ruin the paint job. Ricardo fights with his painter over the car’s new color, and Fernando’s Bel-Air continues to stall. Will anyone make it to the club’s ceremony?