1987 Yugo GV: Sub-12,000 Miles

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It’s hard to believe that Yugos still exist in any form, much less an example with under 12,000 miles. But here is living proof that even one of the most infamous cars in history can emerge as a “great survivor” – at least according to the seller of this 1987 GV model here on eBay. Bidding starts at just $238!

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Yugos were yet another example of a Malcolm Bricklin experiment that shook up the automotive landscape. Their reputation today hinges upon the unrest in Yugoslavia that torpedoed quality control and led to the company pulling out of the U.S. market. I’m not saying they were great cars, but for cheap transportation, they at least got the job done. If you’re pinching pennies today and need a new car, good luck paying anything less than $15,000.

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This example – despite having 11,993 miles – still appears fairly rough. It’s cosmetically beaten up and doesn’t run all that well, thanks to a leaking fuel pump and the master cylinder needing replacement. For some reason, the back seat has gone missing along with the package tray. I’m not sure how you lose those items on a car that’s been used so sparingly. Perhaps the original owner didn’t expect such a cramped interior once the trunk area was filled with groceries, or maybe he had a big dog.

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Yugo experts have opined that the later cars were screwed together a bit more carefully, and certainly the GVX is the most entertaining choice on the family tree. Regardless of your opinion of econoboxes, these cars still shook things up and provided access to a new car for lower-income buyers. When looking at the advertisement above, it makes me wonder: does the Yugo deserve a place in cheap-car history next to the Beetle and Model T?

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Comments

  1. JW

    These cars were the joke of our neighborhood back then, even the Pacer outweighed them in styling and comfort. IMO his starting bid is top dollar unless you love these things. Just my honest opinion for what it’s worth.

  2. MIkeG

    I fail to see how a car with only 11,993 miles could be in this condition, but whatever!

    • Andy B

      Ummm, because it’s a yugo?

    • YoungCrone

      Cause they all fell apart at 12K. :)

      I remember in like 1990 some punk friends of mine and I wanted to buy a runner for like 300 bucks and ‘partition’ it with different colors of paint for a ‘map’ and add those little red explosions like the news did whenever there was a battle or incident or something. :)

  3. KN

    $238 sounds like a fair price. About what it was worth in ’88.

  4. The Walrus

    I wonder if that starting bid is a tribute to the Saturday Night Live ‘commercial’ that was aimed at the Yugo advertisements of the day… It was ‘The Adobe’, a brand new car made out of clay that ‘finally breaks the $300 barrier’.

  5. cory

    Hard to believe it made it 12k miles. That’s a lot for a yugo.

  6. Matt Tritt

    You could own it and be the butt of your own jokes! ;-)

  7. Karl

    The Yugo and the Hyundai Excel were both introduced in 1986, and I well remember how they were welcomed by the (ignorant) mainstream press for being low-priced cars that a new (low) level of consumer could buy new instead of having to buy someone else’s used castoff. It didn’t take long for the poor schlubs to find out that they would have been far better off buying maiden aunt Minnie’s used Corolla instead. Yugo–deservedly–vanished from these shores, and Hyundai struggled mightily in the late ’80s and early ’90s to overcome the awful reputation that the Excel gave them. To their credit, they did persevere, but it was a couple of generations of subcompacts, and a name-change or two, before their sales recovered to the level of starry-eyed innocent 1986.

  8. D. King

    Find a copy of “The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History,” by Jason Vuic before you bid. I found it quite amusing.

  9. David Frank David Member

    What a terrible thing Zastava did to the Fiat 127/128. The Fiats weren’t much to begin with and they managed to make it worse. It was the Kosovo war and the sanctions against Yugoslavia that finally (and the bombing of the factory in Kragujevac by NATO didn’t help). It was the Walmart mentality that made Yugo possible. Cheaper must be better.

  10. Mike O'Handley

    My mother bought a Hyundai the first year they were sold in the U.S. She loved it. If someone hadn’t T-boned her she might still be driving it – she hates to change cars.
    I’ve used Yugos to make a point for years. I inspect homes for a living and my inspections are pretty far beyond normal scope of the SOP and reports are far more detailed than most. I call my inspections The School of the House.
    Folks call me up all the time to ask about price. Seems lots of folks think all home inspections are alike; so they’re looking for the cheapest inspector they can find. Lots of times they express surprise at the price of my service, which is at least $100 less per inspection than some of my best friends, and try to get me to come down a couple hundred more, ‘cuz that’s what some other knucklehead said he’d do it for.. I simply tell ’em:
    “There are Lexus inspectors and there are Yugo inspectors. You’ve called a Lexus inspector but you only want to pay what it costs to hire a Yugo inspector – someone that will be in and out in an hour and who will write a report that’s an embarrassment to the profession. If finding the cheapest inspector in town to inspect the biggest purchase of your life for you is that important to you, go ahead and hire a Yugo inspector. Just don’t be surprised if he/she misses something that ends up costing you the price of a Lexus.”
    It’s amazing how often that comparison turns the low ballers around and they end up booking the inspection.
    Thank you, Yugo, for producing such a monumental piece of – – – – – – -, and thank you Lexus for producing a car that makes my little comparison so easy for folks to understand and relate to. Without you I’d probably have lost a lot more business to the low ballers around here. That’s for sure.

  11. Charles

    Amazing that they could keep this car running long enough to log almost 12K miles.

  12. Barry T

    Buy this “car” and I am quite sure you will get lots of exercise pushing it back home.

  13. Barry T

    My son made the mistake of buying a Hyundai back then (against my advice) and the value of the car dropped faster than a rock in the water. Some drunk hit his parked Hyundai about 18 months after he bought it and the insurance company paid him about what he still owed on the piece of junk.

  14. Howard A Member

    I can’t think of any other car that got more flak than the Yugo. It really wasn’t a bad car, and somebody clearly drove this thing 112,000 miles ( no way it has 12k) If the integrity of the car is ok, I suppose it would be all right, but I wouldn’t stick any money in it, although, I’m sure SOMEONE has a pile of these somewhere. The movie “Drowning Mona” ( with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler) is a hilarious movie where everybody drives a Yugo.( watch it if you can)
    BTW, I had a Mitsubishi Precis ( Hyundai Excel) and it was a great car. Ran like a top, and got super mileage, until a deer rearranged the front end for me. Funny thing about cars in general, some have great luck, others the worst. Seems that’s across the board, no make is immune.

    • YoungCrone

      I think those Hyundais were like a lot of ‘lemon’ car models: most ended up off the road before their time, but a certain percentage of particular examples just had everything actually put together right and lasted a damn long time. Chevettes being an extreme example there: many didn’t outlive the warranty, but it seems they would live forever if they survived their first seven or so years. :)

  15. Mitch

    I was in the auto parts store one day. A guy comes in and says to the guy behind the counter “Hy, how about a gas cap for my Yugo?” The guy replies: Sounds like a fair trade to me!

  16. David

    My father bought Yugo for a commuter car. Never had a major issue with it. The Spark-O-Matic radio could heat the interior of the car. I was shocked by the amount of heat the radio would make. Another odd thing…. the recommended oil was 20/50

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