Best One Left? 1989 Yugo GV

This 1989 Yugo GV is a sad sight sitting in this workshop. It had been in hibernation for eighteen years before the current owner spotted it. He discovered that once he dug below the surface, this little gem was a solid and rust-free survivor in sound mechanical health. He has revived it, given it a bit of a birthday, and had intended to retain it in his collection. Sadly, changing circumstances mean that this is no longer an option. Therefore, he has listed the Yugo for sale here on eBay. It is located in Summerfield, North Carolina, and while the owner has set the auction to open at $3,990, there are currently no bids. There are twenty-seven people watching the listing, so you have to wonder if one of them is preparing to make the first move.

The poor old Yugo has been the butt of more jokes than almost any other vehicle in automotive history. Of course, our British readers may argue that the Lada Riva holds that crown, but I suspect that it is a call too close to make. When the owner found this little gem, it had been sitting for eighteen years. It would’ve been easy to pass it over, but he recognized that this is a rust-free survivor in remarkable condition for its age. Once he had towed it home, he set to work giving it the once over before returning it to the road. As you can see from the first photo, the car originally wore Aspen White paint, but the owner decided that it deserved something more bold and daring. Therefore, he treated the GV to a repaint in a shade close to the company’s Flame Red. He took the trouble to continue the new color into the door frames and other areas but elected to leave the engine bay untouched. This was probably a wise decision because it would’ve entailed pulling the engine and everything else under the hood. That has the potential to open a rather nasty can of worms, so this is a case where discretion was undoubtedly the better part of valor. However, his eye for detail where the two colors meet in this area isn’t great, so the buyer might want to add the finishing touches to make a better overall impression. The Yugo’s presentation isn’t bad, but the new paint does exhibit some orange-peel. It may be worth the buyer performing a cautious wet sand and a buff to reduce this to a more acceptable level. It isn’t that bad, but it could be better. It seems that the owner is a man with grim determination. To lift the overall presentation, he sourced a new set of hubcaps. He didn’t take the easy way out by popping into his nearest NAPA. He managed to find a new set in Serbia, and these are what grace this little car’s wheels. If ever we needed a demonstration of his dedication, that’s it right there. The exterior plastic is in remarkable condition for its age, while there are no issues with the glass.

When the Yugo GV was new, it was the cheapest passenger vehicle available in the North American market. In a demonstration of consistency, it also happened to be the slowest. The engine bay houses an 1,116cc OHC four-cylinder engine that pumps out 54hp. All of those ponies have to go somewhere, so they head to the road via the front wheels and a four-speed manual transmission. At 1,742lbs, this could never be classed as a heavyweight. This is good because can you imagine how far the 19.6-second ¼-mile ET could balloon if the company had added more weight. With the pedal held to the floor on flat ground, it should eventually wind its way to 86mph. Leaving all jokes and sarcastic remarks aside, the news is pretty positive when we begin to delve into this classic’s mechanical health. When the owner purchased the car, he was prepared for the fact that the engine would need an overhaul. He sourced larger BORGO pistons and piston rings to complete this work, but that’s when he received a pleasant surprise. He conducted a compression test and found that all cylinders were within a few pounds of their original specifications. Therefore, those shiny new pistons remain in their boxes, and he includes these and a Hayne’s Repair Manual in the deal. That doesn’t mean that the GV has missed out on its share of TLC. He pulled and cleaned the fuel tank, replaced the lower control arms, and treated the car to new front discs, new ball joints, and a new muffler. The one item on this Yugo that doesn’t work is the odometer. It shows 3,589 miles, but the owner readily admits that this is wrong. He believes that the truth rests somewhere around 20,000 miles, and he bases this figure on some reasonable deductive thinking. When he purchased the vehicle, it still wore its original Tigar tires. He said that these had plenty of tread on them, but he chose to replace them because they were badly rotted. His logic is that if the car had retained its original tires, its actual mileage couldn’t be that high. There’s no way to confirm this, but it seems to be a reasonable assumption. All of that work hasn’t been in vain because he says the car runs and drives like new.

Yugo interior trim is renowned for what I refer to as “shortgevity.” This is the complete opposite of longevity and indicates that it would often crumble and break pretty quickly. Finding a Yugo today with everything original and intact can be a battle, but that is what is on offer here. There are no issues with the upholstered surfaces, no signs of deterioration on either the dash or carpet and all of the plastic pieces are intact. The original owner even splashed the cash for the factory radio/cassette player. This works perfectly, as does almost everything inside this car. The exception is the odometer, but we’ve already covered that.

We’ve seen a few Yugos over the years here at Barn Finds, and they are often sad and sorry sights that are on their last legs. That’s where this one is different. I’m not sure if it is the best one in existence today, but its condition is well above average. The buyer could attend to a couple of minor details to improve its appearance and finish, but none of those issues would be classed as urgent. With the colder weather fast approaching, that would be the perfect opportunity for the buyer to lock themselves away in their workshop. It would provide plenty of time to fix the odometer and neaten the paint issues under the hood. Once the sun shines brightly once again, the Yugo would be ready to hit the road for a spot of head-turning fun. Does that prospect tempt you?


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  1. sir_mike

    Nothing wrong with Yugo’s as long as you treat them for what they are…A city car.Not meant to spend hours on the highway.Plus it’s a Fiat so Abarth parts will improve the power and fun factor.

    Like 7
    • Motorcityman Member

      Nothing wrong with them? Really?
      How about cheap thin plastic interiors with pieces that LITERALLY fall apart when u use them!
      I won’t even mention the horrible quality/reliability of the drive train!

      Like 5
  2. Ahzweepai

    That orange peel is worse than a C8 Corvette.

    Like 7
  3. Cadmanls Member

    It’s wearing a temp tag from Ohio dated 8-22-2021 before the paint. Not to sure about the storyline.

    Like 3
    • Bellingham Fred

      8-22-21 is the expiration date. How long are they good for? 30 days? 60 days? 90 at most. That means this is a quick flip. Could be done easily on a reality TV show, but in real life, maybe, if it all fell into place.

      Like 1
  4. Jonathan A Green

    My father in law had a service station in Metro Detroit. One day, he had a Trabant there. I begged him to sell it to me, it would have been the hit of the Dream Cruise. He adamantly refused to sell it to me, because it was a festering pile of s— and no joke was so funny as to warrant actually owning a Trabant. I think the Yugo would be just as funny…

    Like 4
  5. CCFisher

    Being the best Yugo left is kind of like being the best cow pie in the pasture.

    Like 18
    • Lance

      Not to mention stinking the worst

      Like 1
    • Twinstick

      Or, the cleanest turd in the outhouse.

      Like 1
  6. Engident

    I was wondering when Yugo would rise to the proverbial Resale Red status. But I still don’t think it has.

    Like 5
  7. Frank Sumatra

    “The poor old Yugo has been the butt of more jokes than almost any other vehicle in automotive history.”

    I will vote for Trabant in that category

  8. Hey, Let Go Of My Yugo

    Best way to keep maintaining one drive-able is never drive them.

    Then your not stranded on the side of the road 👍

    Good luck with sale 😉

    Like 3
  9. Jonathan A Green

    As a Trabant follow up, my father in law (the mechanic) is from Eastern Europe. He told me you’d wait forever for your Trabant to arrive once you bought it, and when you’d get it, it would have little tiny burns on it. The cars were shipped on coal-burning trains, and the embers would land on the cars, which had bodies made out of glorified cardboard…

    Like 2
    • Lou Rugani

      No. The bodies had the same steel thickness as Volvo and Saab.

  10. Rick In Oregon

    Russia and the former eastern block countries were always quick to grab Fiat’s leftover tooling and keep pumping them out, but the fact is they used inferior materials and rarely if ever improved on the designs, simply making an old Fiat, an older outdated Fiat with a new name. As noted above, sure you could toss all the Abarth parts you can find on one of these, but then you likely to kill the little crappy car even quicker because they were so poorly made.

    Like 2
  11. Steve Clinton

    “Yugo GV is a sad sight” You got THAT ritght!

    Like 2
  12. Psychofish2

    $3990 opening bid.
    Seller has a sense of humor. That’s the original list price when the Yugo first hit the market. More by ’89 of course.
    Too funny.

    Like 7
    • bucky66

      Even funnier is that he claims he paid $4,000 for it plus everything he put into it. That might be the worst paint job I’ve ever seen.

  13. Cav427

    Consumer reports tested these back when the came out. A 2 and 1/2 mph rear bumper collision cost $2,500 to repair. I will not say anything more out of repect to those that may have fond memories of these Yugoslavian vehicles.

    Like 1
  14. Cav427

    Couldn’t resist this: A piston change needed after 20,000 miles??? Wow.

    Like 2
    • Jimmy Novak

      Sure, for those who believed the common falsehood that the cars were “disposable” and never changed the oil … or even *checked* it! … let alone the timing-belt.

      Like 1
      • Motorcityman Member

        Nice assumption there Jimmy……

  15. Dave

    I spent the month of August, 1983, in Yugoslavia as part of a Westinghouse team performing repairs and upgrades to the nuclear power plant in Krsko, Slovenia. When they found out that I was a Slovak from Pittsburgh they treated me like the prodigal son. I still recall it fondly.
    The country was beginning a campaign to change its image when Tito died. He was the glue that held the republics together and kept them from fighting amongst themselves.
    They felt that hosting the Winter Olympics and producing cars for the export market were the way to go. Unfortunately, we all know what happened.
    I sometimes wonder if everyone I met survived the war…
    Fiat sold some hot cars over there. Our rental car, a Fiat with a five-speed that no one by myself could drive, took premium fuel only and punched way above its weight class. I never figured out how to get the hood open to see what was under there. Too bad Yugo didn’t get that car instead of Fiat’s bottom feeder.

    Like 4
  16. John

    One question…why? The new wheel covers are worth more than the car.

  17. jw

    Hahaha! The infamous BF “Nicest one left?”
    on a total POS!

    Like 4
  18. Bick Banter

    A sure Radwood winner, if you could find a way to push it there

    Like 2
  19. Caozman

    There’s no such thing as “Best One Left” when it comes to a Yugo. You know what they say, Yugo, but you’ll need to take a different car…

    Like 5
  20. Bob Mck Member

    Perhaps the bidding should start at $39.90 or better yet donate it to the museum that caters to cars that never should have been built.

    Like 2
  21. Mike

    My friend’s “best” joke which he told to everybody was “that car over there’s? Oh, they call that the Yugo Screwyourself”.

    Us kids thought it was HIGH-LARIOUS.

    Like 2
  22. Robbie R.

    Better save this car in case they decide to film “Drowning Mona II”

    Like 1
  23. CJM

    Your “best one left” proposition is instantly rebutted by the horrible red repaint on this originally white car. I don’t know what is crazier- paying 4k for a Yugo with major mechanical issues or repainting a car with a relatively decent factory paint job in the wrong color with a rattle can! Single stage factory white paint will pretty much last forever and look great with an occasional buff job. Who could possibly think It is looks better with this horrible paint job. Whoever did the paint job should be tarred and feathered. I could get a far better result with a 1 dollar Walmart rattle can of Lacquer. Even a Yugo deserves better than that.

    Like 6
    • jwaltb

      Not to mention repainting over dents!

      Like 2
  24. Troy

    It going to need a timing belt soon and Rock auto is currently out of stock personally I think it would make a better football in a demolition derby

    Like 1
  25. Sam Shive

    yard art

    • Bick Banter

      It’s definitely something you often pick up in the yard.

      Like 2
  26. Matt C

    Lest we should forget the SNL commercial , stating that the Yugo was and overpriced car. The “Adobe” was much more affordable at the low price of $179!

    Like 5
    • jwaltb

      That was great! Thx.

      Like 1
  27. angliagt angliagt Member

    I think these were called Yugo 55’s.
    Recommended that you don’t take it over 55.

    • nlpnt


      Like 1
  28. Patrick Sauriol

    Check out a movie called Drowning Mona. Danny DeVito, Bette Middler, Jamie Lee Curtis. Everyone drives a Yugo.

  29. chrlsful

    nice for a farmer or city dweller @ 5 – 8K mi a yr.

    What’s the equivalent cost equal in today’s dollar? (9K$?).
    2, 3K$ is a reasonable ask (isn’t that “anything that runs good” & w/o heavy maintenance for the next 15, 20K mi)?

  30. bucky66

    Bid is up to $4,494 and 3 people have bid. Reserve has not been met.
    Somebody has to have it.

  31. Motorcityman Member

    “Someone has to have it”
    Better them than me!!

    Like 1
  32. jokacz

    It’s just a Fiat.

    Fiats are junk.

    What’s the surprise?

    Like 1
  33. Cav427

    Very rare car, 1/2 dissolved in the rain, the other 1/2 rusted before they could be recalled.

  34. heviarti

    I’ve got two Yugo GVXs. They’re as reliable as my dodge with a 225 slant six. The only thing you prove when you call them terrible is that you’ve never owned one. Mine do 50 miles a day, six days a week, to and from work. They’re simple and easy to work on. Carbureted. No BS. keep the oil and timing belt changed… They’ll treat you good.

    Like 3
    • Motorcityman Member

      There’s a reason they cost $4,000 when New……and it wasn’t because they were good cars!

      • Jimmy Novak

        You might be on to something there. Yugos should have cost more from the outset. They gambled on Americans being able to recognize a good deal, not understanding that people try to justify their sour-grapes / “too good to be true” suspicions so as not to feel they’d actually missed out on something.

        Like 2
  35. thomas bowers

    I recall the marketing campaign for these cars had some ads targeted at car guys, basically to use your Yugo as your daily and keep the Porsche for the weekend. I wondered then, and still do, how anyone who loved cars enough to have something nice could ever actually want to drive a Yugo?

  36. Motorcityman Member

    Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy……”cost more from the onset”??
    They weren’t successful at the cheaper price point HOW could they succeed being more expensive!!??
    You’re not in marketing r u Jimmy?? 😁

  37. bucky66

    Now at $6,200 with a day to go. Since $5,000 everybody has dropped out except two. Unbelievable.

    • Motorcityman Member

      PT Barnum said it best…..”There’s a sucker born every minute”

  38. Jimmy Novak

    Barnum never said that, Mister Anonymous, which says a lot about your beliefs on cars that you never owned. And Yugo was a victim of the civil war and NATO, not poor sales, and they’re still making cars for America. Keep thinking ’em up, Motormou …er, Motorcityman.

    Like 2
    • Motorcityman Member

      Answer me this Mr. Marketing Guru……how many automotive awards did the YUGO win?? Since u think they’re suck quality cars they MUST have won quite a few accolades from the automotive world right???
      U should do stand up!!😆

  39. Motorcityman Member

    Oh and Jimmy I know people who regretfully owned YUGOS and there were countless complaints on the cars falling apart….window cranks falling off during use, windows off track, they were one of the cheapest made vehicles of all time! You’re living in a fantasy world if u deny that!!

  40. Jimmy Novak

    There are those with shallow lives who try to fill that hollow by posting irrelevant comments to feel controlling and important, often when under the influence of alcohol. I ask those who have no direct experience with featured cars or any intelligent or informed interest to go elsewhere.

    Like 1
    • Motorcityman Member

      And don’t forget those whose panties r in a wad and they can’t take some ribbing…….and I Love the u don’t agree with me so u shouldn’t post here attitude.

  41. Lou Rugani

    Rambler began in 1950 as a compact luxury convertible with all the niceties as standard equipment, a brilliant move which affixed itself in the public mentality as a prestige car, the price-leader models coming later. Yugo gambled on pushing its low-end GV price leaders at the very start, with its more-upscale GVL, GVX and Cabrio added later … the same mistake made by Henry J, Crosley and others that never could shake the first impressions they made in the marketplace.

    Like 2

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