Best Of The Worst: 1991 Yugo GV Plus

The owner of this 1991 Yugo GV describes it as one of the much-improved later cars. Having said that, the build quality and reliability of the earlier examples was so bad, that it really only left one direction for either of these parameters to go. It is an interesting looking car, and if a Yugo is on your “must-have” list, you will find this one located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $3,300, but he will consider offers.

The Yugo has undergone a repaint at some point in the past, and even if it isn’t the most attractive of combinations, it is nothing if not distinctive. The predominantly mauve and grey color scheme has been nicely(?) contrasted by pink stripes on the hood, with the top finished in a combination of broad red, white, and blue stripes. If that isn’t enough color for you, the top also features a large pink star in the center. All of this has been applied over the top of the car’s original red paint, which is in evidence in several locations around the vehicle. The owner states that the Yugo has virtually no rust, so I assume that there might be a small amount somewhere. He also states that the car has suffered no accident damage, and I have to agree with his claim that the car seems to be quite straight. I’ve been puzzling over exactly what is running below the rocker on the Yugo’s passenger side, and I have a funny feeling that it’s a side-pipe. If it is, then it’s a first for me! The owner also says that the car will be supplied with a set of stock bumpers and Fiat X1/9 steel wheels. I’m not sure if this is in addition to what is currently attached to the car, or instead of.

The “interesting” theme continues inside the Yugo, which is a real mixed bag. The rear seat is original, as is the driver’s seat. The passenger seat began its life in a Mazda, while the door trims have been finished in a custom grey cloth. What remains of the interior trim has survived relatively well, especially by Yugo standards. The car has been fitted with an aftermarket CD player, and it is given that luxury feel by the inclusion of air conditioning. This currently doesn’t blow cold, so it will need attention. Speaking of things that blow, the blower motor for the heater only does this on occasion, and it is believed that this is due to a faulty electrical connection somewhere. In addition, the horn doesn’t work, and while the speedometer does, the same can’t be said of the odometer.

If I told you that the majority of the good news surrounding this little car was in relation to its mechanical health, would you believe me? It is, honest! The car features the 1,290cc fuel-injected 4-cylinder engine, which sends its 67 hp to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. The owner says that the engine fires-up easily, it feels strong, doesn’t burn oil, and the car drives really well. So far, so good. Recently, the fuel tank was flushed and cleaned, and a new fuel pump was fitted. Also on the list was a rebuild of the front brake calipers, along with new brakes hoses, new rear brake shoes, and new wheel cylinders. The little car should now stop as well as it goes.

There have been more jokes made about the poor old Yugo than almost any car in automotive history. Some of these have been well earned, while some of them have been just plain cruel. I’m not going to add to the collection, but I will be interested to see how many of our readers would not only consider owning one but would be serious enough about it to consider hitting the BIN button.


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  1. alphasud Member

    Last year Yugo’s have Bosch Mono Motronic fuel injection which made the engines a lot more reliable. Basically a Fiat engine. Worked at an Alfa dealer and the other Alfa tech had a Yugo the he installed a 1300 Fiat engine with side draft Webers. Man that car would scoot! Only proble was torque steer was so bad you had to counter steer at the same time throttle was applied or you would leave the road!

    Like 4
    • BlueCollarMan

      All Yugo cars are a take off of the Fiat 126 and 127 which were never imported to the USA. Yugo bought the rights from Fiat, and very little I can think of that isn’t available from Fiat sources.
      You have to know the Yugo was built on tech that was from the 1960’s.

    • BlueCollarMan

      On Yugos that had some age and miles, I drove one once that actually scared me 1/2 to death with violent torque steer at sudden full throttle in lower gears. Found out the chassis sheet metal box that supports the radiator support, and has a tie in with the lower control arm locator (sway bar) was split horizontally at the top pf the box. Was a split that would open up on accel, and close down at rest, so tightly was hard to spot it.

  2. Bob

    From Consumer Reports around 1986 or 1987:

    “A used Yugo is a bad deal at any price.”

    Like 4
  3. Coventrycat

    The wheels are worth more than the car.

    Like 1
    • TinCanSailor

      So is a full tank of gas! :)

      I worked on one of these years ago helping a friend install an aftermarket radio. Under the carpet, in lieu of jute backing or some sort of underlayment, it was about 20 pages of Yugoslavian newspaper. It probably worked great as insulation and sound deadening, but that car would have been an inferno had it caught fire!

      Like 6
  4. Jules Member

    Dan Neil, former car critic for the LA Times, once described the Yugo as “the Mona Lisa of bad cars… it had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint. Interestingly, in a car where ‘carpet’ was listed as a standard feature, the Yugo had a rear-window defroster — reportedly to keep your hands warm while you pushed it.”

    Like 3
  5. sir mike

    It’s so darn cute…what’s not to like??

    Like 5
    • FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

      Everything, sir mike.

      “much-improved later cars.” Now that’s funny.

      Like 3
  6. CanuckCarGuy

    Custom paint, updated interior, aftermarket rims…what’s not to like?

    Like 3
  7. LARRY

    No..just no

    Like 4
  8. Matthew Middleton

    Put that thing in a skip where it belongs.

  9. Mike S

    I went into the auto parts store and said, “Give me a set of spark plugs and a gas cap for my Yugo.” The countermand replied, “ You gotta give me more than that!”

    Like 1
  10. Richard Martin

    The only car that I know that flies off the Mackinaw Bridge and kills the driver!

    • BlueCollarMan

      One Yugo car only gets blown off a bridge, and you assume they all would do that? Ever noticed the Yugo and early VW Rabbits are twins? The car brand didn’t have anything to do with it.

  11. David Ulrey

    Maybe just maybe in 10 or 15 years it might pull the Buy It Now Price because it will be even more of an oddity and more of us that remember these new will be dead.

    Like 3
  12. Dr_Steve

    I had one of these back in the day. Never a problem with the drivetrain. One winter we put a 300-lb aircraft tailwheel weight in the back to help with driving in deep lake-effect snow. After that it was virtually impossible to get stuck—the car would simply trundle through roads deemed impassable, (slowly) rolling past cars that had gone off the road or were otherwise marooned.

    Of course the hatchback lock broke the following spring, and we couldn’t get that weight out. I sold the car the following year…with that weight still in it.

    Like 1
    • DennisW

      OF COURSE putting a 300 pound (!!!) weight in the rear of a FWD car would REDUCE drive traction, not increase it. Does anybody at this site know WTF they are doing or even talking about??? Dear God …..

      Like 1
      • BlueCollarMan

        The early Yugos were 1100ccs with a Carb, and 4speed transmission. These could touch maybe 85mph on flat ground.
        The later ones were 1300ccs with fuel injection, and 5 speed trans, capable of cruise speed at 85, with 4th gear available for hills or passing as needed. 100mph on flat ground is no problem.
        All the problems were usually related to assembly by inexperienced factory workers. Later items usually the owners were at fault, like little or no maintenance. Especially failure to replace the cam belt at 30K miles. You buy a cheap car, you might not be wealthy, with no money to do the maintenance. I’m on my 6th Yugo, a 11,790 mile survivor I bought from an estate sale several years ago. I had 2 at the time, decent shape, but my 1987 GV was super clean, and didn’t need the others to just sit around.

        Like 1
  13. buck rogers

    i had one of these. totaled it when i hit a squirrel.

    Like 1

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