Conversation Starter: 18k Mile 1987 Yugo GV

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Okay, so, there have been more than a few Yugo featured on here over the years, however, this one caught our eyes when the seller bravely combined the words “Yugo” and “…runs and drives good…” in the same sentence, which you can see here on Craigslist out of Minnesota. 

Rather than re-state the story behind how these Zastava cars, from what was then Yugoslavia, made it to America with a new name, and subsequently fell flat on their faces, let’s just look at this one.

From the seller’s description, it has low miles, decent body and interior condition, was stored for years,  runs and drives…. yep, this one’s worth a look for anyone who wants something truly different than most everyone else at the car show, has an infinite amount of patience for constant tweaks, leaks, and repairs, or both. The seller says that it “…strikes a conversation everywhere I go…” and I believe it.

This year’s LeMons Rally: Retreat From Moscow saw TWO entered in the race, so I dare ask it: Would YOU be brave enough to take on such a challenge to daily or restore a Yugo?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. NotSure

    I am not brave enough to use as a daily driver or to restore one. Hell, I don’t even want to be around when the conversation starts!!

    Like 5
  2. Arrby

    They had to quit importing them because the crash test dummies refused to participate in the test.

    Like 8
  3. Buck Rekow

    I daily drive one. I love the thing. Reliable, simple, easy to work on. I’m lucky enough to have the 1300/5 speed. Zippy little thing. I’d buy another in a heartbeat.

    Like 11
  4. Derek Troy

    My Uncle bought a brand new tan 1988 Yugo. It had so many problems. Less than a year later, he traded it in for a brand new ’88 Grand Caravan.

    Like 1
  5. irocrobb

    In that first pic it almost looks like a couple bodies wrapped in plastic in the back seat. The Yugo was not popular around here and for that reason I am going to pass.

    Like 7
  6. ben dobreuenaski

    In the words of Jerry Sienfeld “YUGO TO THE HOSPITAL if you are ever in a wreck”

    Like 3
  7. Mark

    I loved the YUGO. Maybe because I was working at an insurance office 2 blocks down from the Dodge dealer that was selling them.

    I bet I wrote insurance on every one they sold new. About 25-30 cars in a several county shopping area.

    Like 2
  8. David Frank David FMember

    This Yugo should be a memorial to Leslie Ann Pluhar, who was blown off the Mackinac Bridge in 1989 in her Yugo. It can be really windy on that bridge, but her Yugo is the only car ever blown off. The import version of the Fiat 124 wasn’t much of a car and the Yugo version only improved the reputation.

    Like 5
    • That AMC Guy

      The Fiat 124 was a rear-drive model, you’re probably thinking of the Soviet-built Lada. (We kept getting threats that those would be sold in the U.S. but that never happened. They were however sold in Canada.)

      As I recall the Yugo is a combination of Fiat 127 and 128 features.

      Like 7
      • William D Rekow

        I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind the Niva.

        Like 1
      • Will Owen

        The Yugo platform is Fiat 128 with 6 or 8 inches sliced out of its length. If the build quality had been consistently better it would have been a very good deal. The single OHC engine is one of Lamprey’s best designs – I like it better than the twin-cam 124 engine – and when put together properly is a good 100K-plus unit.

        Like 0
    • Stu

      Urban Myth. It was determined that the car did not get blown off the bridge, it was driver error. A tragedy in any case, but not the car’s fault.

      Like 2
      • Louis Rugani

        Thanks. You’re right; all drivers were warned that day. And it’s not the only vehicle to have gone over.

        Like 1
  9. Miguel

    It looks like the Yugo has been added to the approved list of cars to be listed on Barn Finds.

    Every Firebird, Mustang and now every Yugo that is for sale gets listed.

    Like 3
  10. Kenneth Carney

    My late wife and I test-drove one in ’87.
    Jim Adams Ford in Lakeland, Fl. was
    selling them for $240 down and $99 a
    month. Boy, what a POS! Our tester
    had brick-hard seats, a tranny that kept
    popping out of gear, and was so underpowered that I saw the gas gauge
    head speedily towards E just climbing
    a small hill! Other problems included
    a large wad of wire hanging down under
    the dash that also contained the fuse box, outrageous cabin noise, and A/C
    that didn’t work–even though the car
    was a demo and was supposed to
    show a prospective buyer just how good
    the product was supposed to be. The
    capper came when we started talking
    price. Just how the hell did the price
    balloon from $3,990 to nearly $9,000
    with $400 a month car payments?!!
    On a Yugo….really?!! That was in ’87
    and I think the dealer pulled a bait and
    switch on the buying public with this
    car. Most of the ones that did sell were
    back row beaters on buy-pay-here lots
    within 6 months! Only in Polk County
    Fl. did you see such a thing! Later on,
    I worked with a woman from Polk City
    that had the nerve to use one on a paper
    route! She seemed not to have a problem
    with hers, but she had a pile of spare parts as she had 6 or more of them on
    her farm outside of town. Might take a
    shell and make an EV out of it. Who knows, it may be more reliable than
    the original.

    Like 4
    • William D Rekow

      You have your facts mixed up. There’s literally no way the fuse box could ‘hang from under the dash’. The fuse box is in the engine compartment next to the heater box.

      Like 3
  11. 8banger Dave MikaMember

    Well now, ALL cars have their shortcomings, and this truncated Rabbit certainly has a reputation. So much that it has become a sort of icon. Why not?

    Like 0
  12. bob l

    I’ll just leave this here, a great article on a yugo racer from NJ that did a lot of his own custom work.

    Like 2
    • Blue Collar Man

      When you go to read the article, 99cent fee, or subscribe needed, Just use the headline as a search and you’ll get several other articles for free.
      The Yugo Drag Racer in the article, Dave Benton, stopped in at Midwest-Bayless Italian Auto a couple months ago, just to see the shop, a Fiat/Lancia only resto shop. He built and Drag raced his Yugo when he was old enough to be the Father of 98% of the people at the track. Interesting young old man!

      Like 2
  13. John T.

    Check out the Stand-Up-Comedy in the presentation by the honorable BF scribe Scotty G. this past October on a 1988 Yugo at the following link:

    It gets even better in the comments section courtesy of Big Mike … I still laugh like crazy when I read it.

    Like 1
  14. Coventrycat

    I’d rather see 10 more clapped out Yugos than 1 more Grand National. Please.

    Like 11
    • Supernova72

      I was just thinking there are a lot of GN’s showing up lately. Where’s the love for my 1978 Chevy Monza?

      Like 3
      • dweezilaz

        Count me in for that one, SuperNova72. I’ll take a notchback with a 2.5 Iron Duke.

        Any Canadian 70s Firenzas or 80s Dacias ever pop up on Barn Finds ?

        Like 0
  15. Adam

    That’s high mileage on a Yugo!

    Like 1
  16. Gay Car Nut Tacoma

    I remember when I first heard of the Yugo. I’ve never seen one in person, but I’ve read about them in magazines such as Car and Driver, Motor Week (TV), and Consumer Reports. It debuted around the same time as the Hyundai Excel. I thought the Hyundai was better looking, and better built than that of the You Go (joke). These days, you seem to see more Hyundai cars than you see Yugo.

    Like 0
  17. WayneCMember

    When the Yugo came out, I and my best friend owned an auto supply, so we knew which cars seemed to have the most breakdowns and needed parts. We checked the Yugo out, and considering the price, we were fairly impressed at what one would get for the price. My buddy said that he thought he could gopet 100,000 miles out of one. When the Yugo stopped being imported, he bought one at a large discount, as people wouldn’t buy them and there were quite a few on the lots.

    To make a long story short, he did indeed get well over 100,000 miles on this poor Yugo until a young girl on her way to school one morning, demolished it
    My buddy had very minor injuries but up until then, he had no problems with the car.
    All he did was to be very religious in basic maintainence. If I at the time didn’t have 3 small kids and a very fat wife,I would have bought one myself.

    Like 3
  18. Karl

    Good grief I have seen more of this junk on this site than I ever saw of these cars in real life when they were being sold? It’s like they are falling out of the woodwork?

    Like 1

    I really miss mine. Really want the ragtop one.

    Like 0
    • Blue Collar Man

      A Cabrio went thru Barrett Jackson Auto Auction about 2 years ago, Mint, low low miles, $10,000.00. If you find one that needs work, for cheap, worthwhile as a fixer upper, so you don’t bury yourself.

      Like 0
  20. Paul

    Kinda reminds me of my 78 Mustang II…although I’m sure the Yugo had a much better build quality and was more reliable

    Like 0
  21. Bob McK

    A friend actually bought one of these new. Had endless problems and traded it in after a year. The dealer gave him $500. for it and he was glad to see it go.

    Like 0
  22. Phil Parmelee

    My wife and I went to test drive back when they first came out. Oddly enough, the salesman drove us with me in the back seat. I can’t remember now what the reasoning was, though the guy was quite tall and maybe said he couldn’t fit in the rear? Still odd regardless. Anyway, got home to the arrival of my Consumer Reports magazine with their test drive of the Yugo inside. That sealed it for me: Nogo!

    Like 0
  23. Louis Rugani

    Mine’s approaching 500,000 miles. Gotta change the timing belt every 40,000 miles and use 89-octane fuel.

    Like 2
  24. Will Owen

    I did not have my 128 (same engine) long enough to stack up a ton of miles … but I did see a 40K+ engine that had grenaded when the owner’s son took it out and redlined it in second. The mechanics were baffled, until it was discovered that the odometer was on its second tour! And very probably on maybe its second timing belt, since nobody at the dealership had a clue about intervals. At least they never told me about any. This was The Car Store in Nashville.

    Like 0
  25. DM

    Still ugly cars but i would drive one just to be asked why do you have that little car (kind of reminds me of a Smart car lol)

    Like 0
  26. Louis Rugani

    The problem was that Yugo/Zastava didn’t charge enough for their cars, and promoted their cheapest models hardest. Some people then considered it a “disposable car” (!) with the implication that maintenance wasn’t a priority. Oil levels weren’t even checked, let alone changed, and the interference-engine timing-belt recommendation was forgotten. One Milwaukee dealer told of a customer, angry when her abused car finally quit, who said she bought a low-priced car to avoid expensive maintenance.

    Like 0
  27. Chris Kennedy

    The neat thing about this car, it doubles as a coffin!

    Like 0

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