Last Gasp: 1991 Yugo GV Plus

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For a car that has been the butt of a few (million) jokes over the last three decades or more, Yugo has only had one recall in the US and has no complaints and no investigations on file, according to the NHTSA website. That isn’t to say that this 1991 Yugo GV Plus will be as reliable as your Camry or Malibu is, but hey, we take our victories when and where we can. This blue Yu can be found here on Craigslist in Des Plaines, Illinois with an asking price of $2,200. Thanks to Roger for submitting the tip on this Yugo!

And they say that Kirk Douglas has a strong jaw. By now, most of us know that GV in Yugo-speak stands for Great Value. And, any time that a car dealer gives away a free Yugo with the purchase of a new Olds Toronado, that’s a great value. At least that’s what happened in my hometown in the late-1980s.

This 1991 Yugo GV has an added bonus: it’s a Plus! For the love of  Zastava Automobiles, what the heck is a Plus? As a big fan of fuel-injection, that’s your answer. Well, it’s more of a factor of being a 1991 model than anything. The 1991 models also included nicer seats, a bigger gas tank, a more ergonomic steering wheel angle, and an available automatic transmission. The seller says that this Yugo GV Plus “only has 34K miles and was used as a daily driver a few years ago. Besides the dent in rear panel shown in photos this car is in good shape.”

Thankfully this car has a manual transmission which should be a 5-speed. Automatics were available in 1991, Yugos last full year in the US market. Even fuel-injection and a convertible model didn’t help keep the company afloat, it was too little too late. There are no engine photos but this one should have a 1.3L OHC inline-four with Bosch multi-port electronic fuel-injection and 67 hp. I like Yugos, mainly for the unusual factor. It’s the same with a Trabant, I can’t believe that I haven’t owned one of those yet either. Maybe if I’m a good boy, Santa will bring me one of each. Are there any Yugo fans out there?

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    A Yugo wasn’t worth $2,200 when it was new.

    Like 23
  2. Bob C.

    Omg, another Yugo?

    Like 3
    • P

      $2,200?
      You’ve got a better chance of seeing Paul Lynde JUNIOR.

      Like 15
      • Miguel

        I wonder how many people got that joke.

        Like 6
      • Peter

        please explain

        Like 0
  3. David P. Reeves

    My mother did local television commercials for my con-man uncle-in-law (married her sister) when Yugos were new. She made two different ones, the first in 1988 and the second in 1990. If I knew how to transfer the VHS tape to the Internet, I’d share it with y’all.

    Like 11
    • Will

      Walmart could probably handle that task for you. I would like to see it.

      Like 3
      • David P. Reeves

        I’ll look in to that if I can find it!

        Like 6
      • David P. Reeves

        Rats! The Walmart closest to me with a photo center said their VCR converter was broken! (I think that they just don’t want to deal with the hassle)

        Like 0
      • Rick A. LoeraMember

        David, you can also try Costco, Sam’s Club, CVS or a Walgreens. Whoever happens to be in your area. They do the transfers. Walgreens did mine.

        Like 2
  4. Robert S

    If I’m not mistaking, Yugo’s we’re $1995 new. I’m thinking more like $22.00.

    Like 5
    • dweezilaz

      $3995.

      Like 4
  5. AMCFAN

    These were certainly the butt of many jokes. Simply put it was a car for cheap people or poor. Having one would certainly advertise you are either one or the other.

    I have read a lot of comments from people outside the US that had great service with these cars. Because someone is poor doesn’t mean they have a right to skip routine maintenance.

    With some detail and a set of tuner rims and exhaust. I would rock it.

    What fun you would have at cars and coffee. It would be neat to count the people who would walk by and NOT have anything to say about it.

    Maybe the Mopar guys will embrace it since it is really a FIAT

    Like 11
  6. CanuckCarGuy

    Props to Malcolm Bricklin for the first Subaru… but the Bricklin SV-1 and Yugo more than cast a shadow over that achievement. In Canada, the Yugo ran with Skoda and Lada in the race for the bottom of the heap.

    Like 4
    • dweezilaz

      The Subaru 360 Bricklin imported was no prize.

      Like 2
  7. Coventrycat

    Yugo first, I insist.

    Like 2
  8. Will

    Regardless of whether or not it survived in the U.S. market it was cheap to produce and sold else where. War killed the Yugo.

    Like 5
  9. Steve A

    Only had one recall because they weren’t around long enough for the rest of them to catch up!!!

    Like 5
  10. Michael

    Back in 1986 they were advertised for $3995.00.

    Like 1
    • davew833

      Yes, they undercut the then-new Hyundai Excel by $1000. Which would YOU rather have?

      Like 2
      • grant

        The first Hyundai Excel was just about as bad really. Difference was Hyundai learned quick and started making a pretty decent car relatively quickly.

        Like 7
      • JoeNYWF64

        Can’t remember seeing a Hyundai Excel for sale here on barnfinds.
        They sold a TON of them! – good lookin car too – but i can’t find any on ebay either – odd.
        What was wrong with them?
        Did they have control arm or strut tower rust like on geo metros, effectively sending them to the junkyard?
        BTW, i bet lots of “winners” got burned with some of those cars on early Let’s make a Deal & even Classic Concentration.
        PS – ck out the Paul Lynde show on antenna tv on saturdays – lasted just 1 season tho, but i think it’s very very funny.

        Like 0
      • PRA4SNW

        True, haven’t seen any Excel postings here and I wouldn’t mind seeing some.
        Oh no, what have I done! LOL!

        Like 0
  11. Scooter

    Yu crash, Yugo.

    Like 1
  12. Rick A. LoeraMember

    I can remember going into many a dealerships in the early nineties and seeing signs which read. We do not accept any Yugos or Hyundais as trade ins.

    Like 3
  13. Bplaw

    There may have been a publication that treated these cars kindly, but I don’t remember one. Consumer Reports spoke of them as being based on an old Fiat design, adding that “Fiats have never been known for their reliability.” They further stated that ” …a used Yugo is a bad deal at any price.”

    Like 3
  14. Ben T. Spanner

    I am looking at piece of original Yugo sales material. List price $3990 plus $299 transportation, and $90 dealer prep. The subject Yugo is Crystal Blue with a Dove Gray interior. Only four colors available. No charge for metallic.
    55 Hp 52 ft lbs torque. 1832 lbs Original tires were 145SR13 Tiger brand. “Full size” spare included. All Yugos had an electric rear window defroster to keep your hands warm while pushing.

    Like 7
    • Poncho

      FYI…new Hyundai’s don’t come with a full size spare. They don’t come with any spare! They come with a can of Fix Ur Flat and an air pump. Just another way to reduce prices to consumers to be cheaper against other brands. A friend had a flat on his Hyundai, (friends don’t let friends drive Hyundai’s), and the can of Fix Ur Flat didn’t take care of the problem til he got to the tire shop. Not a great situation when you have a flat that can’t be fixed on the side of the road and you don’t have any spare to use temporarily.

      Like 1
      • PRA4SNW

        Hyundai isn’t the only car maker doing this now.

        Like 0
  15. Jasper

    Considering what you can get for most “higher quality” vehicles of the same year, Yugos have ended up holding their value better than most. Seems a running Yugo in decent shape fetches at least half of the original price. The worst thing about these was the cheesy plastics and exotic car timing belt intervals. And it is based on a Fiat 128 and there’s nothing wrong with that…one of the best slow cars to drive fast. Hard to find any old world European charm running and driving at this price.

    Like 3
  16. WayneCMember

    If I had my choice between a Yugo and a Chevrolet Vega, it would be the Yugo, hands down.

    Like 7
    • AMCFAN

      I am with you WayneC

      Like 1
      • Poncho

        You guys are nuts. At least you can get parts for a Vega (and not from the scrap yard/recycler). Go ahead and eat your import.

        Like 1
      • AMCFAN

        Ponch, Not sure where you are buying your parts? Autozone? Vegas were gone from the planet by the early 1980’s in the salvage yards in my area. The only ones still on the road were a few guys who swapped in Chebby V8’s and created deathtraps. In fact a friends sister was killed in such a F-ed up mess.

        The difference between a YUGO and a Vega was that GM duped the American public into buying them. Because it has a Chevrolet name it has to be great. Far from it.

        With the YUGO you knew what you were buying and took it with a grain of salt. If GM made the YUGO the quality would still rival the Vega but would have sold a million of them.

        Bottom line is they were both horrible cars. The with the Vega the Americans screwed the Americans. I can’t forgive that.

        Like 3
  17. Henirich3

    Loved Elvis song “In a Yugo”!

    Like 0
  18. Buck Rekow

    I have a 1988 Yugo GVX. I rescued it from a junkyard for $350 and made it run. It’s been the most reliable automobile I have ever owned. It’s simple to work on, there is only one piece of electronics on the whole thing, and other than having to order some parts it’s a pleasure to own.

    Like 6
  19. victor sanchez

    To Mr. P about Paul Lynde yes sit a MANLY MAN Yeah right. I worked with a guy who had a Yugo now this guy was at least 6′ 2″ tall we would laugh at him because he looked like a circus bear when he climbed out of that machine

    Like 2
  20. RoughDiamond

    Some “poor” people with the drive and determination to better themselves, drive a cheap car only until they can complete their education. My wife and I called it making sacrifices and her career as a Nurse Practitioner and mine in Physical Therapy was certainly worth being poor back then. Even so, our cheap car still got regular oil changes and service as needed.

    Like 6
  21. Miljan Milosevic

    Guys….in Serbia ,ex Yugoslavia this car is 200-500$ in perfect condition

    Like 2
  22. MikeH

    Like Scotty, I wouldn’t mind having a Yugo-or a Trabant. The first thing the Yugo had against it was that it was basically a Fiat 127 which came out in ‘71. It was seventeen year old technology before it became the Yugo. It needed regular maintainable which most cheap car buyers, especially Americans, don’t do. Second, it was built in a communist country. How many things built in communist countries were high quality? I was recently in Sicily and saw several Fiat 126s and 127s still in use as daily drivers.

    Like 2
    • Will Owen

      The Yugo (as someone correctly noted several entries up) was based on the Fiat 128, not the 127. It was in fact a 128 unit body with about a foot taken out of the middle cross-section, so it used the same front and rear suspension of struts and lower links, and a Yugo-built version of the 128’s SOHC engine … and whatever problems that caused were due almost certainly to lousy quality control at the factory. As the very happy previous owner of a 128, I was looking to buy a Yugo, but the one good one I found got sold just before I showed up with the money. You can interpret that as good or bad luck, but it annoyed me quite a bit.

      Like 1
  23. Roy L Fuchs

    Dime a dozen on the car lot.

    Like 0
  24. stillrunners

    Still….it was a time. We had new one on a raffle where I worked….man it was a loaded up two tone kinda car – not like any Yugo I had seen…kinda sexy there in the lobby…..forgot who won it.

    Like 0
  25. WayneCMember

    When was the last time you tried to find Vega parts? They were junk when new, especially with their “siliconized” cylinders that were near impossible to rebuild. Finding parts for a Vega in a junk yard is as hard to find if not harder than finding parts for the Yugo. I don’t recall many Vegas found on BF. I am possibly wrong, but it seems that I have seen more Yugos.

    Like 1
    • Poncho

      For those Vega haters…The next version of the Vega was the Monza. The Monza was built until 1980 in the US. I have seen the GM Monza name used on newer car bodies (Maybe the Cavalier) outside of the US on one of the Caribbean islands. At least the Vega model got improved upon, even if in the form of the Monza The Yugo…will live on…Per Wikipedia, “Car Talk has rated it the “worst car of the century” and many car magazines and TV shows rate it as the worst car of the 1980s and also the worst car to be ever made in the history of the automotive industry.”
      What is a four door Yugo called? …………
      Wego. Wah, Wah, Wah.

      Like 0
      • AMCFAN

        Ponch, You should do your research. 141,610 Yugo’s were sold in the US from 1985-1992. The Vega was made from 71-77 and production was 2,006,661. How many are each are still licensed and on the road with the original drivetrain? Do not count the Cosworth or engine swapped Frankensteins. My money is there are more Yugos still around.

        If GM was a company that cared for the public they would have improved on the Vega and made the Monza changes in 1972 instead of 1978. Proof enough. It was about making money. Nothing to do with a quality of car and upholding the mighty GM brand the people that worked at the company or the poor people the had faith in them. There are many other articles about the Vega almost killing GM. Vega is the worst American car. Google that and see the many articles.

        Americans screwing Americans.

        Like 2
      • MikeH

        GM did (does) its testing on the public. Just off my memory there was the Cadillac 4-6-8, the Vega, the Fiero, the GM diesels, the early Corvairs. It seems impossible to me that any of these cars were even driven before they were put into production. I worked at a Chevy dealer in ‘60. People would buy a Corvair and they couldn’t even get it home before that fan belt would jump. The only GM car I’ve ever owned was the ‘57 Chevy I had in ‘60 and I didn’t keep it long.

        Like 1
      • WayneCMember

        What AMCFAN said. I just couldn’t say it any better!

        Like 0
  26. Rick A. LoeraMember

    The good news is that you can get a spare tire at the dealer at the time of purchase for only $599.00. What a RIP off.

    Like 0
    • PRA4SNW

      Or a pull from a wrecked car off of EBay for a lot cheaper.

      Like 0
  27. Poncho

    AMCFAN,
    So looking at it that way, the cars were not necessarily built to be on the road forever. Just as the Yugo, both models were built to fill a need in the market. A cheaper new car that the middle class could afford, was more fuel efficient, yet provided a profit for the manufacturer. As far as Americans screwing Americans, this happens all the time now. When was the last time you felt like you bought an item or paid for a service that you actually felt like you got a quality product for the price. Then how much did you pay for it. Quality costs money. If cars were built with superior quality, the price would be so much higher, and the average consumer wouldn’t be able to afford it, and companies would essentially put themselves out of business as people wouldn’t need to buy their product as often. Welcome to the world of disposable goods. If yours breaks, it is cheaper to buy a new one than repair it (IE: appliances). This is engineered into products nowadays. Engineers get paid good salaries to engineer failure or the need to buy new parts that don’t universally fit other applications. There are some car parts specifically like this, which is why I prefer older cars that are easier to work on and rarely need to interface with a computer to trouble shoot. A lot of people nowadays would be completely lost if they had to dial in the tune on their carb or adjust timing. Computers do it all for you. But if one O2 sensor goes, there goes your tuning, computer changes your timing, and then there goes your performance and gas mileage.

    Like 0
  28. Nick

    Just bought one! I work at a Lancia and Fiat restoration shop in Ohio, and since these do indeed have Fiat drivetrains we pick them up stupid cheap and part them out in order to restore Fiat X1/9s and a few other things. We bought 2 for $400, one carbureted and one EFI. They had been sitting in a field for 20 years (last reg on the plate on mine was Oct 98). I put carb cleaner in the carb, put a new battery in it and it fired right up. Changed nothing else. 20 year old gas, 20 year old oil. I’ve been driving it around as a daily for a few months. I’ve had no issues at all with the car and everything works on it, including the cassette player. It won an award in a car show in a competition that included a Countach, and it does burnouts. I’m road tripping it about 500 miles to NYC from Columbus for New Years and writing a story on it. Let’s see if it makes it!

    Like 2
    • Eric

      Is that Midwest Bayless? I also live in Columbus. I’ve always wanted to do an EV conversion on a Yugo or a Geo Metro. It would be hilarious to show up at Cars & Coffee and blow the doors off of some ‘vettes in a little electric Yugo…lol

      Like 0
  29. AMCFAN

    Americans screwing Americans today in the Auto industry? Ford and GM? Not as much as they once did. They cannot afford to. GM might build a better car today but had their chance with me …..No wait. They announced they are longer making cars. Sorry I do not need a truck or SUV. Quality cost money? You are right. It cost sales. Word of mouth hurts. When there is a problem on the line at Honda or Toyota they shut it down right now until there is NO problem. American companies run the line and send it to a holding area and maybe it will get fixed….maybe the dealer will catch it. I do not like to gamble.

    My money is important. I at least want to pay it off and drive it 10 years or so.
    I drive an older car. A 2006 Honda everyday. I average 30,000 miles a year. I am at 368,000 now. Fluid changes since leaving the lot. Original engine trans , suspension and clutch. Runs exactly the same as when I bought it.

    I want a new one however shows NO signs of giving up. The Honda wasn’t an expensive car new. I will see 400,000 easy because it shows no signs of giving up.

    You can drive older cars. For me I will reserve them on the weekends.

    Like 0
  30. joe

    According to NHTSA, there was a safety recall for the 1990-1991 Yugo GV Plus.

    July 25, 1991 NHTSA CAMPAIGN NUMBER: 91V130000
    ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION:ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT
    THE VEHICLE COULD STALL AND FAIL TO RESTART WITHOUT PRIORINDICATION OR WARNING.

    NHTSA Campaign Number: 91V130000

    Manufacturer YUGO OF AMERICA,INC.

    Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

    Potential Number of Units Affected 3,676

    Summary

    THE ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT HAS A FAULTY RUBBER SEAL WHICH ALLOWS WATER TO INFILTRATE AND SHORT CIRCUIT THE UNIT.

    Remedy

    INSTALL A RUBBER SEAL BETWEEN THE UNIT AND THE FIREWALL IT IS WELDED TO.

    Notes

    SYSTEM: ELECTRONIC IGNITION CONTROL UNIT.VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES.

    2 Affected Products
    Vehicle
    MAKE MODEL YEAR

    YUGO GV PLUS 1990-1991

    Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/1991/YUGO/GV%252520PLUS#recalls

    Like 0

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