Live Auctions

Low Mileage 1988 Yugo GV

1988 Yugo. Starts right up. Thirty thousand miles and three thousand bucks, according to the ad here on craigslist. (Thanks, Rustydust, for this tip.) If you hanker for an odd piece of automotive history, and you can register a 1988 import in your state, then here’s your next collectible. Just don’t be surprised if most of the comments you get at shows center around words like, “Commie-era junk,” and “Was this the doings of Malcolm Bricklin?” because in fact, Bricklin (who made his money importing Subarus and made his fame with a semi-disastrous car manufacturing effort of his own, a gullwing-door coupe that somewhat resembled the DeLorean, the Bricklin SV-1) was the one who imported these Yugos from the mid-1980s to 1992. The car for sale here is going for the aforementioned $3000, and you’ll have to find your way to Toledo, OH to retrieve it

This Yugo (a double-reference of You-Go and Yugoslavia, we used to say in the era) is owned by an elderly relative of the ad writer. Well, he or she wasn’t elderly thirty years ago, when this was the cheapest car available new in the US. One wonders what the logic in buying was, though the tiny hatchback body style is not entirely unattractive, and the stripes, though all but perished now, hint at a sporty vibe. Not that the engines, which were around 1100 CC (1.1 litre) big, would accommodate any racing aspirations. And, in fact, the cars themselves were not exactly stout. Whether due to cheap parts procurement or the fact that they were made by factory workers in places like Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia in an era where, let’s just say, the individual achievement was not highly prized and the innovations and quality improvements made by the likes of Toyota hadn’t exactly penetrated will remain an open question. This particular model is the lower-line version GV (“Good Value”).

This Yugo was essentially a Fiat derivative, made for around thirty years starting in 1980, though for sale in the US, as indicated above, for less than a decade. I remember these because there were a few around the Dayton, Ohio, area, where I was a grad student. My recollection is that they scrimped on everything, including seat adjustors—the seats were simply bolted into position. Not sure if that was true throughout the model run. Other than cheap fixin’s, these cars, which sold for under $3990 new, about $9900 today, were mostly known as a way to get a brand-new car instead of chancing it on someone else’s used buggy. “Pre-owned” cars back then weren’t as good as they typically are today.

Somebody’s going to buy this. Why? Because they didn’t get the chance the first time around. OK, not likely. Because they like orphans. Might better look at a Pontiac. Because, why not—it’s only 3 grand, and that’s the asking price. Come up with half that, make a call, and see what the person who wrote the ad, now going on 10 days old, is really thinking this machine is worth.

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    No interior photos allows my imagination run wild. I can’t imagine the interior which was sub-par by 80’s standards to have fared any better than the outside. Same color as my tech friends when I worked at the Saab/Alfa dealer in the 90’s. Because mechanically it’s a Fiat performance parts and larger Fiat engines will bolt right in. My friend installed a hot Fiat 1300 with Weber side drafts. Good grunt and torque steer was in good supply. Probably the sloppiest handling car I ever drove. It did make me smile though.

    Like 8
    • Michael Garner

      Think Fred Flintstone type vehicle. I suppose there’s a hole in the floor so you can apply the brakes?

      Like 5
      • JJBlube

        Those comments mean you have owned a Yugo? I don’t think so.

  2. Gatormario

    The title of the article says a lot. Was there ever a “high mileage” Yugo???

    Like 18
    • George

      They did tend to blow head gaskets by 60K.

      Like 4
    • Ed P

      For a Yugo. This is high mileage.

      Like 5
  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Imagine waking up one morning and realizing you are the only human on the planet that’s still alive.

    That’s how this Yugo feels

    Like 8
  4. Bud Lee

    I heard they made a station wagon of this . The Wego . Hardy frickin’ har .

    Like 4
  5. Sebastian X1/9

    I don’t understand? If I take the car away, they will give me $3000, right? That’s what they mean I assume…☠️

    Like 5
  6. oilngas

    Show me a high mileage Yugo. Then I will be impressed.

    Like 2
  7. Rw

    That’s hilarious low mileage they didn’t run that long to become High mileage

    Like 2
  8. Grant

    Yes they were cheap to buy, but oh so cheaply made. I sat in one in a showroom when they were new and couldn’t believe how thin the doors were or how flimsy the switches on the dash felt. Another 1000 dollars then (maybe 2 grand in todays money) would have bought you a car that was leagues ahead of this in every way. Reminds me of when I bought my Kawasaki Mule. I had always wanted a UTV to putz around the property here, but realized it was a want and not a need, so I for quite a while decided to go with the cheapest ones I could find. I kept looking and one day I dragged my wife out to look at one in a big box store. She got in and noted it wasn’t even a 4×4 and the shift knobs felt like they were going to come apart in your hand. She just shook her head “no”. She asked what else was available in the price rang, I told her I really wanted a Kawi but they were at least 2K more. To my surprise she said,” That is what you should get.” She had me drive us over to that dealer and we drove one. The difference in the feel of the machine in general was astounding. She looked at me and said, “sold” That was five years ago and it to this day runs like a top. What a great little machine to use around our land. I am sure the cheaper option would have never held up this long. Point is, sometimes you have to spent more, just a little, to get quality. Too many people bought the Yugo back then learned that lesson the hard way.

    Like 8
    • SubGothius

      Speaking of “how flimsy the switches on the dash felt”, much of that was the dash itself. Remember when the desks in the Office Despot furniture section had those hollow fake decoy computers made of blow-molded polystyrene? That’s pretty much how the Yugo dash looked and felt, might be exactly how they were made.

      Like 2
    • Psychofish2

      ‘Another 1000 dollars then (maybe 2 grand in todays money) would have bought you a car that was leagues ahead of this in every way.’

      That would have been the Hyundai Excel @ $4995.

      Like 4
  9. nlpnt

    Three grand is collector money for one of these, for that they should at least try to polish the paint.

    Like 3
  10. Greg Gillette

    Bought new in 88. Our first new car for under 5k. I got 105k miles out of it before the clutch fried. Did what we needed for a car on a budget and got mid 30s mpg.

    Like 5
  11. Dan B

    Drove one brand new in 1986. I was ready to buy to start some credit ( I was 18 then). Fingered out the payments, insurance, the whole 9 yards. Salesman says” You seem like a nice kid. Go see this lady” and hands me his wife’s card from a Toyota dealer down the road. “You want a car that will last longer than the payments? Go see her.” The payments were for 22 months. Even the salesman didn’t have faith in the product. I will never forget that man, he give me a glimmer of hope in a hopeless business. I bought a truck from his wife, it lasted 32 years as a daily driver.

    Like 12
  12. Ben T Spanner

    Why did a Yugo come with a rear defroster? To keep your hands warm while pushing it. What was the van called? The Weego. What was the motor scooter called? The Igo

    Like 4
  13. Frog Man

    A gal I used to date in the early 90s had one of these it was gold for her. she could fill it with her tip money. I was oddly attracted to the simplicity of the heap, when we started seriously dating id bomb around in it using it for windsurfing after putting a rack on it, that ate up the roof quickly. At about 47K miles or so it started running hot, with minor evidence of colant in oil, I flushed out radiator with dawn soap, then used some head gasket stop leak in it and it went for another couple of years. It was typical junk but dirt cheap The girl a cute as all get out cocktail waitress was driving my 350SB powered 280z, she ended up blowing the rear end in it but dang she was hot!

    Like 3
  14. Mark

    I remember in the Dragnet movie as Dan Ackroyd describes the Yugo as being “on the cutting edge of Serbo-Croatian technology.” Still funny today.

    Like 5
  15. mjf

    Im thinking a C note , they were horrible cars

    Like 1
  16. Kurt Member

    This is really a Fiat copy, and the original Fiat wasn’t a bad car at all.

    Like 4
  17. Karl

    I had a dealer in town selling these when they first came to the US and they there were the cheapest car around by a few thousand dollars, I had to see what this was about? I went over over there one day and took one for a test drive and I don’t think I have ever in my life seen a car as cheaply built in every way as this was. There was not one redeeming feature on this car! Absolute junk in every way!

    Like 3
  18. Troy

    Obviously been sitting there for a while grass is dead under it 30k miles its in need of a timing belt if you can find one, bungee cord might work might last someone a little while so they can save and upgrade to a pinto or Vega

    Like 2
    • Psychofish2

      That’s a median on a city street not some random patch next to the driveway.

      It would have been towed by a town contracted tow truck long before the grass died from it sitting there

      Like 2
      • Troy

        Depending on the city, my city would NOT tow it sitting there

  19. SteveL

    Be careful if you’re thinking king of throwing a number at the Seller. IF you’re not lucky your offer might just be accepted!

    Like 2
  20. jim

    They were going to make a wagon called wego but things just did not work out right for there problematic car yugo so it never happened

    Like 1
  21. JC

    I test drove one of these when they first came out, a local BUICK dealer was selling them. I drove about a mile down the road, turned around and went back to the dealer. The car was so bad, it didn’t even warrant a second look. I can’t believe they sold any but they did reduce the price to under 3k to get them off the lot so i guess someone with little money and desperate for some wheels made the plunge.

  22. Mike

    A friend was going to buy a used Yugo so when his wife asked him to go to the store he was going to say; “No! Yugo.”
    A very bad joke,
    Did you know that Yugo’s had a starring role in the movie “Drowning Mona”. Now that was way funnier than my friends joke.

  23. Patrick Anderson

    Can’t even use the turdbuffer. It would just turn this into turd dust.

  24. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    And we can thank the ever resourceful shyster Malcolm Bricklin for unleashing this turd on the U.S.
    You would think that after the Subaru 360 and the Bricklin SV-1, he, and us, would have learned to stay away from any car he was involved with.

  25. Rustydust

    SNL spoof on the Yugo

    https://youtu.be/F02P2JO7yfc

    Still miss Phil Hartman

  26. Gary

    I worked at a CPD GM Yugo dealer back then. We had cars that the outside mirrors fell off of because the doors had rusted from the inside. I thought they were pure junk. Forward ten years and I’m at another dealer and my mechanic had two of them. His good one had about 30,000 miles and the other had about 60,000 miles. He had zero issue with either other than the usual maintenance. He said they used Ford ignition parts, cost cutting? He drove the good one from W. Springfield Pa to Niagra Falls, Canadian side, and said he filled it with premium fuel for a cost of under $8.00 Canadian.

    • Gary

      I forgot, I saw one with turbo on the lower door, surely they didn’t turbo these turds, did they? I never saw one when I worked there.

  27. Rustydust
  28. Kurt Member

    Still better than the fiber board Russian cars. Yay communist workmanship!

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