Original Paint: 1988 Yugo GV

I always consider myself to be a fortunate man. I have had the privilege to drive some pretty desirable classic cars during my life, but there are still a few that remain on my Bucket List. Some of you may be surprised (shocked?) to learn that the 1988 Yugo GV is on that list. It is not because I expect to discover that they are a muscle-bound beast that will pin me in my seat when the right pedal is depressed. The published performance statistics make it abundantly clear that won’t be the case. The Yugo has an indefinable aura and a dedicated following that makes it a car worth investigating further. Our feature Yugo belongs to one of those dedicated followers and is 1-of-3 that he currently has in his collection. He feels that the time is right to downsize, so he has listed the little GV for sale here on eBay. It is located in Peggs, Oklahoma, and the owner has set the BIN at $8,995.

The ownership history of this Yugo is a bit vague, but the current owner is an enthusiast who loves these little cars. He claims that the Aspen White paint that graces its panels is original, and if that is the case, its overall condition is impressive. He has meticulously detailed this little gem, and that paint now shines beautifully. There are no flaws or defects, no dings or dents, and no signs of any rust problems. He has complemented the paint by adding a tasteful blue pinstripe, and between that and the narrow whitewall tires, they add a touch of class to the exterior. The badges and trim present nicely, while the owner has sandblasted and repainted the wheels. The color-coded wheel covers make a bold statement, as does the tinting added to the spotless glass.

The Yugo GV held a couple of distinctions when it was new. Not only was it America’s cheapest passenger car, but it was also the lightest and least powerful. This engine bay is occupied by a four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 1,116cc that produces 54hp. Those rampant stallions are fed to the front wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. The vehicle tips the scales at a meager 1,742lbs, allowing the GV to cover the ¼ mile in 19.6 seconds. If the driver welds the loud pedal to the floor, that little four will start to gasp as the needle hits 86mph. However, the company’s focus with the Yugo wasn’t outright performance. They felt that not only should it be cheap to buy, but it should also be inexpensive to run. Driven with care, this GV should be able to sip fuel at around 40 mpg. With gas prices climbing, that has to sound pretty attractive. The owner claims that our feature car has a genuine 35,000 miles on the clock, but he doesn’t indicate whether he holds verifying evidence. As well as new tires, he has recently renewed virtually the entire braking system, flushed and replaced the fluids, and fitted a new timing belt. With a new exhaust fitted from the converter back, there seems to be little for the buyer to do but slip behind the wheel and enjoy the driving experience. It should be a good one because the owner indicates that you could drive this car anywhere.

Life inside a Yugo represented a motoring experience at its most basic. What buyers received for their money was acres of plastic and few creature comforts. It seems that the original owner must have had a few extra pennies put aside when he purchased this car because it is equipped with the optional factory radio/cassette player. Yugo interiors have developed a reputation for aging poorly, with plastic trim that seemed to be almost biodegradable. This car has avoided those problems, and now that the owner has detailed it, the presentation is as good as you are ever likely to find. The dash is in good order, there’s no evidence of brittle plastics, the seats appear free from wear or physical damage, while the carpet, headliner, and remaining upholstered surfaces continue the theme of spotless presentation. Adding to the good news, everything inside this classic works as it is supposed to.

When it was released, the 1988 Yugo GV was the cheapest new car available in North America. Today, they remain affordable and have developed their own dedicated following of enthusiasts who accept them for what they are. The Yugo may not be fast, well equipped, or drop-dead gorgeous, but they remain a classic that will start conversations at any Cars & Coffee. The BIN on this example isn’t cheap in a Yugo context, but nor is it unprecedented. A few months ago, I wrote about another one that was nowhere near as nice as this car, and it sold for $7,100. That makes this little Yugo worth considering if you harbor a desire to own something different.

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Comments

  1. Barry Skog

    This was junk when it was new and must really be junk now as a 30+ year old ride! 9K for this? Not!

    Like 11
  2. Vegaman Dan

    35,000 miles? That means it has only had two engine rebuilds do far!

    A pizza place I managed bought a bunch of these for several stores. They actually survived bad drivers and were theft proof as nobody would touch it.

    Kinda miss them now.

    Like 18
    • Steve Clinton

      Our local pizza place uses Fiat 500s, probably for the same reasons.

      Like 1
  3. Slightly Askew

    I remember there were so many jokes about the Yugo.
    My favorite was that all Yugos were equipped with rear defrosters to keep your hands warm in the winter when pushing the car to the repair shop.

    Like 12
  4. Raymond

    Definately going back to bed….

    Like 1
  5. Wd62vette

    Here we go again. People calling the Yugo junk and the same old Yugo “jokes”. “Seller is on crack” etc. Go through any Yugo post and see the same comments, usually from people that don’t like the Yugo or small cars and think everyone else should hate them to.

    Like 8
    • Steve Clinton

      Chill out! LOL

      Like 6
    • Paul R.

      Yugo your way and I’ll go mine.
      ( now stop that auto correct !)

      Like 7
  6. Joe

    I fulfilled one item on Adam’s bucket list. I have driven (owned) one. It wasn’t all that.

    Like 2
    • Gregory Mason

      When they first came out my sister in law bought one for my Brother just to use back and forth to work. I think it was $3.990. I didn’t think much of it at the time. My Brother is rough on his cars but this thing surprised me. The only major repair I had to do was replace the head gasket at 100.000 miles.

      Like 3
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      What were you expecting?

  7. Bob C.

    The asking price is about 4 grand more than when it was new.

    Like 2
    • Paul R.

      A Chevy Nova or whatever can cost $ 30,000. or more than new.

      Like 2
  8. Steve Clinton

    “He claims that the Aspen White paint that graces its panels is original” whereas the white paint on the wheel covers is not.

    Like 3
  9. DSteele

    The problem I have with these beauties is finding one with matching numbers

    Tough to find

    Like 2
  10. Steve Clinton

    This isn’t the more desirable ‘Yugo Toobee Kidding’. (sorry, Wd62!)

    Like 1
  11. space GREGORY POLLACK

    No I don’t think you want to test drive one.
    And the price on this one is a lot of money for a car that was based between $1500 and $2500 new.
    Back in the late ’80s I was working at a body shop and when you go kept coming in because it was a stolen recovery three times.
    And it was mostly stolen for the Bose radio sound system that resided in it from the factory.
    Three times I replaced all the interior and the whole sound system.
    And I can’t believe that the insurance company didn’t total it out any one of those three times.

    Like 1
  12. space GREGORY POLLACK

    No I don’t think you want to test drive one.
    And the price on this one is a lot of money for a car that was based between $1500 and $2500 new.
    Back in the late ’80s I was working at a body shop and when you go kept coming in because it was a stolen recovery three times.
    And it was mostly stolen for the Bose radio sound system that resided in it from the factory.
    Three times I replaced all the interior and the whole sound system.
    And I can’t believe that the insurance company didn’t total it out any one of those three times.

    • Barry Skog

      They sold new for $3990!

      Like 3
  13. Truck Officer

    Recently I was at our cabin in the very NE Corner of Washington State. Drove to the nearest town for supplies (Whiskey) in Idaho. There was a Yugo in the parking lot. An off grid guy waiting like myself for wives. He was from way back in the Idaho woods. The Yugo was packed with 50 lbs feed bags and grocery’s. He said it handled the rough road into his cabin well. Parts were available and it was cheap to run. Hey. Thing of beauty? Nope. Cheap to own? Sure. Functional? Sure. Haha.

    Like 5
    • Paul R.

      We’re you waiting to get wives , or waiting for your wives?
      Liked your comment.

      Like 2
      • Truck Officer

        If I had traded my Ram I would have been going back to the cabin alone. Haha. By way of Spokane Airport

  14. Howie Mueler

    What!! Still for sale??

    Like 3
  15. Roy Marson

    After owning a dozen Yogo’s at my Far West Rent a Car in the 90’s, I can attest to the real greatness of the cars. They were based on Fiats. Yes the plastics were brittle. Actually the weight was more like 1500 lbs. Easy 40 mpg.

    Only precaution, change the timing belt which this owner did. They are

    interference engines.

    I used to have an employee named Hugo. We said : Hugo, you go, get the Yugo!

    Like 2
  16. Troy

    My understanding is that these things needed the timing belt replaced every 30k miles seams like a lot of maintenance considering a Toyota or Honda of the same year could go 60 – 80k miles before needing to spend $400- $1500 to have it done.

  17. MOPAR Joe

    $89.95

  18. MOPAR Joe

    $89.95

  19. JakeinGA

    I owned one of these from 1989 through 1992. Bought it brand new at the Yugo dealer in Clarksville, TN for $1995 plus tax, about $2200 out the door. It was an 88 model, I honestly don’t remember there being 89 or 90 models, that dealership was still selling 88’s as late as 91.

    Mine was a base model, meaning it didn’t come with a radio, the aftermarket radio I installed was stolen while it was at the dealership for service, so they put in a factory radio, it wasn’t a step up.

    I used it to deliver Pizza around Ft. Campbell, and it was fine for that. The purchase price included 3 years 36000 miles of service and warranty. It wasn’t a fast car, it wasn’t a comfortable car, but it got great gas mileage, and was fairly reliable. The engine and transmission were fairly reliable, as long as you changed the timing belt every 30K, it wasn’t hard to do, but the manual called for it at 100K, which was standard for most cars at the time. I ran into a guy who was a Fiat enthusiast shortly after buying it, he showed me his gray market 80 Fiat Panda, which was almost identical, including the 1 liter engine, and educated me on the need to replace the timing belt every 30K. The dealer thought I was crazy, and wouldn’t pay for it under the service agreement, as it wasn’t called for in the manual, I paid $200 every 30K, and never had engine problems.

    The little stuff was an issue, the plastic window cranks seemed to last a few months, but metal cranks off old Fiats worked fine, and didn’t break. I had to fiddle with the wires behind the heat/defrost controls a few times, basically that was an issue of poor quality materials used in Yugoslavia.

    After owning that car for a few years, I joined the Army and sold it off for $800, running and driving, and honestly being in pretty good condition.

    At the MSRP of about $4000 in 1988, I would have bought an Escort, Civic or Cavalier for $6500, or even one of the Japanese pickups for about $5000 first. At $2170 out the door, and another $45 for tags, and dirt cheap insurance, it was fine.

    At $8,000 today, there isn’t enough nostalgia in the world to make it a good deal. For that kind of money at least find one of the GVX, or better yet a GVX convertible, at least with the 1.3L and fuel injection it was a bit more powerful. Even then the car would have to be awful nice, and I would probably still pass on it, they just weren’t very nice cars, and old doesn’t always mean classic. The Yugo was fine for 1990, but even then was out of date and less than reliable.

  20. Daniel Davis

    We thank barn finds for this true and realistic write up. For all those posting negative comments I feel sorry for you. These cars were designed for a purpose and driven within those perameters and with basic maintenance were good reliable little cars. Maybe you just have nothing better to do than find critical things to say.
    God Bless
    Daniel

    Like 1
    • Barry Skog

      parameters!

      Like 1
  21. Peter

    How’s the “safety” of these? Old joke I heard was if you have an accident in one, it’s off to the hospital YUGO !

  22. Lopar Loparovic

    What an incredible little car.

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