Sport Model! 1988 Yugo GVX

Call me crazy, but I want this Yugo! Being a GVX means that it’s as tricked out as a Yugo can be. And while many of the changes are cosmetic, like the sweet sport seats and body kit, this car also received a performance boost in the form of a 61 horsepower 1.3 engine. That might not be much power by modern standards, but this thing is featherweight at just a little over 1800 pounds! So, if you’ve been hunting for a sporty variant of a truly unique car, you might just want to give this Yugo a closer look. You can snag it here on eBay in Des Moines, Iowa with an opening bid price of $4,000.

Looking this car over, I can’t help but compare it to the VW GTi. Sure, it lacks the fit and finish of the Volkswagen, but it is a Yugo after all. The tachometer strapped to the steering column is a bit reminiscent of something you’d find in a ’60s American car. The interior is otherwise as spartan as a stock Yugo. Unfortunately, the speedometer and odometer aren’t currently working. The seller installed a new speedo cable but hasn’t been able to hook it up. That should be a fairly simple fix to finishing and is hopefully the only issue I’m honestly curious if you would ever need the sport seats, but they sure look awesome!

As previously stated, power comes from the Fiat-derived 1.3 liter inline 4. It’s paired to a 5-speed, which is also an upgrade over the standard Yugo’s 4-speed. The GVX was a half second or so faster to 60 mph than the GV, but it still takes over 13 seconds to get there. That’s not terribly quick, but at least you’ll look and feel sporty driving this thing around!

I just love that this little hatchback has louvers on the rear glass. Between the body kit, the alloy rims, and the louvers, this thing is cooler than a Yugo has any right to be! It might not be terribly fast, but speed isn’t everything. With such a low curb weight it should be fun to toss around. And just think of all the conversations this thing will start! So, will you be hitting the street in this GVX?


  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice find and write-up, Josh! As you’d expect, I’m super interested in this car and have a message in to the owner as we speak. What a gem! And, it’s only four hours south of me so no shipping costs for once (unless it breaks down on the drive home)…

    Like 6
    • Pat L Member

      Be careful Scotty, that’s a lot of power to handle. Ease into the throttle, you don’t want it to get away from you!

      Like 8
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Ha, my normal car is a (insert similar underpowered oddball here) so no worries, Pat. If I want to go fast I’ll jump in the ’87 Renault GTA.. er.. cough..

        Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      I knew it! Good luck, pal.

      Like 3
  2. mark

    also received a performance boost in the form of a 61 horsepower 1.3 engine……………………..May be worthy of note if it was a riding lawn mower or motorcycle but not much to brag about when it is a car.

    Like 4
  3. Fred W

    Did ya’ll know Elvis’ last recorded song was about the Yugo?

    Pretty amazing, since he died in ’77.

    Like 6
    • ManicMechanic

      That song is hilarious!!

  4. Jay




    Like 4
  5. JS

    …Just read my comments from the Yugo a couple of days ago: Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. Nothing has changed about these dogs.

    Like 3
  6. LARRY

    I really didn’t realize there were so many yugos around…uhhhh I’m drawing a blank here

    Like 3
  7. Keith


    Like 1
  8. Keith


  9. keith


  10. Will Owen

    Well, I miss the heck out of the Fiat 128 I had when these were coming over, and the idea of a sectioned 128 (which the Yugo basically was) got my attention. The 128 did after all have a large amount of back-seat legroom – I was a long-legged 6′ and could sit behind the front seat when it was all the way back, with plenty of extra knee room – so the Yugo would be kind of a 2+2 version. That has a certain appeal …

    Anyway, it tickles me no end that these little monkeys keep popping up here, and maybe one of these days (before the stock runs out) I’ll decide It’s Time and pull the trigger.

    Like 2
  11. Coventrycat

    Grand Nationals and Yugos. The Ying and Yang of Barnfinds.

    Like 7
  12. Tirefriar

    With a $4k asking,is the seller offering a year’s worth of free gas?

    Like 1
    • Earl A Hughes

      No doubt you missed the one that went thru a TOP auto auction a few years ago, (3?) at $10,000. It was a like new convertible, the rarest of Yugos.
      This one is the most wanted other model, and most believe only 1500 were imported, as a 1 year only version. At not much over 1800#s, 61 HP works very well. Cruise speed of 75-80 mph is no strain. If you know how to drive, and realize 7500 is a conservative shift point, the performance is good. I have an 87 GV 1100cc 4 speed, and can get 95mph+. Wife says NO more cars, or this would be mine.

      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Unfortunately, it’s long gone, Mr. Hughes. I was chatting with the owner for quite a while about it and it’s gone now. He sold it for a very painful $3,000.

  13. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Sport Yugo; same genre as non-alcoholic beer, gluten-free pizza, metric left-handed adjustable wrench…?

    Like 5
  14. Clipper

    I wouldn’t bring it up north — but it’d be fun grocery getter/conversation piece in a southern/dry state with no road salt…or winter at all. Or twisty roads. On the other hand, both of my motorcycles have more HP than this. So…hm. Still a pretty neat & unusual find.
    ox·y·mo·ron /ˌäksəˈmôrˌän/

    A) figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true )

    B) “Sport Yugo”

    Like 3
  15. Karl

    Without a doubt this is race ready I hear they are starting a lower hp class in LAWN MOWER racing!

    Like 2
  16. ACZ

    A Sport Yugo. Just what sport would that be?

    Oh, yes……Josh, you’re crazy.

  17. Lou Rugani

    Use 89-octane fuel and 20-50W oil and change the timing belt every 30,000 miles and they’ll run indefinitely.

    Like 3
  18. Ron

    The GV versions we owned – an 86, 87 and the 88 we bought new – were all decent driving vehicles. Definitely a step up from the 73 VW Super Beetle I owned in all regards that come to mind – other than the existence of factory support. The engine made more power, was quieter, provided heat that actually worked to heat the car in Michigan winters, and would propel the car well into the 90’s MPH range. We traversed Florida’s Alligator Alley one year averaging 90 – 95 mph with throttle to spare. Wifey told me to slow down when I’d creep up around 97 mph. Passing performance was akin to the 65 Ford Falcon I owned that had the 200 cid in-line 6. Fuel mileage was disappointing by today’s standards but better than the 1970’s Pinto giving 26 – 27 mpg in real world driving. Only the smaller Chevy Sprint offered higher fuel economy at the time. The Sprint cost $1000 more though so many miles had to be driven before the higher purchase price was offset the added fuel economy. The Sprint did not offer the folding rear seat. This gave the Yugo much improved cargo capacity. We did not like the Sprint’s interior or smaller size. For the industrious owner – (me) – the Yugo rear seat was easily removed in mere minutes by taking out 4 #3 phillips head screws from the seat hinges and 2 10mm hex head bolts from the seat restraint rods. I’d been timed at 1:20 minutes to have the seat out and stored in the garage. The resulting space allowed for hauling a family heirloom secretary desk and our camping gear for one trip from Michigan to Florida and back. The front driver leg room was a bit short for drivers like me at 5’10 with a 32″ inseam. 1 hour trips were OK but after that it became uncomfortable as the front tire well dominated the space next to the clutch pedal. Since I couldn’t stretch my leg out, I often tucked my left foot under my right ankle. Had the new 1988 not been purchased for my very short wife – I’d have relocated the drivers seat rearward 2 or 3 inches. I checked wikipedia on them and see some errors and omissions. Much is not said of the issues that arose when one was involved in an accident on the Mackinac Bridge. The car was not simply blown off the bridge. This bridge has significant wind issues for all vehicles and routinely has forced closures due to winds. Unlike many bridges – the bar grate roadway allows much wind to come upward under cars along with the side ways prevailing winds. Wind had been a problem for decades and this accident lead to the the bridge being fitted with a number of changes to help mitigate some of the wind caused concerns. Of course – here in Michigan – the UAW targeted the Yugo with a vengeance – using the accident as a means of criticizing the car. Then Pres. Bush imposed trade sanctions against Yugoslavia. This put dealerships out of business essentially without warning. Dealers could not import any new cars. They could not import parts for the cars. They could not honor the factory 3 year/36,000 mile stock warranty let alone the optional extended warranty. People who bought a new car one week suddenly without warning had no factory support or warranty the next. The refined later concept cars included a station wagon and 4 door sedan. I believe that these definitely would have competed with some of the offerings that came along from other asian countries.

    Like 4
    • Bobinott

      @Ron, thanks for a well-informed real world description of owning and driving a Yugo. I get tired of listening to self-appointed experts who are just spouting negative opinions based on late-night TV comedy routines. As the owner and driver of a Citroen 2CV, I have heard it all before! Personally, I have a soft spot, and an open mind regarding any “peoples’ cars” from many countries. From the VW Beetle, to the Model T Ford, and including the Mini, the 2CV, the Renault 4L, the Fiat 500, the Subaru 360, each one is both horrible and amazing in their own ways. It is only at the low end of the market that true originality is evident. Vive la difference!

      Like 4
  19. FOG

    Though I tried to reach the BarnFinds “admin” to see if I could post this.
    I have a mint lighted double sided Yugo dealership window sign. 36″ x 24″ x 6″.
    Before I list this elsewhere, I thought of letting BarnFinds readers get the benefit.
    $400 firm.

  20. JoeNYWF64

    Do you really need such a silly high roof on a car like this, or the amc pacer or even the 1st gen MR2? I think even the yugo would look a lot better with a lower roof.

    • Bobinott

      You have to remember how small these cars are. The roof is not high, it is just that the rest of the body is tiny. Small cars still have to be driveable by normal-sized human beings.

      Like 2
  21. Lou Rugani

    There’s a good book on the Yugo saga: “The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History”, which goes on to explain why it was anything but while describing the people behind the false rumors and their reasons.

    Like 2
    • Miguel A. Gonzalez

      The Yugo was anything but the worst care ever made. I owned one in 1988 when my ’73 VW Super Beetle was literally on its way out. I endured all the ridicule from the masses… none of which ever even drove in or owned one. They simply regurgitated what others were saying. I loved the car and never gave me any issues, getting rid of it only after dealers were no longer providing any type of support and parts were no longer easy to find. I did enjoy that car and truly miss how simple it was.

      What most people do not realize is that the Yugo never had any recalls during its short-lived existence of a mere 5 to 6 years in the U.S. That says a lot. Yet, the Hyundai Excel, which was introduced around the same time for about $2,000+ more, was plagued with recalls year after year during this same time. Don’t get me wrong, I a not bashing Hyundai, just saying how easy people forget things and pick and choose what they wish to believe. Heck, even the 1997 Ford Expedition I own today had 9 recalls… and that is a Ford… a company with over a century of building cars.

      Would I own a Yugo today? Heck, yeah. Much older now and wiser, as well as being able to do more with it than I did 30+ years ago.

  22. thomas andrus

    I bought a 1988 GVX back in the day. I drove a GV at the same time and there was a very marked difference between it and the GVX with the “big” engine and 5 speed. Straight line performance was equivalent to other low end sporty cars of the day. I could keep up with a Ford Escort GT all day long and that little car was still accelerating at 110. It rode like a little lumber wagon but stuck to dry roads like my Jaguar XJS. I purchased it in Minnesota and moved to the Florida Keys shortly after and made several trips back and forth in it getting mid twenties for mileage even on the initial trip with a loaded U-Haul box on top! The back seat was nearly useless to me so I pulled just like Ron who posted earlier. I still have the seat! I never had a major problem with it for years until someone did an oil change and cross threaded the plug and then drove with no oil but that would be expected with any vehicle. Would be interested in purchasing another Yugo without hesitation with that drivetrain. Parts availability is about nil if you ask for Yugo parts, but since Yugo purchased the build rights from Fiat if it fit a Fiat it works on the Yugo drivetrain.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.