Yugo Through Mud: 1988 Yugo GV

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If your heart’s desire is to own something different in the way of an automobile, then have I got the car for you. This 1988 Yugo has been modified to compete in off-road rally competitions, and as a left-field, Eastern Bloc choice, it’s way out there. However, there is just something about this car that is quite appealing, and I have to thank Barn Finder Richard T for referring this little beauty to us. If you’re another person who can spot that appeal, then it can be yours for $4,500. The Yugo is located in Union Cross, North Carolina, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist.

The presentation of the little Yugo is quite decent. One of the things that I like is the fact that the owner seems to be describing the vehicle very much with his tongue in his cheek. He refers to the color as “beautiful Sahara Beige.” The panels and paint look good, and there are no obvious signs of rust. The Yugo is definitely high-riding, with the car lifted 2″ via custom-made strut spacers. The General Grabber snow tires underline the vehicle’s off-road credentials. To cope with the rigors of competition, the Yugo has also been fitted with skid-plates to protect the engine and fuel tank.

The interior of the vehicle is very much standard Yugo fare, which means little in the way of luxury appointments. The seats look to be a bit dirty and stained, but that’s always going to be par for the course in a competition vehicle like this. It does appear that the rear seat can be removed as needed, and in at least one shot there is a helmet net visible in the back. The rest of the interior looks to be in pretty decent condition, with nothing obviously broken, or in danger of just falling off.

Once again, the owner’s sense of humor comes to the fore when discussing the Yugo’s mechanical attributes he says that “This little gem runs and drives great! Or as great as it can with its little 53 HP engine.” It appears that the car gets pretty regular maintenance, with it recently receiving new fluids, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, hoses, and belts. He has also rebuilt the starter and alternator, and the car is fitted with a high-flow exhaust. However, he is also including the original exhaust if the new owner desires a bit of peace and quiet.

I don’t know, but this little Yugo has that indefinable something about it that makes it attractive in a weird sort of way. If you are looking for a car to get a start in some form of off-road sport, this looks like a cheap contender. It is being sold by a person who doesn’t take the car too seriously but seems to have done his utmost to try to make the Yugo as reliable as possible. He has also produced a YouTube video walk-around of the vehicle, and you can see that below. It’s not a particularly desirable car, but in its current guise, it’s definitely one that will get attention and start conversations wherever you go.

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  1. 71FXSuperGlide

    Funny, I never equate Yugo to off-road. Perhaps off-the-side-of the-road when it breaks down. :D

    Like 6
    • Andy

      How many here remember the joke about how to make a yugo go faster? Hook it up to the backside of a tow truck!

      Like 2
    • ScottMember

      Maybe that is what roads in Yugoslavia were like in the 80s. This was built for dirt!

      Like 0
  2. redwagon

    Next owner had better be handy with handtools as they will need them on a regular basis.

    Amazes me that as an off road vehicle there is not more rust. I think these were delivered with rust from the factory.

    Like 1
    • VWGOLF

      YES! My Dad bought one in 88′ and the clutch cable snapped. Dealer wasn’t going to replace it until my Dad told him “IT’S RUSTED RIGHT THROUGH!” Nothing like sitting exposed on the deck of a cargo ship on your trip from the mother land. Also, the car would jump between 1st and 3rd due to a sloppily stamped shift plate! Before he passed he gave my the keys as a joke. One of my most treasured possessions!

      Like 2
  3. Kenneth Carney

    Used to know a young lady who used a
    a car similar to this one to haul newspapers through the wilds of Polk
    City, Florida. Like this car, hers had a
    large roof rack to haul extra papers and
    an extra spare tire. She liked it so much
    that she bought 5 more of them for parts
    cars as parts were unavailable here in Polk county Florida. I can still recall Yugo
    owners picking through U-Pull-its just to
    scrape together enough parts to do a tune up on their cars and keep them
    running right. Wonder how many junkyards that guy went through just to
    get this car running–much less competing.

    Like 3
  4. 408interceptor

    With all the high wind warnings we’ve had lately this Yugo reminds me of the tragic 1989 accident where a Yugo was blown off the Mackinac Bridge and fell two hundred feet into the channel below.

    Like 0
    • Fred W

      To be fair, the Fix It Again Tony car that it was based on (128?) would have also been blown off the bridge and nearly as unreliable. I guess Yugo fans like the challenge of keeping it running.

      Like 0
  5. Tom

    The newspaper lady story reminded me of Belarus tractors:
    You could buy 4 Belarus tractors for the price of one John Deere – and you better buy all four so you have enough parts to keep one running – for a while anyway!

    Many a Belarus were sitting in the back 40 as they couldn’t get parts for them. man were they crude under the skin.

    Like 0
  6. JimmyJ

    I guess 4 hockey pucks and a roof rack is worth 4k?

    Like 0
  7. Will Owen

    My 128 was pretty reliable, compromised only by some elusive crap in the float bowl (affected starting only, and NOBODY could find it or fish it out), and some misalignment at the front from an inadequately repaired collision. But it was easily the fastest slow car I’ve ever driven, all but unstoppable over ice or snow, and more comfortable on long hauls than any other car but one.

    I would like to think its Slavic cousin could be as good, though build quality seems to have been the issue with these. However, seeing one not only outfitted as a mud-plugger, but apparently somewhat successful at it, has me wishing the car were not so far from California … if only because I’v already driven a marginally reliable little car that far, and I was 45 years younger then!

    Like 0
  8. Hollywood Collier

    I always heard they had dead bugs on the back glass because they were so slow. LOL.

    Like 5
    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember


      Like 0
  9. Kenneth Carney

    Hi Mike! How’s the hip? Hope you’re
    feeling better! Did you get the pics of the
    ’91 Ford pickup I sent you? We’re thinking
    of taking it off the market if all goes well
    and we can get it for the right price. It’s
    my cousin’s truck, and he wants out from
    under it badly. It’ll make a great scrap
    hauler once we get it and sort the
    mechanicals. Hopefully, that’ll be soon.
    Since my cousin stored it under our
    carport, I’ve been itching to start working
    on it! Take care pal, got a meeting at the
    bank for some business in the morning.
    Time to hit the sack! Night all!

    Like 1
  10. Pops

    Every time I see one of these I remember the joke about these cars having heated back glass, to keep your hands warm when you were pushing it in the winter. 😂 😂

    Like 1
  11. susan ingersoll

    I still have my 1988 Yugo and it runs great and I even got several speeding tickets.I drove my Yugo from California to Indiana and back, pulling a trailer. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

    Like 1

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