Thursday, August 16, 2012

The best looking Yugo I've ever seen

Custom Yugo

There are some older cars you see from time to time that you don't expect to see in really good shape. My boss has a pristine 1978 Ford Fairmont with 23,000 original miles. I recently saw an early '80s Buick Skylark in near showroom condition. Maybe it's the fact that so many of these vehicles, which weren't exactly the darlings of enthusiasts, are in such poor shape, it's amazing when you see one that isn't.

Case in point, this Yugo I saw at the Portland Historic Races. Overall, this Eastern Block-mobile looked amazingly good. At first glance I thought it might have been a VW Rabbit or some obscure '80s European hatchback (which it kind of is) Heck, I don't think they looked this good new.

It appears this Yugo has a custom exhaust system exiting in front of the rear wheel, some custom fog lamps up front, and it looks to be lowered. It also has no bumpers, for what it's worth. It was wearing good red paint, '80s-era alloy wheels, and overall, for what it is, looked like the car that time forgot. And for a Yugo, that's a huge complement.

Nice Yugo. Did I just type that?

This was, by far, the best looking car I've ever seen that was made in the former country of Yugoslavia during the 1980s. And while that might be ultra-specific, you simply don't see many Yugos around, let alone ones that actually looks good. Heck, I'd drive it. This one even had the rear window defroster, which was there to keep your hands warm when pushing them after they broke down ...

A Yugo in good condition.


Steve "SailDesign" Baker said...

Be fair... The Yugo was merely a FIAT that was built in a Soviet-bloc factory, no worse that SEAT or Polski FIAT (and certainly no better)
They fared badly here primarily (in my NSFHO) because the country just wasn't ready for a small car yet. Yes, they broke down a lot, mostly because no-one knew how to fix them or keep them in tune.

Andy Lilienthal said...

Yes, there is FIAT DNA in the Yugo, you're 100% right.

However, "wasn't ready for a small car yet," I'm not so sure about. We'd had the Rabbit, Dodge Omnis, Mitsubishis, Chevy Sprints and Spectrums; there were a good amount of small cars on the road. However, the Yugo undercut the price of a lot of these. You get what you pay for, right?

Ducati Scotty said...

My neighbor was a professional mechanic and bought one of these. He lost the clutch while it was fairly new because the head bolts came loose and flames shooting out burned through the cable. He sold it sometime later. FIAT was never the bastion of reliability and I'm sure building them elsewhere did not increase quality.

That said, it was one of the last cars that pretty much anyone could afford new. Not many of those around these days.

Unknown said...

Many Yugos fared poorly because people who wanted to pay as little as possible for a new car also wanted to pay as little as possible to maintain it. Also many Yugos were sold by domestic car dealers who didn't know how to properly service its quirky FIAT-based drivetrain.

But yes, the build quality was pretty bad as well. Yugo made improvements over time and even eventually offered 1 year of free maintenance with the car, but by then their reputation was already ruined.

p.s. Yugoslavia was not part of the Soviet bloc. They had their own brand of Communism.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Serbia(part of ex Yugoslavia) I have Yugo45 (903Ccm,45hp) from `87 and i payed it 300euros one year ago. Maybe it is slow and uncomfrtobale car but i must say that is very reiable car. If its maintained normally u wont expect big failures of engine. Anyway clutch for this car is 15 euros, comletly gear box can be found for 40 euros. All car parts are very cheap and you can find them everywhere(in Serbia),that is the reason why a lot of people drivig those car here after so many years of end of production. Yugo models after 2000 were produced with Peugot engine. Yugo45 had Fiat 127 engine in original shape,but Yugo 55,60,65 have modified engines with more hp and biger ccm. Yugos for U.S. where more luxury and better than those here. yugos up to 1990 were made more quality thand yugos after and its qvite normally to see older yugo in better shape. Yugo body is very bad made,after 5-6 years rust is everywhere,after 10 year you dont have floor.Maybe it is not best car in world but it is the car u can buy for 300 euros,drive it 2 years and than again buy new one for 300(for two years u dont need to repair it,drive it until brake apart) P.S. Yugoslavia was not part of Soviet bloc. In some periods was in better relation with U.S. than SSSR. Yugoslavia was establisher of Council of Non-Aligned and that was the biggest pact in world. China,India,Cuba and almost all Communist countries.