OK, when was the last time you saw one of these anywhere, much less for sale and in apparently decent condition?
The Pick of the Day is a “rare for a reason” 1988 Yugo GV hatchback, a tiny critter derived from the ubiquitous Fiat 128 and built in Yugoslavia, which doesn’t exist anymore. The same for 99 percent of these cars, which tended to disintegrate on American highways.
If this one looks familiar, that could be because I featured this very Yugo just about a year ago offered by the same Canton, Ohio, dealer. When I stumbled on it again in the listings on ClassicCars.com, I couldn’t resist giving it another shot. The dealer probably could use a little encouragement, too.
Brought to this country by controversial automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklyn, who partnered with manufacturer Zastava, these cars were marketed with an appealingly low price of $3,999, which was cheap even 30 years ago. They were initially a fairly big success, purchased by people who not only were tired of lofty new-car prices but wanted something with the charming pizazz of a European runabout.
They were fun to drive and high on the cuteness scale, even if they were tiny (just 11 feet long and weighing 1,800 pounds) and underpowered (55 horsepower from a 1.1-liter inline-4 engine). They also were the butt of jokes from the outset (“How do you double the value of a Yugo?” “Fill the tank with gas.”)
Unfortunately, they were not all that sturdy or reliable, which is too bad, really. Before long, the jokes started turning increasingly nasty.
This little Yugo has a lot of appeal, though, not only because it apparently runs but because it looks remarkably clean and new. The paint glistens and the Spartan interior appears to be in nice condition. You gotta love the irony of the fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror.
The dealer is most likely anxious to dicker with anyone interested in buying this fine piece of Balkan engineering, as evidenced by the asking price going down precipitously from $7,495 last year to $5,900 (or best offer) today.
This would be a fine opportunity for someone with a contrarian streak to own the ultimate in reverse snobbery. Better hurry, though, because it might not be available next year.
I’m kind of surprised Jay Leno hasn’t grabbed it as a conversation piece. He undoubtedly would come up with some better jokes.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day