Ciao Tito: 1986 Yugo GV

There’s a scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy confronts his nemesis, the French Archaeologist Belloq in an Egyptian cafe.  Belloq holds up a cheap pocket watch and says it’s worthless, but if you bury it in the sand for 1,000 years it becomes priceless.  What about if you save a car that everyone thought was worthless for 25 years? Find this 1986 Yugo GV for sale in Spokane, WA for $12,000 via craigslist.

As everyone knows, the Yugo was a FIAT 127 licensed by the Yugoslavian company Zastava Automobili.  In fact, FIAT Chrysler now owns Zastava as FIAT Chrysler Automobiles Serbia.  The Zastava Koral was rebranded the Yugo and imported to the U.S. by Malcolm Bricklin’s IAI from 1985 – 1992.  Parts were made in various areas of the Yugoslavian Republic, with final assembly in Serbia.  As the Republic broke apart and a civil war broke out in the 1990’s, the Yugo ceased production.  It didn’t help that NATO mistook the Zastava Automobile factory in Serbia for the Zastava Small Arms factory and bombed it to oblivion.  I personally wonder if some of the pilots may have owned a Yugo in the past…

The Yugo was launched in the U.S. with 5 different models.  This car is a GV or Great Value, the cheapest model, stickering in 1986 at $3,990, the cheapest car you could buy in the U.S. at the time.  The GV was powered by a 1.1 liter engine kicking out 55 hp and connected to a 4 speed manual.  It was not only the cheapest car in the U.S. at the time, it was also the slowest.

The Zastava factory that produced the Yugo was patterned after FIAT factories of the 1950’s.  However, the U.S.-bound cars were built on a separate line with elite, hand-picked workers that earned extra pay (in a communist country!).

See something just as rare and just as valuable? email us here:

Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He once had to break the news to an acquaintance that had just bought two new Yugo’s for the price of  one new Japanese car, that they actually had two new 1970’s FIAT’s.