Thursday, August 12, 2010

1990 YUGO Convertible - A Very Rare Car

Look out your window right now. You have a better chance of seeing a Bugatti Veyron drive by than a Yugo Cabriolet. Only 75 Yugo Cabrios were built. Bugatti has built around 5 times as many Veyrons.

OK, even I, as car-geeky as I am, wouldn't choose a Yugo over a Bugatti, but still, this is one very rare car.

Let's get all the Yugo truisms and misconceptions out of the way. The Yugo was not a great car, but it wasn't quite as bad as legend would have it. With proper maintenance it could be a fairly reliable car. But, the car was not very well put together and the materials used were cheap. In reality, interior and trim pieces will most likely break, wear out or fall off before you have any mechanical problems (and these are much harder to source than mechanical parts). It's not especially roomy or comfortable but, like the old Fiat it's based on, it can be a lot of fun to drive in an old-school "keep the revs up" kind of way.

The Cabrio was going to be the start of a new image and a new line of cars for Yugo the US. The engine was now a 1.3 liter and the sedans got fuel injection. (I have no idea why, but the Cabrio still had a carburetor.) The Cabrio had a power top and a 5 speed transmission (earlier Yugos were all 4 speeds). Yugo planned on bringing in a new car, the Giugiaro designed "Florida", and offer an automatic transmission as an option on all their cars. Except for the 75 Cabrios that made it here, none of that happened. Yugo was bankrupt in the US by 1991 and was temporarily bombed out of existence in Serbia shortly thereafter. (They came back and the last Yugo rolled off the assembly line in November, 2008. Fiat now owns the factory.)

This Yugo Cabrio appears to be in remarkable condition. It has a new top and interior. The timing belt was recently done (very important on a Yugo), and the brakes and exhaust are new. The Buy It Now price is just $4500.00.

I wrote about a similar Yugo Cabrio back in March 2009. I ended that post with this paragraph: "A bright yellow Yugo isn't for everyone. But, if you're looking for something different and don't care about the attitude and misconceptions some people will have about your car, this Yugo may be for you. Best of all, you'll have a little piece of automotive history, one very few people own". I can't think of a better way to sum up this car and the Yugo Cabrio in general.

Located in Orlando, FL, click here to see the eBay listing.

A big thanks to JaCG reader, Michael, for send me the link to this car!


Max Power said...

Back in 1990, I saw a yellow/grey Yugo Cabrio at the NY Auto ugly...such a wrong color combination...and yet it stuck with me. So much so, this has become my 'Eleanor'. If it wasn't for a recent possibility of me losing my job, I would snap this up immediately. Then again, maybe it is always best to have an 'Eleanor' in my mind only.

m4ff3w said...

Back in 2004, I was looking for a small fuel efficient car for my 80 mile/day commute. I saw a small grey convertible for sale at a tiny little car lot.

It was parked where I couldn't see it very well, but after some research, I determined it was a Yugo Cabrio. It was offered for $900.

I decided to ask around on the yahoo message board group about the car. They BLASTED me for daring to drive such a long commute in such a rare car.

One guy offered to trade me his "race" Yugo as a "finders fee" for it. I took him up on his offer. The car he brought down and signed over to me was his autocross/Grass Roots Motorsports Challenge car. It even had a Fiat 1500cc engine swapped in. It was great fun. That guy is now one of my better friends.

Before I made the trade, I spoke with a gentlemen in Houston who runs a Yugo parts business. He knew the entire history of that car, like you hear some people talk of rare Ferraris.

The Yugo I got from Jonny really made me respect Fiats (I've since owned an X1/9) and I now try to educate people when they make Yugo jokes.

Michael said...

Jason Vuic wrote an excellent book about the Yugo and the man (Malcom Bricklin) behind bringing the car to the United States. It's a great read.

Bill said...

The Fiat 128 chassis in all its iterations is brilliant engineering, usually let down by the build or the materials.When they were nearly new I spotted a red, and a silver Yugo Cabrio on the street. Red one looked sharp! Learned from this post too, as I did not know just how few were made. Oh yeah, I am a Fiat partisan, I run an X1-9...

Anonymous said...

This is my Yugo Cabrio 1,3 EFI , Yugo is excellent car

darrell saunders said...

I purchased this car from a dealer in Kansas City Kansas. I have restored it to like new condition. It is the hit of all of the car shows in the Ohio area. People pas the T-Birds Chevy's and the street rods to talk about this car. I have two more in mint condition as well. They were featured in the Columbus Dispatch feature article on April 21, 2014