Wednesday, May 16, 2012

1988 Yugo - A Car Built For The 99% That Now Appeals To The 1% (Of Car Geeks, That Is...)

The last time I posted a Yugo I got a pretty scathing email from a reader. (Now, I assume, an ex-reader). He didn't understand why I would "waste (my) time" writing about "the worst car ever sold in North America." He ended his email by calling my post "internet pollution."

"The worst car sold in North America..." If 0 - 60 numbers, top speed, luxury and absolute reliability define your idea of a great car, the Yugo certainly might be the worst car sold in North America in the past 25 years.

However, if personality and character mean a lot to you (and they probably do if you're a regular reader of this blog), then the Yugo was not the worst car sold in North America. It had plenty of flaws, that's for sure, but it was a throwback to the days when brands like Simca, Hillman, Skoda, etc., sold imperfect, but personality filled cars in the US. 99% of the car buying public don't remember those days and / or don't miss them. 1% of us - even those of us too young to have bought some of those brands new - do. To us, the Yugo represents the last time we had that kind of choice.

Would I put my son / daughter / girlfriend / wife / significant other / mother in an old Yugo? No. I want them in something safe and reliable. But I respect the Yugo for what it was. In this day of cookie-cutter low end cars, the Yugo represents the last of a now dead breed. If I had unlimited car funds and space, there would most likely be one in my collection.

If I was in the market a Yugo today, this car would be one I would take a long look at.

This car has a 1500cc engine in it. I assume it's from a Fiat. Since the Yugo is based on an old Fiat, that's a fairly easy and somewhat common swap. It has a "sport grill" with integrated fog lights. It's been given a high end paint job and wears a set of factory stripes. It has an aftermarket sunroof that besides giving the inside of the car an open airy feeling, actually looks pretty good.

This is a Texas car. The upside of that is it is rust free. The downside is the Texas heat has started to take its toll on the interior. It's not horrendous yet, but given the condition of the rest of the car, it's worth repairing. (In general, someone needs to find a way to efficiently and profitably introduce Northeast interiors to Southwest bodies. It's sad that here in the Northeast we have all these cars with great interiors and crusty bodies, while in the Southwest the opposite holds true.)

Located in Fort Worth, TX, click here to see the eBay listing.

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