Over the weekend I attended a little car meetup to benefit a local dog rescue shelter, and with my Pao still awaiting parts, decided to take my other exotic, my 1991 Yugo GV Plus, also my highest-horsepower car at a ravenous 67 hp. I managed to park it in a lineup that included a Ferrari, McLaren, lovingly restored classic Camaro, an AMG GT, and more. It was the equivalent of cramming a hubcap full of Hamburger Helper that you dropped on the way there onto a hors’ d’oeuvre table between foie gras and Waygu beef crostinis.
Still, I’m pleased to say lots of people spent time looking at the humble little orphaned car, enjoying its Yugoslav charms while ignoring the Ferrari right next door.
Then on the way out, I was encouraged to burn some rubber, and did, squeaking the tires in a comic chirp, and then immediately having to pull over as my throttle cable broke.
I jammed a pen into the throttle linkage to hold it at about 35% open, which was good enough to get home, even if it meant stoplights were loud. Kind of the perfect finish to it all, really.
I wish I’d known about that event, I would have tried to make it.
I see the dirt on the Yugo windshield was part of the schtick. But I reckon that if you would’ve zipped it through a carwash and vacuumed it out prior to parking that communist beauty, you would have been really fending off the crowd.
Everyone would have been asking you if “Is that the original paint?” and “do those numbers match for engine and body?”, “are those factory seats?” etc.
Any time you can limp it home, it’s a win.
And showing off and breaking something in the process is always funny to everyone else. I used to (briefly) work with a guy who bought an old beat-up Chevy truck and was trying to show off leaving work one day. He revved it up, dumped the clutch, and the front U-joint exploded. A chunk of it hit the boss’s car and put a big gash in the door. Nothing quite like getting fired and then having to wait for a tow…
New Throttle Cable on order from Serbia (Former Yugoslavia)?
You know I’d be more interested in the Yugo than the Ferrari too.. sure it’s fast and it’s expensive but the Yugo has character, you didn’t bring it to show off, you brought it to share with others.
Dang kids, doing burnouts in the parking lot, ruining meetups for the rest of us.
Turd in the pools is a harsh, but fair, way to judge that Mustang.
It’s that Diaper Green paint job that gets me.
Oh man, I love out of place, humble things amongst pretentious and/or trying-to-hard things.
It remembers me of the Ramchargers’ High and Mighty, that looked like a half assed, redneck backyard project, but it was in fact quite bad ass. Or, for something more famous, the awesome Red Pig, a fat Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL, seemingly outclassed by every other car, but capable of running shoulder to shoulder with any of them.
Of course, we know that the Yugo is as crappy as it looks, but somehow this is even more charming. Maybe a more apt comparison is with that skinny guy that went to a bodybuilding competition for some reason.
Man, this post would be soo much better with pictures! For anyone interested, this is what you are missing:
High and Mighty: https://www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/this-car-changed-drag-racing-the-ramchargers-high-mighty/ (good Lord, that look is so good!)
Red pig: https://www.motor1.com/news/173986/mercedes-amg-red-pig/
“Bodybuilder” with no Fs to give: https://funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/286419/Waste/#75e462_397225
Love that throttle fix – did the same exact thing on my gf’s VW Bug, long ago. I think the clutch went out soon after that, but let’s not talk about that.
The Changli really would have blown peoples minds!
Oddball cars are much more fun at shows than most exotics. It just cost money to have a Ferrari (and maybe a lot of money) but it takes dedication to keep old shitboxes humming.
It can and does cost money as well. It’s just in small, steady increments.
When I sold my ZX2 and bought something new, I reasoned that the monthly payment was the same, I just knew when it would be coming out of my account and wouldn’t lose my car for a couple days when I paid it.
Haha yeah shitboxes cost money too, on top of dedication.
I remember the first time I saw a Yugo in person. I worked at a full-service gas station in East Texas, during the Summer of 1988.
*NOTE* — For people who don’t live in New Jersey or Oregon, full-service gas stations were places back in the days of yore where someone came out and pumped your gas, checked the oil and tires, etc., for you.
Anyway, one day a shiny new Yugo rolled up to the pump. It seemed to run well at that point in its life. I was actually impressed at how little thought and expense was invested in the build quality of a new car, which is a statement considering most of the cars I’d ever owned or worked on were products of Malaise Era Detroit.
As an aside, My brother had an infamous string of run-ins with Yugos in Washington, D.C., in the late ’80s. He was involved in three different accidents in which three different Yugos driven by three different drivers crashed into him. He was starting to take it personally.
Driving around the Beltway has always been an adventure.
New Jersey doesn’t have full service gas stations. They’re just no-self-serve-allowed.
The typical Jersey gas station attendant merely fills your tank 95% full from the wrong side of the car, scratches your paint, makes you wait forever to pay, and then spills some fuel on your fender. There is no glass cleaning, oil checking, or tire pressure checking.
Wouldn’t how you pulled up decide whether fuel hose needed stretching across the car?
R U Victim Blaming?
Have you ever gotten gas in Jersey? You pull up where he tells you to pull up if you want gas.
What? I’ve never seen that.
The topic does remind me of the time we had a visitor from our VA office who cursed out the attendant for not cleaning his windshield. What a dick.
Good point. The term “full-service” extends beyond simply pumping gas. Another result of New Jersey’s policy is that people who never leave the state lack an important life skill.
One of my wife’s coworkers, who lives outside Newark and commutes by train to the office in D.C., recently had to use a rental car in Virginia. My wife rode with her for part of the trip. They were in Western Virginia when they reached a quarter tank. My wife ended up filling the tank because her coworker had lived in New Jersey all her life and had no clue about how to do it.
Definitely the most interesting car in that lineup. I probably see every other car in that lineup a couple of times a week but I haven’t seen a Yugo in years. I’d be right with those guys ignoring the Ferrari.
Love the picture. Rode along with a BMW club to a massive C&C in Charlotte NC once. I ignored all the Ferraris and exotica and spent my time in the backfield amongst the oddballs. Pictures on now-dead phone and don’t remember details, except that I spent quite a while talking to a gentleman with a Citroen DM(I think) as I could relate to that more than the (some special model) McLaren everyone was drooling over.
One weekend, I decided to take my Triumph Spitfire to the Saturday cruise-in here instead of my ’68 Olds, and it was awesome. Every time a couple walked by, the wife would make them stop and look at the Spitfire while the husband looked annoyed at the detour between all the GTOs and Hellcats.
how to say you live in Tennabama without haven’t to actually say it
Similar story here- So my teenage daughter was interested in a boy and wrangled an invite to a flash mob type car show, knowing I took my car to shows- I couldn’t believe when my Jensen Healey got more teenagers attention than the supercharged skyline a few cars down!
Holy shit, the Yugo is exactly 1hp away from being twice as powerful as my Renault 4. That thing must be terrifying/awesome to drive at highway speeds!
That’s 10% more than my Clio 2!
Drove my Rental Skoda from Sarajevo to Modena. Parisian Ferrari club was in town for Imola. It got parked among them. No pictures though
Would love to see you do this at our local posh car show. It’s not that far from you. http://www.theautolawn.com/ It’s really not that snooty, just a fun little local event. The Volvo people should make things different this year.
So funny. I had the same thing happen to me with a VW bug. I ended up tying a string (fishing line really) to it and my friend controlled the gas for me. Why didn’t you do the same, and have your son control the gas?
My dad had an IH cabover grain truck and the throttle return spring broke. You used the pedal to open the throttle and pulled a string to close it.
I am of the opinion that everybody should drive an absolute shitbox for at least one year so they better appreciate a decent car.
Yep, drive a shitter for a year to learn mechanical sympathy and basic maintenance, ride a moped for a month to really learn road craft, anticipation and awareness.
“I am of the opinion that everybody should drive an absolute shitbox for at least one year so they better appreciate a decent car.”
In my very limited experience many Ferrari’s ARE absolute shitboxes. On the metric of reliability anyway.
When the throttle cable broke on my Honda CB350, I had to improvise as well. Having two carbs made things challenging. I rigged a piece of cord to the throttle lever on each carb over the gas tank. With my hand under the throttle cord, I was able to control the two carbs by rotating my hand to balance them out andpulling up to accelerate. Interesting riding like a bucking bronco rider all the way home, yee ha! As an aside, my 11 year old grand kid rides bulls at local rodeos.
Visually outstanding amongst all those swoopy excessmobiles.
You penned another great article.
Jason, I know you have history with your Yugo in particular, but I have a line on a REALLY nice red one in Fargo. Just saying.
But does it come with factory applied TruCoat?
C’mon,Jason, fess up! You were there to sell The Autopian nail polish to Nail Tek that we clearly see in the background.
Well, now we all need to get to that Nail Tek to try it out!
As an owner & wrencher of many old Volvos I never felt that I had fully fixed my 240’s if I didn’t use a twig stuck in some wire loom or clip to hold things together.
My old 855 had a hand-operated throttle for a bit. The project 245 I’m currently (sadly) selling had the decency to have its throttle mechanism freeze up while I wasn’t driving it.
Hold on, the commenter fka Fuzzy Plushroom?! LOLVO? Now there’s a blast from the (redactedlopnik) past.
Nice to see ya, mang
The very same! Cheers! Always nice to see your comments here too.
Though I wish we had a reply system… and an edit button.
The ending couldn’t have been more perfect.
Better check your car to make sure that green mustang didn’t give you a door ding!
Reminds me of an incident that happened in the 80s. My father-in-law was using a beat-to-snot early model Pinto as his commuter vehicle. We were going out to lunch in an affluent part of Los Angeles and moments after we pulled into a parking spot a gorgeous 930 Slantnose comes roaring into the space next to us. I was already out of the Pinto and as the driver and passenger got out of the 930 I chirped, “hey, make sure you don’t ding the doors on our car – it’s a classic!” The passenger thought it was hilarious, the douchebro driver not so much.
I’m totally down with people bringing generally unloved cars/normie cars in unexpectedly good condition/forgotten cars to car shows. As far as I am concerned they are just as much a part of automotive history as any Ferrari or Corvette. Even if Jason wasn’t Jason, if he brings the Pao or the Yugo to a show I’m talking to him long before I talk to someone with a more “typical” offering.
People scoffed at the Pinto, but Ford sold three million of them.
Pinto’s main competition was the Chevy Vega. Back in the day, I had a sister with a new Pinto, a brother with a newish Vega, and another brother with a beat to crap Pinto wagon. The Pinto was the better car.
Better by far.
The Vega was a serious disappointment. It was actually a good-looking little car, but just about everything about it was a design failure.
Clever work around!