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1987 Yugo GV

The Auto Collection at Imperial Palace is well known for rare, expensive, high-performance cars that are highly sought after - and almost all of them for sale while at it.


Which makes the presence of a Yugo very odd. The Yugo, built in Communist Bloc Yugoslavia by Zastava (its home market name was the Zastava Koral) before the country's 1991 breakup, was the most affordable automobile in the US market, and one could be had for as little as $3,990. Although it was supposed to be a car for everybody - an affordable car for those on a budget, or a second car for the more affluent - the Yugo soon developed a reputation for cut-rate quality. So much so that it was said that the rear window defroster on a Yugo was there to keep the driver's hands warm as he pushed the car.


The Yugo suffered another hit in its reputation in 1989, when a woman driving one across Mackinac Bridge in Michigan in a strong crosswind was pushed off the bridge to her death.


While the car was indeed cheaply engineered and manufactured, it was not as bad as reputation would suggest. Much of the blame could be laid on the average Yugo owner having neither the knowledge nor the budget for even the most basic maintenance; it was a curse that also afflicted the Hyundai Excel, another cheap import in the 1980s. According to Wikipedia, the Yugo's main problem area was its cheaper carburetor-based emissions control system, rather than fuel injection that was more common even in the 1980s; its interference engine also needs frequent timing belt replacements, which most owners neglected until it was too late.


Nevertheless, with so few Yugos surviving, it makes sense to offer one for sale at Imperial Palace Auto Collection. This example, sold in Amarillo, Texas new and with only 1,826 miles on the odometer, is priced at $14,500. Parts availability is surprisingly good if one has contacts in the former Yugoslavia, as the Yugo shares many components with Zastava's other automobiles as well as the older FIAT models they were based on.


A third-party modified version of this photo, clearing the license plate and dealer insignia, was uploaded to Wikipedia for reference uses.

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Taken on May 29, 2011