R.A-S.H: The Yugo 45/55


Hello, and greetings from Mistley. Welcome to the seventh outing for Rusty’s Archive of Showroom Hyperbole.

One criticism that might reasonably be levelled at this series is the higher than average level of snarkiness that I direct at the material I’m supposed to be objectively discussing. Well, I assure you that the level of snark I dole out has a proportional relationship with the amount of spin that the manufacturer applies to his publicity material.

Ergo; Bullshit Detected  ≥ Snark.

Sometimes, though, a subject presents itself which is lower hanging than the very fattest, juiciest fruits. Snark is barely even necessary when a car and its brochure is almost self-ridiculing. Time, then, for the Zastava Yugo.


“Everything a new car should be”.

Ok, we’ll let the first one go.

“Up to the minute design isn’t the only thing that sets the Yugo apart from the crowd. Advanced engineering gives responsive handling and crisp performance.”

I’m not going to say anything. I’ll merely allow time for the gravity of the above two sentences to sink in.

OK, I am going to say something. No, no I’m not.

“Put any Yugo through it’s paces and you’ll soon discover you’re driving one of the best all-rounders on the road today.”

Well, to be honest this isn’t even a lie;  at least if we assume they’re talking about comparisons within an extremely strict set of budget parameters, and excluding second-hand cars. Infact, they’re not saying  the best, anyway. Could be tenth best, or thousandth best. Clever writing.

“First class travel, wherever you go”

OK, what kind of cheap-arse airline do you fly?

“The special order GL version adds a sporty finish, with a comprehensive array of features including alloy wheels, low profile tyres, front air dam, rear spoiler, near side exterior mirror, twin fog lamps, rear mudflaps and digital clock”.

This was quite a mouth-watering array of bits ‘n bobs, and a digital clock is a noble feature indeed for your budget car in 1985.

Alas, the main problem faced by this brochure was the inescapable fact that the Yugo 45 (and Koral that arose from it) was basically a thinly disguised Fiat 127, a car that had been produced since dinosaurs roamed the earth. The 45GL, and throbbingly up-engined (1.3 litre) 55GLS were the top-spec models and hence wore the aforementioned trinkets.


But it was a bit cruel to dress such a humdrum (if quite honest and unpretentious) machine in such a gaudy get-up. The spangly plastic addenda; wheelarch extensions, side skirts and “aerodynamic” appendages did nothing but weigh the car down and peel off in the automatic car wash (a friend of mine’s parents had one when I was at school, and that was exactly what happened to it). It was silly and unconvincing, in the same way that my Grandmother wouldn’t fool anybody if she turned up at the commonwealth games wearing a Nike leotard.

The whole brochure reads as a paean for the easily-led. Many an elderly, impressionable or naive personage could be quite merrily taken in by a publication that plays the emotions by claiming:

“..First past the flag on speed, performance, good looks and sheer indomitable spirit”.


And they were masters of context. Witness their expert use of an excerpt from an Autocar review:

“Performance is right up to expectation”.

I’d quite like to have a go in one of these; I’ve only ever sat shotgun. But if it never happens, well, at least I own the brochure.

<Disclaimer:- All photos were taken by the author and are of genuine original manufacturer publicity material, resting on the bonnet of a 1998 Audi A4, before the snow proved too much. All copyright rights remain in the possession of the manufacturer, who currently don’t really exsist so we can pretty much say as we like>

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19 responses to “R.A-S.H: The Yugo 45/55”

  1. Alff Avatar

    A brochure which doubtlessly could serve as this car's replacement head gasket, when the need inevitably arises.

  2. TurboBrick Avatar

    “What makes Yugo everything a new car should be” – And they show a picture of a steering wheel and an engine. Yes, I agree, every car should have those. That's setting the bar awfully low though.

    1. Kris_01 Avatar

      A Datsun! A Toyota! A Mustang! A Buick! Four wheels and a seat!

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    The yellow notchback panel van in the lower corner of the last page looks interesting.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Aha, the 311. You never got that, did you? Sometimes I forget how spoilt we are.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        No, we never did. That sort of thing just forces us to show more initiative*, as my driveway will attest.
        *Or willful suspension of disbelief.

  4. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I'm a bit intimidated by the level of manliness needed to contend with the sporty and opulent GLS. Not to mention being able to push it up all the hills around here.

  5. Kris_01 Avatar

    Wait wait wait, what's this Yugo 3 & 5 series that looks like a thinly disguised '81 Toyota Tercel?
    Ironically, you can get a new Lada Niva in the UK with that blanked out side window. UK registrars call it a "van" and give you a tax break if used for commercial purposes.

  6. Devin Avatar

    Is it strange that I want body color wheels to come back into style? It's probably normal.

    1. Van_Sarockin Avatar

      If the feeling persists for more than four hours, seek immediate medical attention.

    2. dr zero Avatar
      dr zero

      It's not strange if it applies to old Mercedes hubcaps.

    3. JayP2112 Avatar

      The kid and I were watching the B-J auction this weekend and he noticed the Shelby up for charity:
      <img src="http://www.mustangevolution.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/20130119-230610-585×250.jpg&quot; width="450">
      Gave him the lo-down on the 80's and Alpina BMW.
      Saw a late model gunmetal grey Bonneville SSE SC with body colored wheels. Looked hot… for the plume of smoke coming from the hood. Man! Get outta that car!!

    4. Vavon Avatar

      No, you are totally right!
      It works really well on white cars and on silver or grey cars.
      <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/342716/8.jpg1..jpg">
      However I'm not too sure about other colours, like red for example…
      <img src="http://gomotors.net/pics/Volkswagen/volkswagen-polo-fox-06.jpg&quot; width="600/">

  7. Jack Yan Avatar
    Jack Yan

    The 3- and 5-series? Cool. Yugo really was the Balkan BMW.
    The 7-series was presumably the Yugo Florida.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      You're more correct than you know! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zastava_Automobiles#

      1. Jack Yan Avatar
        Jack Yan

        OMG! This is too good!

  8. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    “Everything a new car should be”.
    Ok, we’ll let the first one go.
    Hooniverse owes my employer a new keyboard…

  9. KevinKiley Avatar

    I see you got your Audi's bonnet repainted. The woodgrain looks tacky, IMHO.

  10. Slow_Joe_Crow Avatar

    You need the proper context, while the Yugo was risible in comparison to a Peugeot 205 or Honda Civic, it was a major step up from a Trabant.

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