by Josh Sadlier, Yugo Eulogist on October 3, 2016
Our long-term 1989 Yugo GVL has been gone for weeks, but photo guy Kurt and I still have a small matter to resolve.
We had a friendly wager on the Yugo's final auction price, you see. I guessed $2,200 and he came back with $1,150. No Price Is Right rules, just whoever's closest.
Loser buys the Slivovitz.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on March 16, 2016
New cars nowadays are subject to all sorts of tests to ensure they're crashworthy, that they don't fall apart rolling down the highway, or flood with water if caught out in the rain or attacked by a sprinkler gone rouge.
After months behind the wheel and an indefinite number of miles covered, we can say in good confidence that The Bullet is 0-for-2 by modern measures. So of course we had to give it the opportunity to go for the Triple Crown and see what would happen if we drove it into an El Niņo downpour on purpose.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on January 18, 2016
The insightful lyrics of '80s hairband Cinderella couldn't ring truer after an exceptionally muscled editor snapped the window crank off the Yugo's driver-side door. A pair of mini vise-grips was a brilliant Band-Aid in the interim, but they lacked the mechanical efficiency that comes with a rotating knob.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on January 12, 2016
Kurt and I left the office around the same time for a holiday party back in December, piloting the 1989 Yugo GVL and the 2015 Acura TLX, respectively. He beat me, of course, so I had the privilege of pulling up behind the Yugo at the valet stand, creating an assuredly unprecedented TLX-Yugo-Range Rover sandwich.
Then the valet drove off in the Yugo and parked it next to a dumpster behind a hedge, and I got most it on video.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on January 4, 2016
Our 1989 Yugo GVL was a four-seater when it left the factory, and it still was when it came into our possession. But a funny thing happened at some point after the Pebble trip:
The driver seatbelt buckle fell apart, and some key components went missing.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on December 29, 2015
Everyone probably still remembers back in 2008 when gasoline prices hit a U.S. national average of more than $4 a gallon. Exciting times, they were. So exciting in fact that it was the first time I dealt with fuel theft, right in the backyard of my old office parking lot. Four employee personal cars parked in the lot overnight had their gas flaps pried open and their tanks siphoned empty. My old cargo van probably provided one of the largest scores, but escaped bodily damage thanks to the absence of a locking fuel door.
Had my van been equipped with proper fuel anti-theft technology like our 1989 Yugo GVL, perhaps the attack would have been thwarted entirely.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on December 10, 2015
To my significant other's great displeasure, I decided to take the Yugo home for a night. I also decided we needed to take the car somewhere nice for dinner, so I could share with her the joys of the Balkan Bullet.
It took some convincing to get her inside. Here are the top 10 reasons I used to persuade my wife to ride with me in the Yugo.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on December 4, 2015
"We need a new update on the Yugo. What's going on with it?" - @daryleason, 11/16/15
I was wondering that myself around the same time, so I signed out our beloved 1989 Yugo GVL for a night (choosing it over the Viper, incidentally). Turns out my last post needs a few footnotes.
Odometer fixed? Not anymore; we've hit a full stop at 41,838. Kinda makes me wonder if I imagined that it was working in the first place. Speedometer fixed? On further review, the needle does seem less spastic, but there's still a comical margin of error. At least the interior passenger door panel's still clipped on tight, and I have no reason to doubt that the gas tank remains sludge-free and appreciates its nice new filler hose.
But a fresh problem reared its head as soon as I twisted the key. The Italian stallion under the hood was raging, and I couldn't calm it down.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on October 16, 2015
Following its triumphant weekend in Monterey, our long-term 1989 Yugo GVL headed back to the Yugo Doctor for a few tweaks. The odometer had stopped working on the way home, for one thing, and we also wanted to get the gas tank cleaned and treated to solve our sludge problem once and for all.
While we were at it, we asked our man David to check the jumpy speedometer needle, clip the loose passenger door panel back into place and see if he could track down a replacement driver window crank.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on October 11, 2015
We needed a couple of tries to get our 1989 Yugo GVL up to instrumented performance testing standards. Now that it was as healthy as we've known it to be, the Yugo was ready for a day at the test track.
The proposition was a bit sketchy. Largely because this was the first time the car had run reliably in the past three weeks. We anticipated some laughs, a steady flow of sweat and even a few white knuckle moments. In the back of our minds we all wondered if it would survive the day but nobody said it out loud. This was going to be fun...
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on October 4, 2015
The slogan was small, but when I read it aloud, I felt like I was channeling some form of ancient Balkan strength. "YUGO FOR LIFE," I said to myself in an empty parking lot. "We should put that on a t-shirt." The sticker on the passenger-side window was the first hidden gem that I spotted on our long-term 1989 Yugo GVL, but it wasn't the last.
by Reese Counts Vehicle Testing Assistant on September 28, 2015
As the newest member of the Edmunds editorial staff, it's slim pickings when it comes to signing out a car for the evening. So slim in fact that one evening it came down to either my personal vehicle or a 1989 Yugo GVL. I was in the middle of moving so at the time my GTI was serving as a mobile storage unit. I felt my belongings were a little safer tucked away in the parking structure deep below Fort Edmunds.
That left me with one option.
by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on September 23, 2015
The first time I tried to take our 1989 Yugo GVL home, the car wouldn't start. Dead battery.
Not long after, I was asked (told?) to drive the Yugo to Huntington Beach for some more work at Top Tech Auto. It wasn't so much that I'd done anything wrong — the Yugo's main purpose in our fleet is to serve as a "penalty box" for editorial screw-ups, remember — but rather the bosses were calling this move a genius bit of "advance planning."
"It's only a matter of time before Monticello flubs up again," they said. "So let's just get it over with and punish him now."
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 20, 2015
It's a 284-mile drive down U.S. Route 101 from Soledad to Santa Monica. A few months ago, the prospect of tackling it in a 1989 Yugo GVL would have been laughable. Surely something would break and ruin the trip. Also our lives.
But the Edmunds Yugo was unstoppable from Boise to Los Angeles, and it never broke a sweat from L.A. to Watsonville. Then it schlepped us to the Quail, the Concours d'LeMons and the Concours d'Elegance on successive mornings. With the newly patched exhaust, it sounded better than ever.
Only a fool would bet against it now.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 17, 2015
With our 1989 Yugo GVL waiting patiently in the parking lot, we took a few leisurely strolls up and down Pebble Beach's iconic 18th fairway. It was mid-morning in Monterey. Dawn Patrol had officially given way to the Concours d'Elegance. The former may have been the highlight, but the latter wasn't exactly a letdown.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 15, 2015
The culmination of Monterey Car Week is the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and the calendar says it starts at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
But the best part isn't on the calendar; it starts before the sun comes up. There's nothing else like it.
"Dawn Patrol" is when most of the vehicles competing in the Concours actually drive out onto the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Some of the frailer entrants get parked out there the night before, but it's become a tradition for all able-bodied cars to join the early-morning procession, motoring one at a time past throngs of bleary-eyed admirers.
Ron and James elected to sleep in, but Mark and I set our alarms for 3:45 a.m. We were ready to go by 4:20.
Unhesitatingly, we grabbed the keys to our 1989 Yugo GVL.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 13, 2015
As noted, our 1989 Yugo GVL wasn't the only car entered in the Kommunist Kar class. There was one other competitor.
A 1989 Yugo GVL.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 10, 2015
When we met the CNN crew in Monterey on Saturday morning, they said they'd heard the long-term 1989 Yugo GVL coming from a few blocks away. But our MacGyver repairs were holding steady. I told them not to worry about the noise; the exhaust had been reinforced with coat-hangers and chicken wire. Behind their bemused expressions, I'm sure they were relieved.
The plan was for on-camera guy Peter Valdes-Dapena to drive the car to Laguna Grande Park in the neighboring town of Seaside — the site of the Concours d'LeMons — with me riding shotgun. And that's what we did, exhaust blaring all the while. They shot some car-to-car video en route, but nothing inside the cabin, so the leak actually wasn't a big deal. It also gave us some extra street cred when we pulled up to the Concours sounding like a chainsaw.
Once we claimed our parking spot in the "Kommunist Kar" section, the exhaust no longer stood in our way. There was only one thing left to do:
Win whatever it is that a Concours d'LeMons winner wins.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 8, 2015
When Mark and I left "The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering" on Friday afternoon, we were simply hoping to find a shop that could patch up the Yugo's leaky exhaust. But the situation escalated on the outskirts of Monterey when a metallic clanking noise joined the chorus.
Now we didn't just have a leak; we had an exhaust pipe dragging on the pavement.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 6, 2015
The first thing you need to know about The Quail is that it's not just called "The Quail." It only answers to "The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering." If there's anything more rarified than the actual Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach, this Friday morning fixture is it.
Our 1989 Yugo GVL was a natural choice for transportation.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 3, 2015
The drive from Top Tech in Huntington Beach to Edmunds HQ in Santa Monica was thankfully uneventful. No idle or power issues; full steam ahead. Miraculously, we had a strong-running 1989 Yugo GVL and were still on schedule for a 1:00 p.m. departure.
The rest of Team Yugo — Product Manager Mark Holthoff, Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya and Automotive Editor James Riswick — was ready to roll, Riswick in his personal 1998 BMW Z3 2.8 and the other guys in the long-term Murano.
But first, I had to pick up a couple things, both of which are on display in the photo below.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 1, 2015
We had one week remaining to get our 1989 Yugo GVL straight. Editor Elfalan had found a carburetor rebuild kit, but what if the stalling and stumbling was about more than just the carb?
As @desmolicious noted in a comment on J-Elf's post, the previous owner kept a few fuel filters in the trunk. "Keeping spare filters suggests the filters are getting clogged, suggesting there is some junk in the fuel system. Maybe you need to flush out the gas tank?"
Maybe so. Note, too, that the e-brake wasn't grabbing, we had no dash illumination and the cabin smelled like 87 octane. And CNN was sending a team to Monterey to drive the car on camera.
We needed to find an expert who could sort things out.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on August 30, 2015
You may recall that Editor Monticello was itching to take our 1989 Yugo GVL home in early August. Unfortunately, ignition was unavailable when he twisted the key. The battery had died.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on August 28, 2015
Our mission was as clear as it was terrifying:
Drive the long-term 1989 Yugo GVL to Monterey, loan it to Peter Valdes-Dapena of CNN for a segment on the Concours d'LeMons, win the Kommunist Kar class at said Concours, soak in the rest of the Monterey Car Week sights and drive back to Los Angeles, all without breaking down. Or, you know, perishing.
There were a few issues to resolve beforehand.
August 13, 2015
Back in 1989, insightful Zastava engineers were already looking to reduce tailpipe emissions with bleeding edge auto-stop technology. Okay, so credit actually belongs to the Italians for this one, as our Balkan Bullet shares engine heritage with the Fiat 128. And the auto-stop is more of a passive function on our 1989 Yugo GVL that occurs randomly and sometimes while we're still moving.
August 7, 2015
Our 1989 Yugo GVL certainly runs and drives, as they say, but there are a few things that uninitiated drivers should keep in mind. This came up today when Senior Road Test Editor Monticello informed me that he wants to take the Yugo tonight. Not as a punishment, mind you; just out of morbid curiosity.
Here's our email exchange in full. Hopefully I didn't scare him off.
August 3, 2015
The Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot is packed at 9:25 a.m. All parking spaces are full and there is a line of people out the door. Two lanes lead around to the back side of the building. In the right lane idles a row of at least 10 cars with sweaty teenagers behind the wheel, anxiously waiting to take their on-road driving test.
The left lane is for vehicle inspections only: Used cars, recently repaired cars or cars purchased out of state. I maneuver our 1989 Yugo GVL into the left lane and around the turn.
July 30, 2015
You've followed the continuing adventures of Kurt and Josh in their quest to get our 1989 Yugo GVL home under its own power. You've seen its first unofficial zero-to-60 run. You've seen the guys connect with the car over assorted foodstuffs from its region of origin.
And now you'll see if they can make it home.
For after nearly 900 miles, the Yugo starts getting fussy down the home stretch, particularly a stretch of very downhill freeway that connects the San Fernando Valley to coastal west Los Angeles, as seen in the photo above. The Fiat-sourced engine shows its true espresso-fueled character, only happy at high revs and wide-open throttle.
July 28, 2015
When we picked up our long-term 1989 Yugo GVL in Boise, Idaho, I didn't envy Josh Sadlier or Kurt Niebuhr. They had no air-conditioning in a terrifyingly underpowered car from the 80s and 900 miles of scorching hot desert to traverse. I was driving our long-term F-150 and never imagined that I would become jealous of the Yugo.
But somehow, I did.
July 21, 2015
Our 1989 Yugo GVL has been the surprise feel good hit of the summer. First it made it back from Boise under its own power. Then it ended up on Los Angeles television. Word and video of our oddball long-termer has even made it back to the motherland. Kurt tells us he's big in Serbia.
Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise. After all, our guys were smitten with this car the minute they settled into the front seats. Hit the jump to watch Kurt and Josh run down their initial impressions. Broken lap belts, under-seat recline levers, and a soupy gearbox (Josh: "I don't know what gear that is") can't break the Yugo's obvious spell on these guys.
Will it last?
July 20, 2015
Our 1989 Yugo GVL has quickly become a media darling, and it just had its first star turn in the bright lights of Los Angeles. The local ABC affiliate caught wind of the story and suggested shooting a segment on the mean streets of Beverly Hills.
After treating the Yugo to a well-deserved hand wash - unconscionably, it hadn't been cleaned since the drive from Boise - we met ABC's two-man crew in Beverly Gardens Park at 10:30 a.m., and the story went live that very evening.
Here's the clip in all its glory.
July 16, 2015
Some of the crew decided a 1989 Yugo GVL would make an ideal penalty box, one to which you could be assigned for a multitude of sins: missing a deadline, delaying the car signout sheet, opining that the seats in our long-term Mustang really aren't that bad.
Around here, there are fewer penalties more severe than a slow car. What's the old saw: it's more fun to drive a slow car fast? Well, I'll believe that when we finally take the Yugo off-highway in one of our local canyons, where we can have fun driving it slowly and destructively.
In the meantime, we're gathering data on the car. What follows in the video after the jump is our earliest instrumented testing - using two mobile phone apps - of the Yugo's acceleration, in a valiant effort by Kurt and Josh to extract some sass out of the old girl.
It's not pretty.
July 1, 2015
"What are you guys up to, anyway?" asks the proprietor of Bosnia Express. Her tone is friendly, her Eastern European accent soft but unmistakable.
We're approaching the register with armloads of Balkan foodstuffs like Cockta and Krem Banana. It's noon on a Saturday. We're on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho. Our five-man team left Los Angeles about 24 hours ago in the Edmunds long-term F-150 and A3, sleeping minimally in Winnemucca, Nevada. There's no known Balkan ancestry among us. Perhaps we look a little out of place.
We drop the Cockta on the counter and explain that we're about to buy a 1989 Yugo GVL and drive it back to L.A., and we need some appropriate snacks for the road.
"Oh! You must be buying Arko's Yugo. The white one, right?" She chuckles. "My husband drove it just last week."
Minds blown. She knows the seller? More importantly, the car is actually road-worthy? We found it on the devil that is Craigslist. All we really know is that it's got less than 40,000 miles on the clock, it's covered about 700 miles since 2002 and the engine has unspecified idle issues. Arko has already weighed in via text: "Would not recommend driving it to L.A. It looks better on a trailer lol." We've been wondering what condition we'll find it in.
"Oh yes, it runs. It's fine. He drove it all over the city."
This is greatly encouraging. But wait. Is her husband interested in buying the car?
"No." Zero hesitation. Then she cocks her head. "Why would you want to buy a Yugo?"