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?"