1989 Yugo GVL: More Like a McLaren F1 Than Ever
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.
I'm blaming Editor Lago for his otherwise heroic track test, which included a 15.3-second 0-60 run that obliterated MotorWeek's 16.0-second result when the car was new. I just don't think the buckle was built to withstand that kind of acceleration.
In any event, the buckle's productive days are behind it, which means that if you want to be completely legal in the driver seat, which of course we always do, you've got to find a new way to secure the lap belt. (Note: As any Yugo aficionado will tell you, there is a separate shoulder belt that clicks into a buckle on the door frame. That buckle is still intact. -Ed.)
The natural choice is the front-passenger buckle, just a few inches away. Works great for solo trips. But what if you've managed to talk someone into riding with you? Easier said than done, but great question. I'm pleased to announce that I have found the answer.
Turns out, if you pull the lap belt out all the way, it extends just far enough to connect with the driver-side buckle in the backseat. (Those Yugo engineers thought of everything!) On the downside, that means no one can legally sit behind the driver. But the rear position on the passenger side is still in play, so you can put an additional occupant back there for a total of three.
It follows that, as Kurt sagely observed when I shared my discovery, the Edmunds Yugo is now akin to the McLaren F1 in at least one important respect.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor