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 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."
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 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?"