My Coworkers Hate Me: I Own A 1991 Yugo Now

I thought I was nice. I thought I was a kind, friendly face around the office. A generous boss as No. 2 at Jalopnik. I thought these people were my friends. I was wrong, and I know that because I am now the proud owner of a 1991 Yugo GV Plus.

I don’t know what I possibly could’ve done to deserve this fate, other than my greatest shame, of course. My deepest, darkest secret: I don’t actually own a car.


Well, I didn’t own a car. Now I do. A Yugo, to be specific.

I live in New York City, a garbage town full of garbage people, and I lose approximately $330 a month to student loans. Factor in the $250 a month for my building’s parking garage, and the $250 a month for insurance (which insisted on the parking garage), and actual car ownership in a walkable city with a viable subway system seemed unnecessary. Or so I thought.


(Sure, we get press cars every now and then, and it’s enough to drive those and park those temporarily. But actual ownership? Like I said, this is my great shame. I’ve owned cars before, but that was another life a few years ago. Feel free to get your “HIPSTER GAWKER CAR BLOGGER” comments out now.)

But Jalopnik’s own Freddy Hernandez, and my boss, Patrick George, knew that this was an injustice that could not stand. So they bought this Yugo, with all of 77,000 miles on it, to fix that. They have very generously registered and insured it, and now it’s on me to own it, cherish it, hug it, and drive it.


Rest assured, I can see my life flashing before my eyes.


I’ve driven it a few blocks so far, and already I’m falling in love with the little peach of Communist myopia. The steering wheel is at a strange angle, so it would feel like you’re driving a bus if it were not for the aftermarket racing tiller. The handbrake doesn’t work. The throttle pedal is, mysteriously, underneath the center console just like a Lancia Stratos. Its 1.3-liter fuel-injected engine was essentially pulled out of an old Fiat.

It’s got surprisingly good acceleration for a car with just 67 horsepower when new, though it actually weighs even less than a Lotus Elise, so it’s basically a Lotus Elise.


Car Talk once deemed this the “Worst Car Of The Millenium.”

And now it’s mine.

Stay tuned for more. Much more.

Share This Story

About the author

Michael Ballaban

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

PGP Fingerprint: 0D03 F37B 4C96 021E 4292 7B12 E080 0D0B 5968 F14EPGP Key