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Find out why Wally fainted! Call Swithland now!Yugoslavia’s answer to the Fiat 125 started appearing in British forecourts in the late 1970s alongside classics of Euro-tinniness the Lada Riva and Skoda Estelle. Most famously flogged in the UK via Swithland Motors, who went all-out with a TV campaign featuring Samantha Fox in the regulation tight-fitting T-shirt stiltedly enthusing about her brand new and reasonably priced Yugo hatchback to hapless, Morris Traveller-driving, Open University lecturer-resembling no-mark neighbour Wally. Swithland collapsed in 1993 after a massive fraud scheme was uncovered, but the Yugo itself continued until 2008, thus outlasting its namesake country of original by nearly two decades.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    August 9, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Almost as bad as the FSO, which boasted none of the luxuries of the Yugo and made a Lada feel like a Rolls Royce. A neighbour was taken in the local dealers hype about the FSO being £ 2000 cheaper than a Ford Escort 1.3 and the comment, ” what’s more important, an extra 10 mph or saving £ 2000.” While, yes, he saved £ 2000 initially, the car was a reliability nightmare that spent most of the time in the garage, when it did work it was as noisy as a tractor, the extra 10 mph would have come in useful as it had the performance of a slug and had all the comfort of a park bench and was so basic it lacked a heated rear window. He ended up trading it in for peanuts and decided to buy, ironically, a used Ford Escort. At least the Yugo had a sunroof and a body kit.

  2. Topov

    July 22, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Yugo 45 hatchback (basic model – white with GoFaster stripes, yes, but no sunroof, and certainly no spoiler) . My first car. My reward for passing the test first time having learnt in the vicinity of the suicide circle that is London’s Old Street roundabout. The diarrhea-after-a-Rogan-Josh-coloured interior (plastic-moulded console and PVC-and-nylon-fuzz seat covers) had to been seen to be believed.

    I remember driving it all the way from J2 of the M1 to somewhere in the Wearside wilderness beyond Scotch Corner. Took all day – the damn thing couldn’t do more than 60mph wind-assisted and was so rattly and noisy that I staggered out at the destination feeling like I’d just gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel. 100 times.

    Next motor seemed to be just one up on the car-evolutionary scale on first appearances: 2 door Rover Metro 1.4 (them with the Honda engine). It was the best car I ever had. It took me 200 miles north of the Arctic circle in Finnish Lapland, to Greece, Spain, Italy. And back. Without a single problem (though I understand that Rovers with the K-series engine are practically guaranteed to have the head gasket to go tits-up – it was even on Watchdog, that, cos Rover wouldn’t do a recall, serves them right for going out of business). . Anyway, old SuperMetro now has nearly 4000,000 miles on the clock – my old Dad in Cornwall drives it now.

  3. Richard Davies

    August 10, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Fiat did a good trade with selling off thier old tooling behind the Iron Curtain.

    The Lada Riva was based on the 124, the FSO on the 125 (with some bits from earlier Fiats) & the Yugos on the 127 & 128.

    Supposedly they got in exchange a job lot of scrap metal, which was melted down to make new Fiats, which might explain how 1970s Fiats were very rust prone, but could be a bit of Jeremy Clarkson whimsy.

  4. scott holmes

    November 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    therae are only 80 yugos left on british roads!! nato bombed the factory in the 1990s!!

  5. Morgan

    August 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    An easy ten points if you can name the film this reasonably priced automobile starred in? Here is a massive clue:

    Sgt. Joe Friday narrating: “After losing the two previous vehicles we had been issued, the only car the department would release to us at this point was an unmarked 1987 Yugo…a Yugoslavian import donated as a test vehicle by the government of that country and reflecting the cutting edge of Serbo-Croatian technology.”

    • Will M

      September 20, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      It was featured in Die Hard 3?

  6. Richard16378

    August 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    The quote is from Dragnet.

  7. Will M

    September 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    A middle class friend’s parents were a 2 car family, they had a swanky new Rover 200 (the R8 version, when Rover suddenly became respectable around the end of the 80s/start of the 90s) for “special occasions” but would pick me up for Sunday School in their “spare car” Yugo 45. I remember it being uncomfortable and rattly, but respected it’s basic honesty.

    The later Yugo Florida was an improvement, in the vein of the Western European targeting Skoda Favorit and Lada Samara.

    Sadly I heard parts dried up when NATO decided to peacekeep and bomb the factory.

  8. George White

    October 28, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    THe Yugo appears in Die Hard with a Vengeance, MInder, Derrick, Some Mother’s Son, Alias, New lassie, SNL, Hunter, Moonlighting, Dragnet, MacGyver, Matlock, The Dead Pool, Million Dollar Mystery, K-9 1989 SHocker 1989, Familu Matters, SIde out 1990, Fast Getaway, CHeckered Flag 1990, Suburban Commando, Deadly Dander, Love Potion no 9, CObra 1993, NYPD Blue, KNight Rider 2000, Fear 1990, Speed 1994,Silent Trigger, Diagnosis Murder, Buffy, Power Rangers, the Crow, Go 1999 and the main role in 2000 Jamie Lee Curtis/Bette Midler/DeVito comedy Drowning Mona.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    August 20, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    The Yugo factory was rebuilt, taken over by Fiat and ended up making the Fiat 500L, a people carrier that resembles a stretched version of the two door 500.

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