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This vintage Yugoslavian car commercial is the funniest thing you’ve seen today

Ian Smith

Why is this vintage commercial for the famous Yugoslavian car 101 Zastava ( in translation Flag) the weirdest thing ever? -Well, we’ll give you some clues:

Clue One: It has a cello player on the beach.

Clue Two: The car is driving by itself.

Clue Three: Read the clue one.

Zastava 101 is widely known by its nickname “Stojadin” , a male name, from the similarity with Serbo-Croatian for 101, “sto jedan”) and in Slovenia as “Stoenka” (“The 101”).The Skala 55 first emerged on October 15, 1971, as the Zastava (YUGO) 101 (internationally, the Zastava 1100 or 311/ 313/ 511/ 513). Derived from Italy’s Fiat 128, which Zastava also produced (Zastava 128), the 101 added a practical fifth door.

Arriving a full three years before Fiat’s own 128 3P and Volkswagen’s Golf, the 101 was among the very first hatchbacks with engine and gearbox located astride each other.

Front-wheel-drive in an era when most manufacturers were still years away from making the switch, the Zastava YUGO offered excellent space utilization. Independent rear suspension coped well with challenging Eastern European roads, while engines designed by the legendary Aurelio Lampredi worked best at heady rpms.In 1973, the Zastava YUGO 101 won its class in the 17th international Tour d’Europe rally. The following year, Yugoslav driver J. Paliković was reportedly piloting his 101 faster than his Porsche competition over several stages.In February 1975, Zastava (YUGO) organized an expedition from its hometown of Kragujevac to Kilimanjaro. Five brand-new, standard Zastava 101 cars and 11 crew members travelled African deserts and savanna, finishing their 45-day expedition on the top of Kilimanjaro. Zastava consequently markets the car as Vozilo uspeha (roughly translated, vehicle of success).

In Poland, the FSO factory produced the Zastava 101 through 1976.In 1979, 88,918 Zastava (YUGO) 101 models left Kragujevac lines. Two years later, the car had been crowned Yugoslavia’s Car of the Decade.

The early ’80s sees the 101 become quite popular in the United Kingdom. Advertised under the slogan Go New! Go Yugo!, the 311/ 313/ 511/ 513 is the cheapest new car available to British buyers. In 1984, the range’s entry-level model costs less than £2,400, roughly half the price of the equivalent Ford Escort. In order to avoid rust caused by road gritting, hard PVC coating was used throughout the underside, sills and valances.In 1991, the millionth Zastava (YUGO) Skala was produced.

Zastava in 2008 still sells the Skala 55. It is Serbia’s most-affordable automobile. “We’ve sold more than 1.5 million… we’re still building… you’re still buying,” says Kragujevac-based Zastava Automobili.

In the beginning, two versions of the Zastava 101 were available: Standard and De Luxe. Standard models offered seats trimmed in imitation black leather, with a black, spherical gear shifter. De Luxe trim brought forth red seats and carpet, chrome trim across the interior door panels and exterior sides of the car, and imitation wood ahead of the front passenger. Zastava’s logo was embedded within a transparent shifter knob.The following years saw the radiator grille painted black (rather than grey). In 1976, the 101L replaced the De Luxe model, featuring new bumpers with rubber trim, flat-folding seat backs, chrome-trimmed radiator grille, reverse light, electric windshield washer pump, coolant-temperature gauge, cigarette lighter and servo brakes.All models used a 1,116 cc engine, with an 8.8:1 compression ratio and various carburetors (Weber 32 icev 10, olley Europa 32 ICEV 10, IPM 32 MGV 1 or Solex C 32 DISA 20). In 1976, all engines – beginning with #0076986 – used a new camshaft, 20-millimeters wide to the outgoing camshaft’s 14-millimeter width.

No further significant changes were made until 1979, when the Zastava 101B replaced the Standard model. Both the 101B and 101L now shared the same, upmarket seats, with integrated headrests.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News