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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55

Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010


Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Your 101 Skala 55! 3

The life and times of your Skala 55! 6

Built from October 1971 through November 2008! 10

Zastava/ Yugo GB! 11

Production, 1970s! 12

End of production (Nov 21st, 2008)! 15

15/10/71 - 21/11/08! 16

Pickup truck (still in production)! 17

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Your 101 Skala 55

Going by VIN #VX1128A0001001557, your 101 Skala 55 was most likely built in 1989 or
1990, as a ʼ90 model. If this is indeed the case, it was among the last Zastava cars built
in Yugoslavia, before the country plunged into civil war. You might have known it as the
Yugo 511 in the U.K.

Your Skala 55 marked the third major revision of the Zastava 101 that debuted in 1971 as a
variant of Fiatʼs 128, with a Zastava-designed rear hatch and fascia. Along with the
square headlamps of the second revision, this model has a refreshed interior (which in
retrospect seems more dowdy than the old, rally-inspired stuff from the ʻ70s). The revised
range, which debuted in 1988, was marked chiefly by a rectangular frame, inset in the grille
(see photo above).

Although earlier 101 models were also sold in 3-door body styles, by this point only a 5-door
model was available. Roughly 3,900mm long, 1,600mm wide and 1,350mm tall, it weighed
835 kilograms.
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

The 101 Skala 55ʼs front wheels


were powered by a 55-horsepower,
1.1-liter (1,116cc) overhead-cam,
Fiat 4-cylinder engine, designed by
Ferrari V12 engineer Aurelio
Lampredi and built entirely
domestically by DMB Motori of
Rakovica (pron. rak-o-vitsa), near
Belgrade. With 9.2:1 compression,
this engine is famously oversquare,
with a 80mm bore rather wider than
the 55.5mm stroke is long.

When new, the Skala 55 would hit 62


Photo: Auto Klub magazine (Croatia)
mph (100 km/h) from rest in roughly
15 seconds, and could do about 145
km/h flat out. Specifications suggest that it took about 35 seconds to cover 1,000 meters
from rest. Fuel consumption on the
combined cycle was about 7.5-8 liters/
100 kilometers (9 liters in town, 6.6
liters at a steady 90 km/h).

There was also a Skala 65, which had a


65-horsepower, 1.3-liter unit (1,299cc).

Although the little Zastava Yugo


hatchback by this point had a Bosch
fuel-injected version of the Skala 65ʼs
engine, no Skala ever had fuel injection.
As a result, your car is carbureted
(likely single-barrel IPM 32 or MGV 12, Photo: Auto Klub magazine (Croatia)
although the Skala 65 had a two-barrel
Weber unit), and uses leaded petrol
(fuel tank capacity 36 liters). Ignition is (Bosch) electronic. Choke is manual (auto on 65).

At the time, Zastava had just launched the Florida (in Britain, Sana), with a new gearbox. I
believe your car, which may or may not be a 5-speed, benefited from those improvements.
Gear ratios are (probably) between 4.091:1 (1st) and 0.863:1 (5th, if so equipped), with a
3.765:1 final drive. Tires are (probably) 145/80 R13s (the Skala 65 had 155/70 tires, which
make a big difference to handling).

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Suspension is all-around independent, with MacPherson struts up front and transverse


leaf springing at the rear.

Braking is by discs up front (227mm) and drums (186mm) at the rear.

Steering is rack-and-pinion, with a 10.3-meter turning radius.

Essentially, it is a practical, 5-door notchback which is small by todayʼs standards, but which
was cheap, robust, rorty, and packaged well. Between 1971 and 2008, this workhorse sold
more than a million copies.

Photo: Auto Klub magazine (Croatia)

Photo: A
uto Klub
magazin
e (Croatia
)
Photo: Auto Klub magazine (Croatia) 5
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

The life and times of your Skala 55

Zastava was always quite proud of the 101/ Skala 55, which had front-wheel drive and all-
around independent suspension, and
which because of modifications made to
the rear marked the companyʼs first
serious engineering efforts.

It is important to note here that although


Yugoslavia was a socialist country, it
was not part of the Eastern Bloc. Its
citizens traveled freely, and Yugoslavia
itself traded freely. Whereas Lada bought
Fiat tooling to create Togliatti, Zastava
allied itself with Fiat in a manner that it
hoped would ensure continual input from
the Italians, in addition to independent
production. When the 101 beat Fiatʼs
The Zastava R&D facility houses
this early 101, once rallied by
Croatian driver Jovica Paliković
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

own 3P to the 3-door 128 game (there was no Fiat 5-door 128), it became Zastavaʼs first
export, and to prove its mettle the factory even took a group of them from Kragujevac to
Kilimanjaro.

Lada has often been accused of stomping out the Italian character from Fiatʼs cars but, by
contrast, Zastava generally reveled in
making affordable machines possessed of a
surprising degree of enthusiasm. Part of
that was because Yugoslav roads were
fairly decent, so the modifications made to
Ladas were unnecessary.

Note that the 101/ Skala 55 produces its


peak power at a heady 6,000 rpm (peak
torque is about 80 Nm at 3,000 rpm).
Indeed, once warm it needs - wants - to
Crash test, Zastava 101 prototype
be revved high and often. A healthy carʼs
engine is quite willing, with an unusually rorty engine note, for an econobox.

Despite its additional orifice, the car was very nearly as rigid as the Fiat 128 sedan, a fact
borne out by rallying success across Yugoslavia and abroad (Tour dʼEurope 1973 and 1974).

Prvoslav Raković (third


from right), managing
director of Zavodi Crvena
Zastava, faces the media at
the 1971 Belgrade
International Motor Show

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

France was one of Zastavaʼs first export markets. There, the car was called the 1100,
because Peugeot objected to the use of the 101 (x0x) moniker. In time, Zastava exported it
to Britain, too, as (first) the Zastava 1100 and 1300, and later, the Yugo 311/ 313/ 511/ 513.

Zastava turned out almost 90,000 101s in 1979, 9,000 of which in October of that year
alone. The following year, as almost 450 left the line each day, Yugoslavia elected it car of
the decade.

In 1990, or thereabouts (the era in which your car was built), Zastava had made its 3½
millionth automobile and was about to make its millionth Skala 55. The logistics of its
production were designed to keep Yugoslavia together. The dashboard came from
Croatia; the lighting systems, from Serbia and Slovenia; the seat belts, from Macedonia, and
the struts, from Serbiaʼs Kosovo province.

The basic design was already twenty years old, and had resisted several attempts to be put
to rest. Zastava wanted to focus on the Florida (in Britain, Sana), a car on which, it is
rumored, 700 million euros had been spent developing. Like the Skala 55, the Florida had 5
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

doors; but it was a thoroughly modern car, with Giugiaro lines (Zastava adapted his Lancia
proposal), front struts and floorpan derived from the Fiat Tipo, a gearbox breathed on by
Porsche Engineering, and a rear end similar to that of Volkswagenʼs Golf II (VW was
courting Zastava at the time). Reporting for Top Gear in the late ʻ80s, Tiff Needell remarked
that it was surprisingly sporting to drive1 . Even twenty years later, in 2008, Mike Duff wrote
for Autocar that the Florida heʼd driven during a trip to Kragujevac was a rather good steer2 .

Alas, ʻtwas was not to be. When the advent of the Yugoslav Civil War in 1991, Zastava
(based in Kragujevac, Serbia) lost its domestic supplier network. At first, it looked to Europe;
but economic sanctions against the two republics remaining in Yugoslavia, Serbia and
Montenegro, meant that Zastava could source parts only locally. Production of the Florida
continued (much to the surprise of many at the time); but so, too, did the Skala 55 and 65,
Skala 128 sedan (a Fiat 128 clone), and the Yugo. The Skala and carbureted Yugos (later,
“Koral In”) were particularly popular in these years for the ease with which they could be
converted to run on natural gas. Zastava eventually offered this as a factory option.

1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCe4lQ2K08Q
2 Autocar, February 20th, 2008

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Although revisions - some of them major, with Peugeot EURO 3 power - came in 2002, this
sub-10k-euro line-up would continue until Nov 2008, when the Serbian government entered
into a joint-venture with Fiat. Itʼs likely theyʼll build the next-gen IDEA/ Multipla/ Lancia Musa.

Built from October 1971 through November 2008

Much like the Austin Mini, Citroen 2CV and Renault 4, the Skala 55 was sound in concept
and proved evergreen. Better known as the 101 or stojedan/ stojadin (pron. sto-ya-deen),
the Skala 55 was made up until very recently; production ended two years ago, almost to the
day. Zastava had originally planned to do away with it several times, most recently in the
mid-90s. Indeed, its sedan sister - the Skala 128 - died in 2003 (even as they kept making
CKDs and shipping them to Egypt for assembly there, where the car remains a popular taxi).

Yet the 101 wouldnʼt die. Essentially a notchback version of Fiatʼs 128, it remained very
popular throughout its life. In 2008, as production drew to a close, it was Serbiaʼs 2nd/ 3rd
best-seller, swapping places month-to-month with the Yugo hatchback (rebadged Zastava
Koral In and Koral In L) and the Zastava 10 (a locally-assembled Fiat Punto II½).

The chief reason was price. A Koral In was about 4,000 euros, new, in 2008. A Florida In
stickered at 5,200 euros. The Skala 55 cost 3,750 euros, making it among the worldʼs five
most affordable cars, in a class with the Lada Riva, Marutiʼs 800, and one or two Chinese
cars (Tataʼs Nano was a few months away).

There was another reason to pick the Skala over the Koral: practicality. It was larger, and
opening that rear door and folding
the rear seats freed up 1,010 liters of
cargo space. Yugoslavs liked to build
their own houses, and had particular
fondness for putting up weekend
homes on the coast, or in the forests
of Bosnia. With good carrying
capacity and independent rear
suspension, the Skala 55 was quite
adept. As such, although the Yugo is
Zastavaʼs most famous product, the
101/ Skala 55 was built in greater
numbers: 1,045,458 versus 794,428.
Indeed, the Yugo itself was heavily
derived from the 101.
2007 - “Weʼre still building, youʼre still buying”

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Zastava/ Yugo GB

The 101/ Skala 55 was the first Zastava exported to the United Kingdom, in 1982, as the
1100 & 1300. A year later, these became the Yugo 311 (3-door, 1.1), Yugo 313 (3-door,
1.3), Yugo 511 (5-door, 1.1), & Yugo 513 (5-door, 1.3). Skala 128
was 411/ 413.
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Production, 1970s
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010


Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

End of production (Nov 21st, 2008)

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Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

15/10/71 - 21/11/08
Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

Pickup truck (still in production)


Yugo 101 Skala 55/ Zastava Skala 55
Prepared for BBC Top Gear

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010

November 11th, 2010

© ZastavaNacionale.com 2006-2010
Miroslav Pačić & Dragan Romčević

with the assistance of


- Zastava Automobili, Kragujevac, Serbia
- Snežana Anđelković/ Zastava-Info
- Milan Marković/ www.jeja.rs
- Danijel Kadarjan/ “Priča o jednom brendu”