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Zastava or Yugo Skala is a generic name for a family of cars built by Serbian manufacturer Zastava Automobili. Based on a Fiat 128 sedan, it was introduced in 1971 and sold as Zastava (Yugo) 128 with a restyled rear panel. Later it became available as a 3 or 5-door liftback, a style that had not been issued in Italy, under the name Zastava 101.

Zastava 101 is widely known by its nickname "Stojadin" (a male name, from the similarity with Serbo-Croatian for 101, "sto jedan").

In the final years of production, the Zastava Skala was available in a single trim level: the 55-horsepower, 1.1-liter, 5-door Skala 55. In 2008, a new Skala could be purchased for just under 4,000 euros, undercutting the Zastava Koral (an ameliorated Yugo).

Production of the Zastava Skala continued for some time after the discontinuation of the Zastava 128. The Skala features a fifth door, making it impressively functional at this price level. Drop the rear seat and cargo space increases from 325 to 1,010 liters.

Due to its practicality and robustness, and thanks in no small part to its low price, the Skala 55 continued to sell well in Serbia until the end of production in 2008. 1.273.532 have been built since 1971.

Zastava in late 2007 estimated that the Skala 55 was the world's second most-affordable car at the time.

Brief history[]

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. Palikovic 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 savannae, 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 U.K. 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.

The last 1,045,258th ZASTAVA 101 rolled off the assembly line at November 20, 2008, what is summarily the 1,273,532 ZASTAVA Skala cars (1,045,258 ZASTAVA 101 and 228,274 ZASTAVA 128 car models).

Complete model break-down[]

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.

Also in 1979, Zastava launched the 101S (Super) and SC (Super Confort). They had new bumpers, square headlamps, a new radiator grille with chrome surround, black side mirror, black wipers, small black wheel caps, standard rear defroster and two new warning lamps (hand-brake on, brake-pad warning). Interior colors were added, as was a new, 1,290 cc engine, featuring 9.1:1 compression and an IPM 32 MGV 25/250 carburetor. The SC model used a two-barrel Weber 30/32 DMTR 90/250 carburetor and 4-2-1 exhaust, boosting power to 64 hp (48 kW).

Compression on the 1,116 cc engine was raised to 9.2:1. The motor now used an IPM 32 MGV 10 carburetor.

Later in the year came the Special, with complete instrumentation including oil-pressure gauge and tachometer, and the most powerful engine ever installed in this car: a 73 horsepower (54 kW) version of the 1,290 cc motor, with Weber 32/32 DMTR 90/250 carburetor and 4-2-1 exhaust.

A 3-door Mediteran model used either the base, 1,116 cc engine (55 horsepower) or the Special's 73 horsepower (54 kW) motor. It had round headlamps, like the earliest 101s.

All 1979 Zastava 101s had a new steering wheel, with either ZASTAVA or the company logo (101S/ 101SC) inscribed on the center horn button.

In 1983, Zastava launches the 101 GT/GTL 55/65. New, wider chrome bumpers boast integrated parking and indicator lights. A new radiator mask debuts, along with new side skirts and a new wheel design. The interior is redesigned, with a new dashboard, steering-wheel, gear shifter and hand brake. The suspension is softer, while the car now sits lower, for better stability. The GTL model features revisions to the brakes.

The standard, 1,116 cc motor produces 55 horsepower (41 kW) with a one-barrel IPM 32 MGV 12 carburetor, while a 1,301 cc engine makes 65 horsepower (48 kW) with a two-barrel Weber 30/32 DMTR 90/250. A new cable connects accelerator and carburetors.

In 1987, Zastava applies the YUGO name to the cars, in honor of its success in the United States. The pair is now called the YUGO 1.1 and 1.3 GX. A Y insignia is used instead of Z. More interior colors debut. All models now use 4-2-1 exhaust systems.

In 1988, the name is changed again, to YUGO Skala 55 and YUGO Skala 65. The butterfly-type front side windows are removed, while new plastic bumpers - much larger than those of old - debut. The interiors are redesigned again, finished in grey or Sahara yellow. A Bosch ignition system is installed. The Skala 65 uses a new two-barrel Weber 7Y2M-RA carburetor with an electronic choke, atop its 1,301 cc engine mated to a 5-speed gearbox.

These two models are produced until 1994, when suspensions and gear-boxes are modified and names are revised to Skala 55C and Skala 65C.

For the 2008 model year, several revisions have debuted (described above). The Zastava Skala 55 (101) remains something of a legend in Serbia: a solid, inexpensive car which can still be seen in all its generations, across the ex-Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe.