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Three most famous Croatian Oldtimers you’ll want to drive on your next visit

Three most famous Croatian Oldtimers you’ll want to drive on your next visit

Yugoslavian “Fast & Furios” powered by Fico, Yugo & Stojadin

Any old-timer fans here? Croatia was once a part of Yugoslavia which was a proud manufacturer of a few car models which we will present to you in this article. So book your villa with pool in Croatia, buckle up and get ready for the bumpy ride on the roads of car history. Do you know the jokes about the indestructibility of the Nokia 3310 mobile phone model? You will be surprised that some of the old Croatian cars are just as durable. They date back to the time before smartphones, when corded telephones were still in regular use. It may seem like a century ago, but it was actually just over 60 years ago.


In Yugoslavia there was a car manufacturer called Zastava Automobiles based in Kragujevac (Serbia). The first car model produced in Yugoslavia was the Zastava 600, which was a version of the Fiat 600 produced under Fiat license. It was presented in Geneva in 1955 and it was Zastava’s smallest car, also known by the nickname “Fico” among the locals. One of the legends says that “Fico” was named after a postman who was short in height but very reliable and fast in delivering the mail.

You probably know them from movies those cars with doors that open the opposite direction. Well, first Fico models had such doors. The cars had a manual gearbox, but no air conditioning and seatbelts in the back, which would be completely unacceptable under today’s traffic rules. According to several sources, you had to order the Fico and wait about a year! Can you imagine waiting that long for something? People also used Fico-cars for other purposes, such as pulling cargo or snowploughs. Nevertheless, it was certainly a status symbol. Every driver had to have some mechanical knowledge and a set of tools - just in case little Fico needed a a small repair on the road. It was a very popular car with families in Yugoslavia, but also an official car for police patrols, ambulances and driver’s licence schools. The Fico has a famous post-war memorial in Osijek, where a red Fico is driving over a war tank. It was erected in 2011 in memory of the civil war, as a symbol of courage, victory and pride. The last Fico was manufactured in 1985.



Another famous car from Zastava Automobiles was a model Zastava 101 with the interesting nickname "Stojadin”. Some claim that the name is a derivation of "101" ("sto jedan" in Croatian). Others say it comes from "sto jada" (engl. hundred woes). Nevertheless, this machine was flying like a rocket on bumpy Croatian roads in 1970s. This car model even won one of the three places in the famous "Tour d'Europa" race for a few years in a row. The race is 15 000 km long and runs from Istanbul to Krakow. The Zastava crew also organized the famous “KK” expedition from Kragujevac (Serbia) to Kilimanjaro in 1975. 11 crew members traveled trough wild African roads for 45 days. After that journey, “Stojadin”’ car was crowned Yugoslavia’s car of the decade.


In the late 1980s, Zastava developed a new model. The “Yugo” got its name after a wind in Dalmatia called “jugo”, but because of international documents, the “J” was replaced with “Y”. It was the first car produced in Yugoslavia that was exported to the USA! The marketing campaign was “Everybody needs a Yugo sometimes” and it was aimed at students, teenagers, housewives and families with children. The car model was also featured in the movie “Die Hard 3” with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. The Yugo was very famous for its affordable, but its endurance was not as good as that of its competitors. As Samuel L. Jackson in “Die Hard 3” said: “It is a Yugo. Economic, but not fast”. Yugo enthusiasts joke that the police would only stop you if one of your wheels fell off, otherwise the ride in Yugo would feel like a cruise. The company Zastava Automobiles stopped production due to the civil war and its consequences, so the last cars from Zastava were produced in 2008. Today, Yugoslav cars are rarely seen in Croatia but the sight of a Yugo surely brings back nice memories and nostalgia to some people. You can find some examples of the cars in the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla in Zagreb and Ferdinand Budicki museum in Skradin… and of course, when you meet locals who may have parked an old-timer in their front yard.


The company "BB Classic Cars" from Macedonia, which restores old-timers, is currently manufacturing an electric car that looks like the famous Fico. Seems like people could not resist a comeback of this famous machine. Soon, a new generation of Ficos will be on the roads.

If you wish to explore Croatia in an old-timer, check our article and and start planning an unforgettable holiday. If you need any assistance in finding the best accommodation - we are a quick call away! :)

Sara Vargovic

+385 1 222 70 50