Wednesday, February 29, 2012

BC2012: The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History by Jason Vuic

Sometimes I like to choose which book to read next based on the one I just finished. In that spirit, I went from one of the coolest vehicles of all time, the Wienermobile, to one of the least cool, the Yugo. Even the graphic design of the covers makes the contrast clear. On the cover of Dog Days, the Wienermobile is glossy while the rest of the cover photo is matte. On the cover of The Yugo, the Yugo is matte while the rest of the dust jacket is glossy.

The Yugo is often remembered as the butt of many jokes, and Vuic acknowledges this by leading off each chapter with wisecracks like "How do you double the value of your Yugo? Fill the gas tank." But don't be misled into thinking this book is a lightweight. The Yugo is a thorough and engaging history of the car, the factory, the company, and Malcolm Bricklin, the man behind the dream. The author teaches modern European history at Bridgewater College in Virginia, and he weaves a lot of interesting historical background into the tale. I enjoyed it more than I expected, as would anyone interested in this car or automotive history in general.

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