I was talking to someone this morning and we mentioned cars we had the opportunity to drive. Thinking back, I have found that a list of cars I drove is not long at all. Just a few models and I didn`t even own any of them. Well, one can`t have everything and a car is not on my list of priorities at the moment.
There we go. First… well, not a car but vehicle I drove was… take a look:
Yes, a tractor 😀 A model made by factory "Tomo Vinkovic" from Bjelovar, Croatia. Back in the 80s it was most suitable and very well sold tractor in mountainous areas of former Yugoslavia. My friend from Croatia, actually his father, owned one and one afternoon while we were driving on the road in mountain, he decided to teach me how to drive it. It was easy, a tractor had only 3 manual gears and accelerator was divided into pedal and hand one, so if you were driving for a long time, you could just move accelerator lever and hold a wheel 😎 I liked it. My brother and friend were sitting behind me on a trailer while I was a King of the mountain roads, speeding with.. well, maybe 20 km/h (12 mph) 😆
Later, the same friend decided, since I was so successful in tractor driving, to teach me how to drive a REAL car. He, actually his father, had a nice yellow Zastava 750, a very popular car during 70s and 80s in former Yugoslavia.
That car was amazing piece of technique. Made by Serbian car factory "Crvena Zastava" from Kragujevac, it was probably the most often owned car back then. I know families who would drive it over 800km (500 miles) and back just to spend summer vacations on Adriatic sea. They would put there all the kids and bags (not to mention the pets) and moved toward summer resorts with amazing speed of 80 km/h – some would say it could go even over 100 km/h – and they would have problems only in rare occasions. Properly maintained, that car could last forever.
You may laugh, but once we managed to put nine of us in it and drive to nearby disco 😎
When I was about 23-24 years old most of my friends has already had driving licenses – some of them has even had their own cars – so I decided it was a time for entering the club of drivers. So I took a lessons and was practicing in the pride of Serbian car industry – Yugo 45.
It had only 4 manual gears back then (plus reverse) and was a bit slow on accelerator pedal. And my driving instructor was often giving me orders to stop, then he would open bonnent and took something out of motor, then blow in it. "Dizna (nozzle)", he would say a minute after and I really could not notice it was moving any better than before. Well, whatever.
Since I didn`t have a money to buy a car, another friend decided it would be a waste of time if I forget how to drive so he gave me the opportunity to drive his Little Giant. What? You have never heard of Little Giant? Where do you people live? On Mars? Take a look…
Renault 4 was advertised as Little Giant in our media and I must say I adored that one the moment I sat behind wheel. It has weird manual clutch (we called it "umbrella") and was very easy to drive; sometimes I felt I could just think of accelerating and it would jump and moved faster. Once it was so fast that we ended out of the road :whistle:
On the same time, my father thought I was skilled enough to drive his car – another pride of Serbian car industry: Zastava 101 😀
Did I said that Yugo was hard on accelerating? It was a lightning comapred to 101 :doh: The moment I started the engine it turned off. Several times. I managed to move it after sixth or seventh try. My father was too nervous to let me drive alone and was enough on the edge so he yelled at every little mistake I made :irked: I drove it for a few kilometers then gave up. After that, something has happened to a motor so we spent few hours by the road while my raging father was trying to fix it :whistle:
Not to mention I have never drive it again 😛
After that I got a job in a small company and part of my job was to drive goods outside Belgrade, mostly to Novi Sad and Kragujevac. Company had one really nice van, and like Renault 4, it was very easy to drive. It was Nissan Vannete.
Light on a wheel and very easy to drive. It didn`t have air condition (like most of the cars, anyway) so during hot summer days we would just open a side door and it was ok. To say the truth, police stopped me once because of that :whistle:
My boss had that thing with Nissan cars, he liked them and has model Primera Hatchback for his personal pleasure. Once I was driving it to the airport and back and so far it is the best and probably the most expensive car I have ever had the opportunity to drive :happy:
Even though I still have a driving license – which reminds me I would need to renovate it – I have never had a car of my own. At first I didn`t have money and now I have used to use public transport in Belgrade. Also, finding a parking place in this city has become a nightmare so I don`t feel the urge to have a car.
But it is really hard to find Zastava 750 in a good condition these days….
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