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November 28, 1980 – Yugo production begins
This Day

November 28, 1980 – Yugo production begins

1990 Yugo. By Chamelfo Ropatras CC BY-SA 2.0 The legendary, yet often ridiculed Zastava Yugo began to move down a Yugoslavian assembly line on this day in 1980. While the car may not be looked upon unfavorably due to design, safety and performance issues, it caused quite a stir when new, both domestically in Eastern Europe and abroad. See, Zastava began life as a Yugoslavian arms company in 1853. So if you mocked their cars, they'd simply show you to a backroom and convince you to take it back with a variety of other Zastava products. Joking aside, the company began producing vehicles in the 1930s and manufactured Ford trucks for its Army under license during WWII. After the war it produced Willys Jeeps under contract for civilian and government use until 1950. Being no stranger to ...
November 23, 1951 – The first postwar Poles: FSO Warszawa begins production
This Day

November 23, 1951 – The first postwar Poles: FSO Warszawa begins production

Today, automobile manufacturing makes up a whopping 11 percent of Poland's industrial production, an industry that can be traced back to 1893 in the the nation. That first company, Ursus, remains headquartered in Poland today and is well regarded for its modern tractors and other agricultural equipment. Car making began to take off once Poland regained its independence following World War I when its government took a stab at the auto industry with the establishment of Centralne Warsztaty Samochodowe. Privately owned automakers existed at this time too, but production numbers remained relatively low in the interwar period. That would change following the end of World War II, which began in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. For it was on this day in 1951 the first Fabryka Samocho...
January 23, 1980 – Automotive designer Giovanni Michelotti dies
This Day

January 23, 1980 – Automotive designer Giovanni Michelotti dies

Giovanni Michelotti, a most accomplished automotive designer, passed away on this day in 1980. Born in Turin, Italy in 1921, Giovanni would eventually make incredible contributions to the European sports car market. His career began at coachbuilders such as Stabilimenti Farina, Vignale and Carrozzeria Allemano. In 1959 he opened his own design house. This allowed him ultimate freedom of expression while working with brands such as Ferrari, Maserati, and Triumph.  Above: 1971 Triumph GT6. By Riley, cc2.0. Top: Cover: Michelotti at right, with Enrico Nardi and the 1960 Plymouth Silver Ray. A one off car built in 1960 on a Nardi chassis that Michelotti designed and had power from a Plymouth Golden Commando V8. Throughout his career he brought an astounding portfolio of cars to the ...

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