PEOPLE are losing umbrellas, documents, and sometimes their minds, but only in our country can the entire car museum be lost, which should have been preserved as a testimony to the great industrial past of Serbia and Yugoslavia.
Like all complicated stories, this one started naively, when we wanted to make a story where now is the last “jugo” that came off the production line of the “Zastava Automobiles” factory on November 11, 2008. It was produced under number 794,428, and the then management of “Zastava” claimed that “it will not be sold, but will be exhibited in the museum.”
“Zastava’s” workers cried while they put a big bow and a sticker on his hood with the text: “A sad adio”. The workers who turned off the machines on November 11, 2008 were comforted only by the news that the last “jugo” will retire with all other copies of the “Zastava Automobile” production range to the museum that will be formed in Kragujevac. The exhibits were supposed to be the first to produce “fija” with a counter-door, “zastava 1.300” better known as “tristać”, several “stojadina” including the one from the Kragujevac-Kilimanjaro expedition … Today, however, there is no “Zastava” museum, nor exhibits – vehicles.
– Go see what happened to the last “south” made on the Day of Reconciliation and take pictures of those historic cars – was the task of our editorial office. – They’re in the museum, in the crowd, you’ll do it soon.
It was only necessary to find the “Zastava Automobila” museum in Kragujevac, and then a problem arose, because “Google” could not answer where it was.
In the “Novosti” documentation, we found evidence that the historic vehicles were last seen in 2013 in the building of the “Zastava” Institute, then already part of “Fiat”. The last leaders of the Kragujevac giant in liquidation, then with only three employees, claimed that it was agreed with the then Government that the museum would be where those cars were produced, in “Zastava’s” premises which then already belonged to “Fiat”. However, they did not have a confirmation from “Fiat” that they were interested in that museum, but they said that they handed over to this company “on the list”, in addition to vehicles, numerous documents, recognitions, plaques, records about the car factory …
In the Museum of Science and Technology, we learned that this cultural institution asked for some time ago to supervise “Zastava’s” museum vehicles, which is its legal obligation.
The museologists were informed that the vehicles were in the Fiat complex in Kragujevac, but they were not given permission to enter and see them.
We invited the Kragujevac Museum Stara livnica located in the Topolivnica building from 1882, the oldest preserved part of the military factory and the Military Crafts School, the first of its kind in the Principality of Serbia. This museum, founded in 1953, is today part of the “Zastava Oruzje” factory.
We asked the museologists for help, and they replied that they receive calls every day with the same question, to which they have no answer.
– Everyone calls us because of those cars, and we have no idea where they could be.
We lost touch in the 1990s when car and weapons factories separated – kind museum officials told us.
We also called the former leading “Zastava” trade unionist, Zoran Mihajlović, who became interested in the case.
– The museum was planned and the vehicles remained in “Fiat”, on the space of the former institute, even the urban plan envisages space for the museum, but it has not been made until today – Mihajlović told us.
– I remember that sad November 11 when we felt we were closing our second house. Young people can’t even imagine what a giant Zastava was, which employed 40,000-50,000 people to create cars, the most complex industrial product. The factory was ruined by the disintegration of Yugoslavia and international sanctions, then we lost both subcontractors and the market. The world has changed, international politics has determined who should have the industry, and when they will return to the pre-industrial era.
All tracks led to Fiat. We also addressed the Serbian branch of a large company. A kind young clerk from the information service listened carefully to our questions about the mysterious “Zastava” museum. She sought an answer in the professional services and told us:
– This is the company “Fiat-
“Chrysler” and we can only help you with our vehicles, we have nothing to do with “Zastava”. You must contact the “Zastava Automobila” representative office.
The young employee did not know that the former Serbian and Yugoslav auto giant had been liquidated a long time ago. The one that produced more than four million vehicles, of which more than 700,000 were exported to 71 countries around the world. The story of his museum thus remained in the realm of mystery.
TITO PROTOTYPES GIFT TO GRANDSON
“JUGO”, while it was in the design phase, did not bear its famous name, but the official name “flag 102”, under which the first four hand-made prototypes of the future “national class” were presented in 1978. One was given as a gift to the President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, and an urban legend from Kragujevac says that he said: “Mother, what am I going to do with it? Give it to little Joški”, referring to his grandson.
– It is true that I received as a gift from my grandfather the first produced “flag 102”, a hand-made prototype of the future “south” with engine number 001 – Joška Broz told us. – It was a good car, I drove it for a long time. I once offered “Zastava” to give it to them for a museum and to pay extra for a new car, but they were not interested. I sold that unique piece, and as far as I know it ended up in the trash. Had it been preserved, it would have been one of the most valuable collector cars in the world.
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