sporting fiats club Friday, June 14, 2024

Panda Intro

Panda History

Buying Guide


Types Of Panda

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Sales & Parts

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Panda Power

Panda Intro

You don't need to be introduced to the Panda. You already know it. Its small - well smallish, cute - well cutish, basic - well not always, a family work horse - well in a tight squeeze you might get half a family in there, Utilitarian - yes it definitely does the job whatever you may decide that should be. It has its own style, its own approach and a car that will give you back more than you put into it. You know it's also unique. If I wanted to start a pizza delivery business this is the car I'd choose for the fleet when the mopeds couldn't cope.

Because like it or not the Panda is one of those cars that's crept into your psychy - you already know about the Panda without having studied it. You've already registered its biscuit tin-like slab sidedness, its too angular edges, its lack of glass, big grill and small hatch and big doors. How can a car be both out of proportion and still make visual sense, and do it all at once like this? Is this accident or genius? Well the Panda was designed by Giugiaro so you can forget the accident thing.

Is it the car of your dreams? No. Is it the car for your family? No. Is it a car for none car people? Perhaps - it will sit quietly and doesn't shout its presence. You probably bought one when you couldn't afford much more than peanuts. It probably broke down once in a big way - but you met someone very interesting because of it. And now you look back and think 'Wow I did all that and thought nothing of it in those days'.... and then realise the car was there doing it all with you. Then someone will say 'Rusty heap of junk' - but we know differently. That's the Panda! Replace it? You can't.

Panda History

The Panda was launched in 1980 and has had a bewildering array of versions and re styles ever since. It started life as the '30' and '45' - which as usual with Fiats denotes the power output of the engines. The engines in the Panda read like a whose who of Fiat small cars. The 30 was a twin cylinder 652cc - derived from the air cooled 126 engine. The 903cc 45 unit came from the 127. In 1982 the '34' arrived with a 843cc unit from the Fiat 850.

All three models were produced until 1984  Then a re styling Panda was introduced with revised trim levels 'L' and 'CL' for each version.

Meanwhile the Panda was branching out. In 1982 the Panda Super was announced with re styled grill, revised trim and seats and an optional five speed box. Then in 1983 Steyr of Austria collaborated with Fiat to produce a four wheel drive design. Its 965cc engine was derived from the Lancia A112 Elite (also known as the Autobianchi A112).

Then in 1986 came a real breakthrough for the models. The Pandas received the new FIRE (Fully Integrated Robotised Engine) 769cc and 999cc engines. These versions also had a new coil over rear axle to replace the original cart spring type. Alongside the FIRE engines was a new 1301cc diesel - that was on sale before the end of 1986. Want a summary of the FIRE Brigade? - click here.

From 1989 special editions were introduced - as well as the re-introduction of the 903cc push rod engined version. In the UK these editions included the Fizz, Dance, Bella, and Fun. In 1990 special editions continued with the Top  Ten, Bianca, and Nera. In 1991 the 1000 Estivale was issued.

The under rated 4x4 had special editions too - Sisley in 1987. and Trekking in 1990. An Elettra battery version was launched in the same year.

In 1991 the whole range was revised again. The new Panda range was extended to include 7 different engines including some with catalysts and fuel injection. These variants also recieved the revised Fiat grill size - in line with all the nineties cars. The new range also included Selecta automatics with 1000cc carb or 1100cc injection engines.

Then SEAT were licensed to run a parallel production of the Panda - the Marbella.