Fiat Panda

October 4th, 2011 § 2 comments

While in Italy recently, I came to think that I love the first generation Fiat Panda. A wee boxy car, it is extremely popular in rural Italy, probably only rivalled by the Piaggio Ape. Again, the Panda is a car from my childhood, so had a lasting impression on me. Particularly the ltd edition “Italia 90” model, which was decorated with football wheels and pictures of “Ciao” the Italia ’90 mascot. I was impressed to find one of these Panda’s for sale online for £900, in pretty good nick. Look at the embroidered Ciao on the seats!


The (old) Panda got me thinking about trends in car design. It seems nowadays a bit of a design no-no to have a car with lots of straight lines, a boxy car. All the wee cars in the last 10 years or so have been rounded off, jelly mould, ‘organic’ looking. I don’t know if that is a deliberate choice or not, but cars look a little to child-like or something for me now. A bit like a play-school car, eg the original Ford Ka. I’d quite like to see more straight lines, more attempts at apollonian balance.

You don’t see a lot of Panda’s on the autostrada, but they are all over the wee hill villages, and anywhere there’s a olive grove. I was particularly taken by the ‘4×4’ model, which has stamped/embossed/branded metal on its boot, which says ‘Panda 4×4’ – I don’t think enough cars use their own fabric to inform you of their names. There’s too much sticking on of a plastic name plate. Stamp it straight into the metal! The 4×4 had 5 gears, with an extra low first gear, with 2nd gear acting as 1st in normal conditions. Fascinating.



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§ 2 Responses to Fiat Panda"

  • Bridget says:

    Hi Craig! I had a wee white fiat panda one summer. I borrowed it from my cousin and although the front headlight was actually a lunchbox taped on and you had to open the drivers door by sticking your finger into the hole that was once the lock and finding the opening lever and it wouldn’t go into third gear I loved it!

    I like the embossing in to the metal part too, clever.

  • Neil says:

    Hi, Craig
    I bought a new, last generation Panda and love it. It is more fun to drive than any other car I have had. It’s Ferrari red, lively and very practical. With its minimalistic approach to motoring it is very light and barely sips fuel. It is a cheery contrast to the overly large, solo-driven grey vehicles on the road today. Its carbon footprint is a tiptoe rather than the stomp of most of today’s vehicles and it never takes more than its fair share of a parking space.
    It is also very close in spirit to its predecessors.

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