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.
Here is the rather unremarkable Fiat Ritmo (Strada in the UK), except I recall being particularly impressed by the wheels on this car and the circular door handles. Silver please.
As I am taking driving lessons, and potentially am soon to enter the world of actually being actively involved in cars, here I present my (non-driving) life in cars so far. Cars I’ve sat in for a long time, cars I always wanted, cars I admire. First up, the much reviled Skoda 120 (preferably Estelle model in orange)