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Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant

Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Tjerk Binnema has been fascinated by Italian cars for decades. He and his brother have a respectable collection of beautiful exotics. Despite this, Tjerk expanded the collection to the other side of the Italian spectrum. His wife Evelyn has wonderful memories of the Fiat Panda, and when Tjerk came across a flawless model from 1993, the sale was quickly closed. Evelyn drives her red Fiat every day with a big smile, and so did we recently.

Fiat built more than four million Pandas from the first 1980 A series from 2003 to 141. It was taken care of a few times. The Panda from Tjerk and Evelyn comes from such a facelift series of the car that made its appearance 42 years ago. He did that as an opponent of the entry-level Renault 4 and the Citroën 2CV6. For the 1987 model year, Fiat - also at the request of the market - adapted the Panda considerably, especially under the skin. The Omega rear axle added to the comfort, and the FIRE engines were also introduced in the Panda. The report car comes from the facelift series of 1991 (you can see that, for example, on the grille) and is in perfect working order. You don't often come across a Panda in this condition.

The report copy is a Panda 1000 from 1993. Despite the adjustments from the eighties, you can still see a lot of Giugiaro's basic concept in this car. However, in this car you search in vain for the so-called thin camping chairs, the chairs in this copy are conventional. Tjerk was looking for a facelift model with the original Panda seats, which were still placed in the 750, for example. He gave up that wish, especially when he came across this fine Panda. But in this version, as mentioned, you can still see a lot from the past. Lots of bare sheet steel, the dashboard with the sliding ashtray, few closed storage spaces and especially functionality you will receive when you step into this Panda. And this car has the advantage of the 999 cc FIRE engine, because it offers the Italian little one surprising performance.

That last fact also makes it attractive to appreciate the extremely sympathetic Fiat. From a motor point of view it is no problem to participate in daily traffic. And not just for the daily errands or short commutes. No, you can also drive a long way out into the world with this engine, if you want. But the Panda was not built for that. Yet you can easily make the daily kilometers with it, more than† Moreover, there have been plenty of people who also use the Fiat Panda for a foreign holiday. And look back on that with the right sense of sentiment.

We stay close, and that is enough to determine that this Fiat meets the requirements perfectly. Yes, for tall drivers (such as the undersigned) it takes a while to find the right seating position. But people with an average size really find a great place behind the wheel or in other places in the Panda. You sit fairly upright in the cart. You quickly got used to it. And so we can record a nice impression of this Fiat.

This Fiat Panda has only 38.000 kilometers on the clock and it shows. It drives like new, or rather: like a car that has just finished its break-in period. This way you can very nicely determine how new or young used Pandas drove at the time. And that image is positive. The engine picks up just fine. The FIRE power source likes to climb in the revs, and that is clearly audible in the interior. The Panda received little sound insulation and you notice that. Not only that is why it is nice that this Panda got a five-speed gearbox. The gearbox ratios are excellent, and really contribute to an adequate and balanced acceleration of the small Fiat. In addition, the gearbox shifts quite easily,

The distance between the pedals is short, and so is the deflection of the brake and clutch pedals. You have to take that into account. But if you are geared to that, you will notice that the clutch and braking system do their job just fine. So does the chassis, it works Italian firmly. Short unevennesses are well taken care of, it provides a nice form of liveliness on board. And that is fine to live with. The handling of this Fiat Panda is appealing. At the same time, you benefit from the normal seats, which offer a pleasant seat and really make a ride in the Panda more pleasant. You can handle it just fine, even if you decide to take a long ride with the striking Italian.

In addition, the much vaunted practical side of the Panda always surprises, and that is no different in Tjerk and Evelyn's car. In addition, the clustering of the controls excels in simplicity, the grouping is very functional. This also applies to the single windshield wiper, which performs its work with the necessary pace and has an interval setting. During the reporting day we also welcome a shower and then it appears that the windshield wiper does its job well. We don't call it for nothing, precisely such functionalities show that the Panda was constructed simply, but very effectively.

Fun, cuddly, sympathetic and very handy. That's the Panda. Certainly in combination with the FIRE engine in this 1000 version, it turns out to be surprisingly useful (even if you choose to cover a longer distance with it) and spicy. And as for all Pandas: they are bursting with character. It is not without reason that the Panda was built in this form (with interim adjustments) for 23 years and sold more than four million times. Fiat's little one became a giant for the Italian concern. It withstood the experience of the Renault 4, which will remain popular for years to come and Citroën 2CV6. And the Panda also offered a lot to the up-and-coming little ones from Japan. He did that in an extremely charming and in his own, authentic way.

Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant
Fiat Panda 1000. Driving a cool little giant


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  1. My sister - in - law had a Seat Marbella , with garden chairs in the front and a hammock in the back . No power brakes either! What a great thing, with more than 40 km/h through right angles and screeching and screaming tires, but the car did not flinch.

  2. Ditto here….mothers with a black 750 on gray registration. I once almost laid it on its side in a slightly too cheerfully cut square bends.

  3. Ideal cars. After renting an old one in Gran Canaria and being surprised by it, I bought my 1st new car being a 1000S in 1987 I think. Just started as a freelancer in '86, perfect. I traded in an old Camaro for it, laughing. The gas station was not happy, they always came running out with the roll of stamps when I drove by. Unwise thing this Panda, I drove a 2,5km in 90.000 years, laugh! Was a nice black with tinted glass, not bad!!!! Then switch to a new 205 GTI 1,9 with sliding roof, even more fun

  4. Friend of mine had a panda with a gray license plate and so only the front seats, his cheapest car ever 😉 that was only possible at the rdw for a while

    • My mother too: gray license plate with garden seats and rack in the luggage compartment. Cool thing. Still drives a 600 1999.

  5. A white and black and in Spain also the Seat version driven…
    TOP cars…
    Very versatile if you like basic just like me!

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