The FIAT Panda - forty years of fun, affordable mobility

The FIAT Panda - forty years of fun, affordable mobility

23.06.2020: Fiat celebrates 40 years since Panda was first unveiled Original Panda styled by Giugiaro Favourite additions to the Panda range include Panda 4x4, Italia 90 and 100HP

    Fiat celebrates 40 years since Panda was first unveiled

    Original Panda styled by Giugiaro

    Favourite additions to the Panda range include Panda 4x4, Italia 90 and 100HP

    Over 280,000 Panda sold in the UK





This year, Fiat celebrates forty years of an Italian go-anywhere icon – the Panda. A cult hero that has spawned many much-loved variants and special editions, Panda has sold 284,000 units across the UK since its unveil in 1980.





Panda I



When the best-selling single in the UK was Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police, the world was gripped by the Rubik’s Cube and everyone found out who really shot JR, Fiat launched an all-new three-door, five-seat hatchback called Panda. Penned by design genius Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign, the Panda sat on a brand new front-wheel drive platform with styling cues of robustness and utilitarianism.



Inside saw a simplistic dashboard and seats resembling hammocks attached to metal frames, bringing the exterior feelings of robustness inside, whilst its ethos was to be easy to maintain and inexpensive to own and run.



The name Panda was a late decision and was in honour of Empanda, the Roman goddess and patroness of travellers.



At launch the Panda range consisted of a single 4-cylinder, 903cc, 45hp engine, with a four-speed manual gearbox in one standard trim level. When it went on sale in the UK the following year, it was priced at £2,860.



Increased trim levels went on sale in the years that followed the Panda’s launch, including the Panda 4x4 – the epitome of small car go-anywhere fun. Available from October 1984 and priced at £4,390, it received more rugged styling and a four-wheel drive system developed by Steyr-Puch in Austria. The 4x4 was powered by an enlarged 965cc, 48hp engine and was fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox, with a crawler function in a world-first for off-road driving.



1986 saw the debut of The Phantom of the Opera on the West End, the completion of the M25 and a facelift to the Panda, which received cosmetic and engineering updates. Styling revisions include smoothed-out bodywork, wraparound bumpers and single-piece glass in the front windows without quarter lights. Inside, the dashboard succumbed to a major redesign and the 1000 and 4x4 trims received significantly improved seats.




Two new and improved engines were also introduced, named Fully Integrated Robotised Engine (FIRE) with options of either a 4-speed or 5-speed manual gearbox. Increasing comfort, all versions except the 4x4 had revised rear ‘omega-shaped’ suspension to improve ride quality.




Throughout its 14 years on sale in the UK, the Panda produced some iconic limited and special edition versions, including the Panda Habitat – a partnership with the home furnishings brand – Panda 4x4 Sisley – a partnership with Benetton’s outdoor clothing brand – Panda Dance – red, white or black paint with stripes and Dance logos which became part of the regular Panda line-up.



The most well-known, however, arrived in April 1990 – the Panda Italia 90 special edition. Based on the Panda 750 L, it celebrated Italy’s hosting of the 1990 FIFA World Cup with special features including all-white paintwork, body-coloured grille and bumpers, wheel trims designed to look like footballs and blue seat upholstery in a nod to the home team’s kit.



In the year South Africa took a symbolic victory in the Rugby World Cup, eBay went live and the first Toy Story premiered in cinemas, the first generation Panda was discontinued in the UK. In June 1995, 14 years after it first launched in the country, the Panda was cut from the Fiat model range with 161,501 units sold. It continued to be sold in other countries until 2003 when its replacement arrived.






Panda II



2003 saw the return of Dirty Den to British television screens and the return of the Panda to the Fiat range. Unveiled in February 2003, Panda was originally destined to be named Gingo, however, ahead of European sales beginning, it was renamed to Panda. Rather than the original’s 3-door concept, Panda II was to be 5-door only with a more rounded exterior style and higher driving stance. When orders opened in the UK in January 2004, the Panda sat below the Punto hatchback in the line-up and replaced the Seicento, priced from £6,295 and would remain on sale for eight years. 2004 also saw Panda named World Car of the Year for the first time.



Underpinned by the new ‘Fiat Mini’ platform that would in time be used by the third generation Panda, as well as the second-generation Fiat 500, second-generation Ford Ka and the third-generation Lancia Ypsilon, the Panda range consisted of 1.1-litre 54hp and 1.2-litre 60hp engines. Five-speed manual transmissions were standard, with a Dualogic sequential transmission available as an option with all 1.2-litre models.



In 2005, the much-loved 4x4 version of the first generation returned to the range mated to the 1.2 60hp engine. It received unique bumpers, roof rails, thick bodyside mouldings that blended into the wheelarch extensions and increased ground clearance.



When Italy brought home the Jules Rimet Trophy after beating France in the FIFA World Cup, the Panda took a different sporting direction to its footballing compatriots for the very first time. A sports-focused Panda was launched in the form of the 1.4 16v 100HP in December 2006.



It featured unique bumpers with a deeper front grille, extended wheelarches, side skirts, body-coloured door mirror housings and door handles, 15-inch alloy wheels and dark grey interior. The Panda 100HP drew great media acclaim upon its launch for its fun driving style, agile handling and do-it-all attitude, and continues to be a fan favourite 14 years later. The model was on sale for four years until production ended in November 2010.



Following on from its strong ‘go anywhere’ message, two factory-built Panda 4x4s were built in order to contest the 2007 Dakar rally, starting in Lisbon. Driven by Miki Biasion and former Dakar winner, Bruno Saby, the Panda 4x4s were powered by a 1.3-litre Multijet turbodiesel combined with a six-speed manual gearbox with 105hp. The two cars were unusual due to the automatic all-wheel drive system with viscous coupling and locking differential – a system that provided more grip and traction on rough and soft terrain thanks to the optimal split of drive to the wheels.



Equipped specifically for the infamously harsh Dakar, aluminium platforms to help extricate the vehicles from soft sand, shovels, spare wheels, water reserves for the crew, and other specialised equipment useful for the event were all built into each Panda. The Fiat expedition to the Dakar rally also included a Fiat Sedici as service back-up, and three Iveco trucks to transport spares and technicians.



Production of the second generation Panda ended in January 2012 to make way for the third generation model having sold 78,713 units in its 8 years on sale in the UK.




Panda III




The same year that Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history and Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier by jumping over New Mexico, the Panda returned to the UK. The third generation of Panda went on sale in February 2012, priced from £8,900.



The all-new five-door hatchback sat between the 500 and Punto and is underpinned by an updated version of the same Fiat Mini platform. With a similar silhouette as its predecessor, the third generation Panda had an altogether more rounded look, dominated by ‘squircles’.



At launch, the Panda range consisted of 1.2-litre 69hp and 0.9-litre TwinAir 85hp petrol engines, with a 75hp 1.3 MultiJet diesel option. All received manual transmissions as standard, but a Dualogic sequential transmission was available with TwinAir models.



At the end of 2012, stalwarts of the Panda range – 4x4 and Trekking joined the line-up and immediately captivated customers with the 4x4 victorious in TopGear Magazine’s SUV of the Year. Similarly to the previous 4x4 trim, it received enlarged bumpers with skid plates, deeper bodyside mouldings, black wheelarches and side skirts, 15-inch alloy wheels and increased ground clearance.



A new addition to the Panda range arrived in 2014 – when Pharrell ruled the airwaves with ‘Happy’ – the Panda Cross 4x4. This complementary trim level was based on the 4x4, but with extensive cladding, different bumpers with holed skid plates, revised lights, unique 15-inch alloy wheels, hill-descent control and three driving modes for traversing different kinds of terrain.



The Cross also received a unique engine range with a 90hp TwinAir petrol, featuring a six-speed manual gearbox including a crawler first gear, and an 80hp MultiJet diesel. Panda Cross 4x4 went on sale from £15,945.



After encouraging customer feedback, Panda City Cross was launched in 2017. The variant received all of the same external additions to the bodywork as Panda Cross 4x4 but was only available in front-wheel drive and the 1.2-litre 69hp engine.



In September 2018, Fiat collaborated with Waze navigation to create the Panda Waze special edition. Based on the City Cross, special features included Waze integration within the Panda Uconnect smartphone app, a Waze logo on the front wings, black side mouldings and 15-inch wheel covers. The Panda Waze became available in 4x4 guise in 2019 as a limited edition.



The newest entrant to the Panda line-up is the Panda Hybrid, launched in early 2020. Receiving a 1.0 70hp engine, combined with a 12-volt Belt-integrated Starter Generator (BSG), the Panda Hybrid offers 49.6mpg and 89g/km of CO2 emissions.





Panda historic pricing info


Model  UK sales


Panda I  161,501

Panda II  78,713

Panda III (up to Dec 2019)  44,175

Total  284,389



Chloe Yemm,  FIAT Chrysler Automobiles UK photos




Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fiat-panda-forty-years-mobility-affordable---208044.html

23.06.2020 / MaP

More News

Stress test for everyday suitability: Volkswagen employees in Saxony begin testing fleet of 150 ID.3
23.06.2020
Start of the testing fleet: in front of the car plant Zwickau the ID.3 are handed over to employees at Volkswagen Sachsen. ID.3 - Power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 14.5 (combined); CO₂ emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+. Comp more >>
New Video Added to AmericanMuscle’s Mustang Intakes Guide
22.06.2020
Recent Update Helps Mustang Owners Shop for a Cold Air IntakeAmericanMuscle (AM) has revamped their mustang intakes tech guide with the addition of a video containing pro tips on how to shop for a cold air intake. Hosted by host Justin Dugan more >>
All-New Ford Mustang Mach-E Addresses Range Anxiety with Upgradeable Intelligent Range
22.06.2020
•    Mustang Mach-E helps reduce unplanned stops for charging with innovative new Intelligent Range, which more accurately predicts how much range drivers have using past driving behavior, weather forecasts and crowdsourced data from other Mustang Mach-E vehicles•    Future over-the-air update will enable even more accurate more >>
Honda, GM Partnership Produces Hand Sanitizer for Use by Employees and for Health Care Facilities
22.06.2020
As part of an industry-wide effort to help alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Honda and General Motors (GM) are producing nearly 12,000 gallons of hand sanitizer through their Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) partnership. The hand sanitizer will be used by both companies at their facilities throughout the region and Honda is donating 3,750 bottles to health care faciliti more >>
CEO Michael Lohscheller Shows New Opel Mokka - Video
22.06.2020
The countdown is on: Opel presents further details about the next Mokka generation Video here more >>
Michael Cole appointed President & Ceo at Hyundai Motor Europe
19.06.2020
    Michael Cole to join regional HQ on 1 July 2020, taking responsibility for Hyundai’s European commercial and manufacturing operations    He continues his extensi more >>
The SKODA OCTAVIA’s infotainment systems - Digital, networked and intuitive to use
19.06.2020
› ŠKODA OCTAVIA’s infotainment system and vehicle settings controlled via touch screen; gesture and voice control available› New-generation infotainment systems enable innovative operating concepts via smartphone more >>
Audi realigns its Technical Development division
19.06.2020
Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Audi e-tron Sportback: Combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km (62.1 mi): 26.3 - 21.6 (WLTP); 23.9 - 20.6 (NEFZ); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 0   CEO more >>
All-New 2021 TLX Advances Acura’s Commitment to Safety Performance - with video
18.06.2020
    2021 TLX targets the highest available safety ratings from both NHTSA and IIHS    Next-generation passenger front airbag is designed to mitigate head trauma in angled frontal collisions    Standard AcuraWatch™ technology expands with improved pedestrian-sensing capabilities, Driver Attention more >>
SEAT: Driving the Summer of the Staycation
17.06.2020
As lockdowns around the world begin to ease and a whole new post-pandemic world starts to take shape, one thing is certain; air travel is uncertain, meaning car travel and local tourism is expected to prevail… 2020 is going to be the summer of the staycation. In this important year for holidaying at home, SEAT is here to help; providing the perfect road trip car which not only help more >>
All Volkswagen plants back to production with effect from today
16.06.2020
  The Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico.  All 16 Volkswagen brand plants are now producing  The last plant, at Puebla, Mexico, resumes production today  Volkswagen brand Board Member res more >>
Following a 17-year hiatus, the Mustang Mach 1 returns
16.06.2020
The all-new Mach 1 will bridge the gap between the Mustang GT and Shelby models, just as the original did, providing functional aerodynamic enhancements, suspension upgrades and a new standard of 5.0-liter V8 track-ready performance.  The Mach 1 engineering and design teams collaborated to recapture the Mach 1 style, while still meeting the high aerodynamic demands more >>
Dacia launches inventive car ad made during lockdown
16.06.2020
....to show you can do a lot with a little    Dacia has used its principles of efficient engineering and ingenuity to develop a new TV advert    Thirty second advert to be aired on TV and online from Monday more >>
Exclusive European roadshow leads the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport to Hamburg
16.06.2020
HAMBURG SHOWROOM PRESENTS THE LATEST CHIRON FAMILY MEMBER.Since its world premiere in March, customers and fans around the world have been impatiently waiting to admire the Chiron Pur Sport [1] live. After Paris and London, the newest member of the Chiron [2] fam more >>
Electronic repairs: Groupe PSA expands its circular economy offering in Europe and select Faurecia Clarion Electronics
15.06.2020
PSA Aftermarket continues its development in the circular economy by expanding its partnership with Faurecia Clarion Electronics (FCE) for multi-brand electronic repairs. Groupe PSA is expanding its existing partnership with Faur more >>
CUPRA and Marset begin their collaboration from Barcelona - Introducing the new Chispa lamp
12.06.2020
    From the co-creation project, the two brands present Chispa by Marset for CUPRA, a design lamp that is portable, rechargeable and cordless, which will be launched in October    Designers from both brands have worke more >>
The new Porsche Cayenne GTS models - Now with a V8 engine again
12.06.2020
SUV duo with sporty set-up and exclusive equipmentDynamism and exclusivity together: with the Cayenne GTS and Cayenne GTS Coupé, Porsche is supplementing its SUV line-up with two new models designed with superb driving performance in mind. Typically for more >>
Road safety: Europe's roads are getting safer but progress remains too slow
12.06.2020
Compared to previous years, fewer people lost their lives on EU roads in 2019, according to preliminary figures published today by the European Commission. An estimated 22 800 people died in a road crash last year, almost 7 000 fewer fatalities than in 2010 – a decrease of 23%. more >>
Groupe PSA Virtual Showroom brings retailers to the comfort of buyers homes
11.06.2020
Groupe PSA, with its Brands of Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroën and DS Automobiles has launched a new Virtual Showroom that allows customers to view the latest models with exclusive live tours, interact with Brand Specialists, book test drives at their convenience and even purchase vehicles from the comfort of their own homes. more >>
Five Millionth BMW Built in the U.S.
11.06.2020
BMW Manufacturing Achieved Historic Milestone on June 4. BMW Manufacturing achieved another milestone on June 4 with production of the five millionth BMW built in the United States. The historic vehicle is a Toronto Red Metalli more >>
Porsche mourns the death of Hans Mezger, Engineering legend
11.06.2020
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG mourns the death of Hans Mezger. The legendary engineer died on June 10, 2020 at the age of 90. Porsche owes him not only the Porsche 911's air-cooled, six-cylinder boxer engine but also the overall construction of the 917 and its twelve-cylinder engine as well as his creation of the TAG Turbo Formula One engine. more >>
Rolls-Royce Cars issues clarification following recent announcements by Rolls-Royce PLC
11.06.2020
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has issued a statement in response to continuing media confusion and misreporting concerning its assumed or implied connection to Rolls-Royce plc.Media are kindly asked to note that images of Rolls-Royce motor cars, the black and silver “Double R” logo, the “Spirit of Ecstasy” (“Flying Lady”) mas more >>
Multimatic launches new Special Vehicle Operations Group - MSVO
11.06.2020
    Multimatic Special Vehicle Operations (MSVO) will focus exclusively on niche vehicle development and the company’s motorsports programmes    Larry Holt will head the organisation as Executive Vice President more >>
Revenant Automotive launches new face of bespoke Aston Martin Vantage customisation
11.06.2020
    Redesigned bumper now available to order for current Aston Martin Vantage    New design incorporates two openings instead of the original’s one large grille    H more >>
Wenco and Oxbotica partner to develop first-ever open autonomy solution for mining industry
11.06.2020
    Wenco, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Hitachi Construction Machinery, and Oxbotica sign MOU to develop a world-first Open Autonomy solution for mining.       Industry-leading system to provid more >>
SEAT - From ice cubes to the Climatronic
10.06.2020
    The first cooling system in a car was a container with ice to prevent the engine from overheating    Triangular windows were an innovative solution in the 50s    SEAT’s first model with factory installed air conditioning was the 132    By means of multiple sensors, more >>
The John Cooper Works GP Pack - Inspired by motor sport
10.06.2020
New special option for the MINI John Cooper Works.   Exclusive design attributes transfer the fascinating aura of the MINI John Cooper Works GP produced in a limited edition to the road an more >>
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport – A lap in the new hyper sports car
10.06.2020
“I never want to get out again.” – Around Bilster Berg with Sven Bohnhorst.The rear end breaks out slightly into a controlled drift, the tires start to squeal. Sven Bohnhorst reacts with lightning speed, countersteers briefly an more >>
Preparations for BMW iX3 start of production proceeding according to plan
09.06.2020
- Homologation tests successfully concluded - First pure electric model from BMW core brand will be produced on schedule in China for global market starting in late summer The BMW Group is systematically purs more >>
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport continues its tour through Europe
09.06.2020
LONDON SHOWROOM PRESENTS THE LATEST CHIRON FAMILY MEMBER.It feels most at home on winding roads and circuits: The new Chiron Pur Sport1. The extreme hyper sports car will also soon be seen in numerous European cities. more >>
Lexus creates: Origami
09.06.2020
    Lexus initiates a global socially-driven program that encourages viewer participation    The luxury automaker partners with UK based origami artist Coco Sato for its first installment more >>
From the SEAT 1400 to the all-new Leon : Generation change
09.06.2020
    SEAT celebrates its 70th anniversary: from the SEAT 1400 to the all-new Leon    The SEAT 1400, the luxurious and elegant saloon, marked the birth of the brand    Today, the all-new SEAT Leon embodies the spirit of the 1400, taking the company to new places and helping define the segment with its a more >>
Head of MINI Design Oliver Heilmer on the new MINI Countryman and what we can
08.06.2020
“Reduction creates space for emotionality.” The MINI Countryman is the tradition-rich British brand’s largest and most versatile model. And now the new Countryman is ready to hit the road. The car’s des more >>
Audi Digital information weeks for apprenticeships
05.06.2020
   June 15 to 25: Trainers and apprentices give live insight into apprenticeships at Audi        June 22: Applications begin for the 2021 apprenticeship year  From June 15 to 25, interested hig more >>
Hyundai Motor reveals the new Santa Fe
03.06.2020
...featuring a range of premium enhancements    The new Santa Fe features a rugged, yet sophisticated new design    Now, for the first time, state-of-the-art hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are available more >>
Upgraded KIA Picanto - A distinctive new design with "class-above" technologies
03.06.2020
    Refreshed design for all models, including ‘GT-Line’ and ‘X-Line’ variants    A vibrant character: new interior colour customisation options available    Efficient new ‘Smartstream’ petrol powertrain line-up and a new Automated Manual Transmission option for drivers needing an au more >>
Technical innovations tested in motorsport made their way into road cars from SKODA
03.06.2020
› Motorsport and especially rallying were always a catalyst for the development of technologies for series production vehicles› Four-wheel drive, turbocharging, direct fuel injection and downsized engines prove their reliability on rally tracks as well as in ŠKODA road cars during daily use more >>
New Mokka First to Bring Future Opel Cockpit- Fully Digital
03.06.2020
    Fascinating: interior characterized by new Pure Panel with large displays    Digital detox: displays provide most important information about driving situation Rüsselsheim.  The n more >>
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) starts production of new 1.5L TNGA engine in Poland
03.06.2020
    Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) has started production of the new 1.5L petrol “Dynamic Force Engine” at its site in Jelcz-Laskowice     Belonging to Toyota’s New Globa more >>
2001-2022 copyright automobilsport.com