Happy Birthday Fiat Panda

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Pandinaaaaa, happy birthday to you! Forty-three years have passed since the birth of one of the most iconic cars of all time: in 1980, the Fiat Panda was presented at the Geneva motor show.It is the car of records:- leader of the city car market in Europe with over 375,000 cars sold each year;- the first 4x4 hatchback;- the first small car to win the title of 'Car of the Year' in 2004.
Although the super-utility car born from the pencil of Giorgetto Giugiaro is now in its third generation, the most iconic remains that of 1980. It may be that in the collective imagination the Fiat Panda is the grandfather's car with the beret that sits in front of us when we are late, or that its square design, compact dimensions and plenty of interior space have made it a very recognisable car, but the city car weighing just 700 kg and with its truly economical running costs is the car of our hearts.
Everyone loves the Panda, even VIPs. Among the famous, there is one category that is really crazy about it: footballers! When he played for Inter, Vidal bought a teal one (the same colour as my mother's!!!) and having to leave the Milanese team he was so sad to abandon his beloved Pandina that one of his former teammates, Samir Handanovic, bought it. The mystery is: how on earth does Handanovic fit into Vidal's teal Pandina? Another one who cannot do without his 4x4 is the Divin Codino. Yes, Roberto Baggio, the 1993 Ballon d'Or winner, proudly drives a military green Panda 4x4. We see him in the Netflix documentary Una semplice domanda, in which Cattelan and Baggio get lost in the woods on board the legendary Panda. Since we mentioned Netflix, for par condicio, we point out that in the first episode of the second season of Dinner Club, on Prime Video, Paola Cortellesi and Carlo Cracco drive a Panda 4x4 through the Sila region. Not only do they travel in the legendary Panda, but they also sleep on it, inside a tent mounted on the roof. Cracco says they sleep in comfort, Cortellesi has a different idea of comfort.
The limited editions and collaborations put on the market over the past 43 years are many, from Sisley to Val d'Isere to the Italia '90 made to celebrate the World Cup hosted at home. This particular model is characterised by its all-white paintwork, matching grille and bumpers, Italia '90 logo, 'Ciao' mascot and wheel covers decorated like the footballs of the time. There is also a Cabrio version, and it is unobtainable. A number of luxury brands have also linked themselves to this legendary car, the first being Sergio Tacchini, then Alessi, and recently Trussardi. Some are very rare models and highly sought after by collectors, check if your grandparents have some in the garage, it could be worth some money.
And let's not forget the Panda Elettra, which was a kind of ecological 'experiment' in the 1990s. It was an electrically powered model with lead-acid batteries. But after the initial enthusiasm, it turned out to be a flop due to its low autonomy and long charging times. Then we came along with the one you all know, the Panda Integral-e. Another experiment, of only two examples, commissioned by the Italian Army, was the Panda Torpedo. It was a lightweight, highly mobile car based on a 4x4, but traces of it were lost due to the end of funding.
And what about the Seat Marbella? Well, the story is a bit complex, suffice it to say that at first Seat and Fiat were friends, then they fell out. Except that at the time, half the Seat range was represented by Fiat models produced and sold under licence. These included the hugely popular Panda, which had to be 'transformed' into a new model renamed Marbella to avoid infringing intellectual property rights. Speaking of Seat, in 1982 Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of his visit to Spain, travelled in a Seat Panda fitted out as a Popemobile. The pontiff was supposed to meet the faithful in the classic Mercedes 230G at the Camp Nou in Barcelona and the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, but it was judged to be too big and cumbersome.
A curiosity: The first people to review the Fiat Panda in February 1980 were reporters from Quattroruote. To do so, however, they literally stole the car of two official test drivers, noting the fact that the keys had been left on the dashboard. The journalists calmly tested the car and then put it back in its place, without the rightful owners finding out: Lupin III shunned. Then this pair of thieving journalists put the Pandino through its paces - three years later and in the 4×4 version - along the rugged roads of Iceland, where the vehicle performed exemplary despite hard-to-find petrol.
Of all the cars that have entered car history by right and models that have marked an era thanks to legendary technical and styling solutions, the Fiat Panda is the one that comes closest to the myth for all budgets. The first commercials called it the big hatchback, and for TV commercials if it didn't exist it would have to be invented, so how can you blame them?And so, best wishes again dear Panda.
Latest news