If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln


Time for today’s Fiat, the 141.

But, I hear you say, there wasn’t one.

There was. The Mk1 Panda was described internally as the 141.

The Panda was designed by Italdesign to be a cheap, simple but clever small car and they went to some trouble to meet these requirements. The glass was flat all around because cheaper. One wiper, also cheap. The seat covers and other trim parts could be removed and washed and the rear seat could be folded in interesting ways or removed altogether. The rear suspension was just a beam axle and cart springs.


The first Panda was available in two varieties, described by their power (or lack of it, to be honest), the 30 and 45.

Here’s a 30


Here’s a 45


Can you spot the difference? Look at the grilles. The 30 had a 652cc twin from the 126 while the 45 got a four from the 127, both driving a four speed box and the front wheels.

Pandas weren’t all that basic though. Want to go a little way, or even a surprisingly long way, off road? You needed the 4x4.


More power (48bhp!), part time 4wd and a five speed box with a crawler first

Didn’t like suck-squeeze-bang-blow engines? The Panda Elettra for you. Three times the price of the cheapest petrol Panda and only 20 bhp, so it sold in its dozens. Only two seats, because the bulky batteries had to go somewhere


Didn’t want to change gear? The Selecta for you, with a belt and pulley CVT from Subaru which featured an electromagnetic clutch.

Didn’t like spark plugs? A diesel arrived in 1986.

Liked carrying things? A van became available. Yes, it was supposed to look like that.


The first Panda was made until 2003 and despite the reputation of Italian cars for self destructing almost immediately it’s still one of the most common cars there. They’re absolutely everywhere, including up Vesuvius.


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