Shed of the Week: Fiat Panda 100HP
Thanks to the internet, everyone’s an expert. The democratisation of data means that the days of picking up stupidly cheap cars from unsuspecting sellers are probably over.
Of course, nobody was ever going to pick up a barnfind Bugatti Royale for fifty quid, or a 250 GTO with a broken headlight at best offers around £295, but nowadays even mildly exciting bargains are about as common as a politician’s apology. Everything is accurately priced now, based on a combination of widely-available knowledge and what everyone else is asking.
Today’s Shed might be the exception that proves the rule. It’s a Fiat Panda, but not just any old Fiat Panda: this is a 2007 Panda 100HP in apparently good nick with a reasonable mileage, long MOT – and an unfeasibly low price of £975. Even on eBay, the normal asking price for a similar example would be twice that. Knock a few miles off the odo and you could easily triple it.
The Sheffield garage selling this one says it will not be beaten on price, and for once that could be true if there are no skeletons rattling in this particular car’s cupboard. There almost certainly will be a degree of actual rattling as these 100HPs are famous for their bone-crumblingly stiff suspension – 25 percent stiffer than the regular Panda. The upside of that rollerskate ride however is roller-derby rumbustiousness on the road.
For the full griff on what is good and what is not so good about the 100HP, we can do no better than to refer you to Al Suttie’s comprehensive guide here. In short though, the 100HP is a metal version of Taz, the Tasmanian devil character in the Looney Tunes cartoons. For them as don’t know, Taz was a fierce little creature capable of generating a dusty vortex by spinning on the spot before shooting off at high speed. To satisfy his insatiable appetite, he would devour anything in his path.
That pretty much sums up the 100HP, a rolling riot of a thing that is guaranteed to fill your heart with gladness and take away your sadness on the very glummest of glum days. It’s built on a good base. The cooking Mk2 Panda was designed for the cut and thrust of Italian city life: European hire fleet managers will confirm its ability take all kinds of abuse all day long and still come up smelling of fettucine. The 100HP’s um 100hp 1.4 engine moves the Panda up to the next level, wrapping a kernel of genuine performance snugly inside that tough little shell. Like Iron Man fresh off the mains.
100hp might not sound much, but in a 975kg car it’s more than enough to move things along at what seems like a crazy rate. Statistically, the rate actually isn’t that crazy, but you’ll be too busy laughing and saying ‘ow’ as you go over another carelessly-discarded matchstick to worry about any of that.
You probably wouldn’t be interested in a 100HP if most of your driving takes place on motorways and/or terrible roads, and you’ll be battling with understeer if you insist on trackdaying it, but if it’s a B-roads blaster you’re after you could do an awful lot worse. Plus you can soften things up quite a bit by swapping out the too-long rear bumpstops for Fiat Coupé ones.
The MOT history suggests it’s been correctly driven as per the manufacturer’s brief, ie hard. Most of the testers’ comments over the last five years have related to worn brakes, suspension and tyres. A leaky exhaust was sorted out at the end of last year. That’s a common failure on these.
Both the engine and the 6-speed box are robust. You just need to keep your eye on oil levels, and don’t stint on the changes. The ESP acronym doesn’t appear anywhere in the ad’s typical blizzard of garage-speak, suggesting that this £440 option box wasn’t ticked at the ordering stage. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as history indicates that ‘reliable automotive electrics’ and ‘Italian’ were rarely seen together in the same room. Shed used to potter around on an old Moto Guzzi motorbike that would quite literally bring the spark back into his life, especially in rainy weather.
A pleasant bonus that comes free with every Panda is practicality. You’ll be surprised how much stuff you can get in one. As PHer Paraicj commented on the Suttie guide thread, a couple of mountain bikes will go in the back (admittedly, once the wheels are off). The flaky cabin materials aren’t the best at standing up to this sort of rough treatment, so as an owner you’ll have to dial in something of a ‘fahgeddaboudit’ mentality. That practicality is partly a function of the car’s height, which is a negative when you’re driving it like a sports car.
As it stands, you’ve got a good few months worth of summer madness in store here before you need to start concentrating on getting the 100HP through its next test in December. Then you will find that parts are not only cheap but also easy to come by and fit.
The vendor’s Facebook site has lots of nice customer comments backing up its claim of a pressure-free sales environment. Cynical types will always cast a quizzical glance at FB comments like these, but Shed has a good feeling in his water about these ones.
Here’s the ad. Read it fast and then get on the blower because Al’s piece concludes with a ‘price now’ guide of ‘£2000 upwards’.
via PistonHeads.com News http://www.pistonheads.com/news/default.asp?storyId=