Fiat Coupe Club UK

Panda 100HP

Posted By: B3nson

Panda 100HP - 06/02/2021 17:00

Hi everyone,
I've joined up the forum as i'm looking to get a 20V Turbo in the near future. In meantime, i thought I'd put up a little thread on my Panda 100HP.

After 14 years of driving I unforunately had my first proper crash last August, which resulted in my R53 Cooper S barrel rolling down a country a lane. As it was no longer Mini shaped following this, it was time to buy a replacement.
Being a bit of a fan of FWD (previously owned 172 Clio, EP3 Civic, Accord Type R, DC2 Integra..), no longer having a no claims bonus and also having a rule of never owning the same model twice, I decided it was the ideal time to try a Panda 100HP. I'd always fancied one since the early reviews in EVO magazine many years ago, but as it was a cheap, low powered Fiat it'd never got any further than that.

My budget was around 2000 as that is what I'd got back from the written off R53. I wasn't fussy about spec or colour, but wanted it to have good history, under 100,000 miles and no issues with the climate control/heater (as this is one of big issues with these).
I found one in Angelsey (only a 4 hour train ride away!) that ticked my boxes, and as the seller could actually communicate like a normal human being, this assured me enough to send a deposit based on a few photos and a video sent over Facebook.

It was obvious when I collected that although it had been well looked after, it had also been sitting for sometime during lockdown as the clutch was very stiff and jerky, the brakes sticky when pulling away and something squealed from the engine bay at high revs. Obviously I didn't bother driving it before handing over my cash so decided as it was a Fiat, an Italian tune up was the best resolution. Luckily my trip home took me across North Wales and past Snowdonia. By the time I had reached some fun B-roads the squeal had resolved itself, along with the sticky brakes. The clutch was still a little stiff but was alot better after some enthusiastic gear changes.
First impressions were that despite ste budget tyres it handled very tidily, and that despite only 100HP it really felt alot quicker than I expected. It also sounded rather nice at high revs, thanks to standard induction noise and a subtle aftermarket exhaust. The interior was pretty underwelming, the bluetooth in the standard radio didn't work and the coolant was getting up to temperature properly but I felt like an 18 year old again in that it was cheap, simple fun.

All of this for 1800 and I got 45mpg on average on the journey home.

As it's purpose is for 2 things, to commute a 100 mile round trip to work and to also be used for Autosolos (and hopefully later this year, Targa Rallies) I soon had a list of minor repairs and upgrades to work my way through, as most of us do on a long trip back in a new car!

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Posted By: B3nson

Re: Panda 100HP - 06/02/2021 17:02

I soon discovered one of the best things about owning an old Panda, parts are so cheap!

The same evening I got home, I entered it into it's first Autosolo, ordered a new thermostat housing (less than 20) and 4 new Toyo TR1s (about 38 a corner!). There are definitely better tyres available, but the Toyo's I've found very good for the money and Autosolos tend to chew up tyres fairly quickly.

I also looked up a new clutch slave cylinder (the common source of sticky/stiff clutch pedals on these) but unforunately they were out of stock everywhere. Good news was it would only be 25 when it was available.

The thermostat was replaced inside of 30 minutes on the driveway, tyres fitted by a mate and I was off to Finmere to splash around in puddles for the day.
On slippery, broken tarmac the Panda was an absolute riot (definitely more fun than the R53 which I had been using previously) and on it's first outing got me a 2nd in class. It did unforunately blow the oxygen sensor out of the manifold, which on later inspection was found to be crossthreaded by whoever had replaced in the past. A few dabs of weld between the sensor and manifold and it's not coming again, so let's hope it doesn't fail in future!

The autosolo also showed how unsupportive the standard drivers seat is when being a bit more enthuiastic, so the next step was a proper bucket seat..

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Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Panda 100HP - 06/02/2021 18:03

Cracking write up! You'll find lots of friends of Pandas of all flavours here. I still haven't scratched my 100hp itch, so your tale is putting temptation in my way... Good luck finding a decent 20VT too.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Panda 100HP - 06/02/2021 18:03

Cracking write up! You'll find lots of friends of Pandas of all flavours here. I still haven't scratched my 100hp itch, so your tale is putting temptation in my way... Good luck finding a decent 20VT too.
Posted By: Gripped

Re: Panda 100HP - 06/02/2021 20:04

Sounds like loads of fun!
Posted By: B3nson

Re: Panda 100HP - 06/02/2021 22:19

Thanks guys!

After a few weeks of deliberation I spotted Demon Tweeks were having a sale on eBay for Black Friday, so I bit the bullet and bought a brand new Sparco Sprint bucket seat which is worth 10% of value of the whole car...
I chose this particular seat as it's narrow enough to fit in the Panda without any issues. It's actually the narrowest seat that Demon Tweeks sell, and only clears the B-pillar by a few mm. I'd also had an older version fitted to a previously owned MX5 and found them suprisingly comfortable even over long distances.
The next step was fitting it to the car. Now you can get specific aftermarket subframes for these but the downside is they are designed to be used with harnesses only as the seatbelt stalk attached to the standard seat runners on the Pandas. As it's a daily and I need rear seat space, harnesses were not an option.
I decided to adapt a spare set of seat runners to take the Sparco seat, which involved using a set of aftermarket side mounts. The result isn't particular eye pleasing, and the seat is no lower than the standard seat so I will look to improve this in the future. Good news is, as these cars are so simple there is no airbag wiring to the seat or seatbelt stalk, so once I'd mounted the new seat in the runners it was a case of 4 bolts out, swapping the seats and 4 bolts back in.
The extra support is a huge improvement but now the steering wheel feels far too big, so that's going to be the next interior change.

After a couple more autosolos, next on my list was a new set of wheels which slightly taller sidewalls. Over rough tarmac and under hard cornering I had already started to damage the standard wheels, and as they're not known for being very robust anyway, a spare set was the best option.

Unfortunately wheels aren't easy to come by in the right PCD, size and offset. I found some Team Dynamics on Facebook which were essentially brand new and only an hour away. However once fitted I decided that I didn't like the look of them on the car as it looked a little bit like a 17 year olds first modified car. They were also in far too good a condition to ruin. I've now sold them on, and ordered some 15x6 steel wheels. The plan is to fit some 195 50 profile tyres (standard is 45 profile) and paint them white for a little bit of a 106 Rallye vibe.

I've had a few trips out in amongst the lockdowns we have at the moment, and it still makes me smile.
I have already got a wishlist of wants that is growing though - an ATB LSB would be awesome for autosolos, and an aftermarket rear ARB would also be benefical...

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Posted By: G_Man

Re: Panda 100HP - 27/04/2021 11:19

Interesting thread. A mate of mine had one and rated it highly - I haven't seen a bad review anywhere! He said I should shelve getting an early Abarth 500 and get a Panda 100hp instead. Are they that good confused
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Panda 100HP - 27/04/2021 17:20

I wanted to get one when we moved here to Germany but Anita outvoted me 'you picked the last two cars', 'well, you liked them', 'yes but I want something SUV' so we're getting a Renault Kadjar instead rolleyes

Neil
Posted By: G_Man

Re: Panda 100HP - 27/04/2021 17:35

Err who wears the lederhosen in your house Neil.. biglaugh
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Panda 100HP - 27/04/2021 21:27

I'm so confused about cars at the moment. I instinctively love the Panda 100hp and in other circumstances would have got one instead of the Micra, but after the over the top insanity of the 545i, I sort of wanted an anti-car.
Now, we're selling the Micra because we needed a load lugger to move house (step forward *proper* anti-car: 2007 C4 Grand Picasso).
Plus, (of coursa), the Corsa EV. Which just keeps impressing, against all my instincts. It actually feels like the future, when the noise and smells and visceral feel of internal combustion is all about fun, and electricity gets us smartly, quietly (and pretty quickly) from A to B. Unless B is a really long way away, obviously.
Sorry, did I go off topic a bit there?

Anyway, Panda 100hp? Bloody love 'em.
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Panda 100HP - 28/04/2021 17:28

Originally Posted by G_Man
Err who wears the lederhosen in your house Neil.. biglaugh


When you've been married as long as me, you know when it's time to give in gracefully. I still have the coupe (of course!) and I also have a fifty square meter man-cave rapidly filling with mechanical, electronic, computer, and opto equipment. Though I'm still a little confused how to use an astronomical telescope in the cellar!

Neil tongue
Posted By: Mark_S

Re: Panda 100HP - 02/05/2021 19:06

Originally Posted by barnacle
Originally Posted by G_Man
Err who wears the lederhosen in your house Neil.. biglaugh


When you've been married as long as me, you know when it's time to give in gracefully. I still have the coupe (of course!) and I also have a fifty square meter man-cave rapidly filling with mechanical, electronic, computer, and opto equipment. Though I'm still a little confused how to use an astronomical telescope in the cellar!

Neil tongue

you point it out of the hole where the coal comes in
Posted By: B3nson

Re: Panda 100HP - 04/05/2021 09:51


Originally Posted by G_Man
Interesting thread. A mate of mine had one and rated it highly - I haven't seen a bad review anywhere! He said I should shelve getting an early Abarth 500 and get a Panda 100hp instead. Are they that good confused


Yeah it really is. Much more than the sum of it's parts. It reminds me most of my old MK1 MX5, just simple honest fun.

Finally got my steelies fitted and i'm super happy with how it looks now, plus I don't have to worry about smashing the alloys in 50p shapes.
Took it for a little drive to some Welsh hills last week and took some photos.

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