It is forty years young and has never looked better. Since 1980, Panda has shared the Italian small car scene with the 500 accompanying young people and families in their lives. It features in many great memories but still the steady leader in its category, with over 7.5 million units produced to date.
On February 29, 1980, Giovanni Agnelli officially presented the Panda to the former President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini, who was astonished by the shape and proportions of the car that offered unprecedented space and comfort for a vehicle of its size. The car was officially presented to the international press at the Geneva Motor Show a few days later, on March 5.
Evolution and blend of the glorious Fiat 126 and 127, whose engines it inherits, the Panda was designed in record time by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who created a compact two-box hatchback, with two doors, tailgate and front-wheel drive. Simple in its technical layout but styled to be practical and surprisingly roomy, the Panda makes optimal use of space being compact on the outside but big on the inside.
The Fiat Panda's looks were functional and unfussy, with big wrap-around bumpers, a broad protective strip on the sides and large windows. The flat windows (including even the windscreen) provided plenty of light in the basic but very practical interior, built with simple but hard-wearing materials, all of them completely washable.
The two-cylinder 30 HP air-cooled engine, an evolution of the historic unit introduced on the 500 in 1957 and also used on the 126, was fitted on the Panda 30, intended for the Italian market. It was distinguished from the Panda 45, fitted with the 4 cylinder 903 cc engine of the 127, by the different, asymmetrical position of the metal grid on the radiator grille: on the 30, the slots were on the right to supply air to the two cylinder engine's fan, while on the 45 the slots and coolant radiator were both on the left.