Pandamania: The Purchase

jes and I bought a 1989 Fiat Panda Sisley 4x4 over the weekend. 4x4 Pandas are something of a poor man’s classic car, and there’s an interesting Wheeler Dealers episode about the model if you’re interested.

Our plan with the Panda is to do it up, make it pass the MOT, take it down to Salisbury Plain for a bit of offroading, and then sell it on. We had found it on eBay for £300, and drove down on a Sunday to pick it up from a dealer in Salisbury along with a car-load of spare parts.

The car is not in great shape. It was piled high with parts taken off another Panda, is significantly rusted, has been partially melted in the front, and in its later years was run with a jerry can instead of a petrol tank. It does, however, start first time, and if you take a photo from the right angle on a sunny day, it doesn’t look all that bad:

The entire situation is a bit of a shame really, because it looks like it was a really handsome little thing before it was left to fester. I especially like the solidly boxy late-80s/early-90s design, which you don’t really see on many cars these days.

One of the first things we did was to re-connect the fuel line to the engine so that we could fill the fuel tank rather than running it out of an ASDA pickle jar. There didn’t appear to be anything wrong with the fuel line or the fuel tank, so it was simply a matter of reconnecting the line to the engine and we were good to go.

We also did a lot of clearing out, which involved gloves, finding a lot of disgusting things, and hauling an engine onto jes’s garden (yes, that is a bar of rust hanging from the rear door frame):

jes is in charge of the engineering for this mission, while I reprise my role as apprentice and social media manager. The first job we have set ourselves is to fix the front brakes, which are essentially non-functional. Pretty much the entire brake system will require a rebuild from the ground up, which is what we’re going to be working on this week. I’ll have more updates as we progress but for now, here’s us getting a wheel off the car, followed by the brake callipers:

It’s going to be quite a job, so stay tuned!