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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Should I buy a Panda?

I've come across a beautiful 1990 Panda that looks and sounds to be in good nick. Low miles and looks clean from the pictures. I haven't seen it in the flesh yet, but am going to make a trip out to it this week.

I'm a complete novice though, so I'm a bit worried whether I'd be mad to take it on. I'd be really grateful for some tips and advice! I have these questions so far:

- The asking price is 1,750 . Assuming it's in good condition is that a reasonable price?
- Any particular problems that I should be looking out for when I go to view it?
- Do these cars normally come with rear seatbelts or might I need to get them retrofitted? If so is that easily done?
- I'm fairly handy, but I'm no petrolhead. For anything complicated I'll need to take the car to the local indie mechanic. Am I gonna end up spending a lot on maintenance?
- The car will have to live on my driveway exposed to the elements. Will that be a problem?

Thanks in advance for any help
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

Hi there BraveInca, nice to see someone else interested in Pandas

Key thing with the Pandas is to pay for the condition, not the mileage. That's what I learned when I first came onto the Fiat Forum last year when I was looking for aid in finding details for the Panda I was going to look at, which I ended up buying.

Starting with what to look for - rust. While the car may look tidy on top, it could be hiding lots underneath. Common areas to go are the door corners at the bottom, and a fair amount underneath is prone to it, but make sure to have a good prod at the sills as these tend to be the problem areas.

Paying 1,750 is a lot for a standard Panda. I bought a 1000 Fizz for 1,150 (saved 100 on the asking price), it was at 26k miles and had just been freshly MOT'd and serviced, very minimal rust (bubbled door corners and one area on the inner sill), with age related dinks/dents/scratches but nothing that put me off. Maintenance wise I've only had to do the alternator within the last year, which is not too expensive and is easily doable yourself.

However, if this really is a good Panda, you'll save money in the long run. If you don't have to fork out the cash for welding on sills etc, then you'll save the money over time.

My 1993 has all three sets of rear seatbelts, the 1990 will have two sets in the rear and possibly a middle one too but I'm not sure, it's worth asking for a picture/looking at it while you're there. The seatbelts are easy to remove (I removed some from a scrap 4x4 a few months back, just a few plastic covers and bolts). Just remember that the seat belts can be tucked under the rear seat/into the boot so if you don't see them immediately then they may be there!

The rust and all tends to be caused by being exposed to the elements while driving as opposed to while sitting on the driveway. If you've got a good Panda then you'll want to waxoyl the underneath with good quality Bilt Hamber stuffs and this includes their special cavity wax for the inner sills. Keeping it on the driveway will be fine, just take good care!

Overall, the problem areas now and forever tend to be with rust so have a good look. The money to pay is quite a lot but paying more now should mean paying less later. It's hard to tell what you should pay without knowing the exact details of what it is though, which engine is it etc?

Hope this helps!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

in short, yes.

however. for the price it would have to be pretty mint. a good 4x4 is getting on for that price.. (unless i have been out of the loop while i have been over in trator citroen land and the panda has shot up in value?)

general things to look out for is split rubber CV boots leaking gear box oil, rust on the sills (feel all the way along them pressing the backs of the sills as you get towards the rear wheel), engines are pretty bomb proof - if the cam belt ever snaps it will not damage the engine and pretty much anyone can do a cam belt change on this car with basic tools, do an MOT history check on the car to see what it previously had issues with it will let you know what has been renewed, or may need renewing.
gear linkages (side to side) can be a little loose but adding a washer to the bottom of the gear stick can fix that. oh, one mod you might look into is swapping the old "points" system out with the electronic "point less" system the 4x4's and later pandas have.. one less thing to sevice.
i also recommend checking the gear box oil level as it is always neglected. its a 12mm allen key and the plug is located on the front of the gearbox half way up facing the radiator. the oil level should be level with the hole.

simple cars like the panda are more easy to fix. parts are still available for it too as it shares many engine parts with the punto's and cinquecentos.

i recommend rust proofing the car. undersealing and cavity wax will stop any future rust. the doors on fiat pandas are a common rust point, pretty much every one has rusty doors. if you do not have any rusty doors on this car you are looking at please sell me them.. ahem i mean make sure that you get them rust proofed internally to preserve them.

one thing to remember with the panda is that you are taking a step back in time with this car, you just cant compare it to modern day vehicles. unlike the new stuff, the panda will give you a "real" (all be it not that quick) driving experience. the panda just about keeps up with modern traffic ok. its surprisingly good on fuel, the heaters work very quickly and the seating position is something i find rather pleasant.

being a 1990 you will have 3 point seat belts fitted to all seating positions minus the lap belt in the middle of the rear bench if your model supports that. (you can always install that after market as the bolt holes will be there for it)

that said, you will have a great time driving one. i do! i have access to 2 other modern, quicker, more refined cars but i always go for the panda. they are just fun. other people seem to like seeing them about too as you get no end of smiles aimed at you when out on the road. (for me its sometimes disgust at the appearance of mine haha)

i recommend trying before buying (as i do with pretty much everything)
i would not say that panda ownership is a labour of love as.. well since i got mine on the road, they have never needed anything doing to them.. they just keep going and going.

hope this helps!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

Forgot to mention the MOT history check, well spotted Dragon - it's worth doing an MOT history check on the official DVLA website and if you can, pay for one of those "My Car Check" things that check all the other stuffs
Quote Originally Posted by Dragon Man View Post
however. for the price it would have to be pretty mint. a good 4x4 is getting on for that price.. (unless i have been out of the loop while i have been over in trator citroen land and the panda has shot up in value?)
The Panda 4x4s on Car and Classic are showing 2.5-3.5k right now, albeit they haven't sold yet Still, the values are definitely going up, I need to get a 4x4 sooner rather than later at this rate!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

Thanks both for the really helpful info! I'll post again after I've seen the car.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #6
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

Simple answer, setting aside whether you get THIS Panda, is YES.
They are a lot of fun, are appreciating in value, and if you have a basic bit of spannering skill/interest in you; they are very rewarding and straightforward to work on and fix.
Parts, well certain parts, are an issue, but this forum is wonderful in that regard.
I think 1750 is a bit heavy. 1200 for a good one is plenty, imho. Up to you. If you love it, good ones seem to be appreciating.
I love ours, and have just bought another one; Sisley 4x4, which has been my dream since the late 80's. Too many is never too many.
Good luck!
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Last edited by ChrisnCareyAnn; 6 Days Ago at 10:40. Reason: Original unclear
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Old 6 Days Ago   #7
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

You will get lots out of a good Panda...
And you Will became a petrolhead as well!
Let us know if you manage to get it and don't forget to always negotiate a good deal
As the others have suggested research the critical rust areas and the know engine/gearbox issues
Good luck!!!
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Old 5 Days Ago   #8
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

In my humble opinion, the best part of buying a Panda is actually the support from this forum and the social scene. I've had a lot of classic cars, but I have never before experienced the friendly support and advice that you get from the Panda people. There's none of that 'it must be original or you're not welcome' nonsense, everyone is always lending a hand with each other if they need parts or help, whatever is wrong with your car someone else has fixed it before and will offer their experience. Panda owners regularly meet up for friendly, informal events - again it's not all 'look how shiny my engine is' and talk about technical things with flat caps on, just nice normal(ish) people who all love these quirky little cars. Join us!
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Old 5 Days Ago   #9
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

Quote Originally Posted by northernchap View Post
In my humble opinion, the best part of buying a Panda is actually the support from this forum and the social scene. I've had a lot of classic cars, but I have never before experienced the friendly support and advice that you get from the Panda people. There's none of that 'it must be original or you're not welcome' nonsense, everyone is always lending a hand with each other if they need parts or help, whatever is wrong with your car someone else has fixed it before and will offer their experience. Panda owners regularly meet up for friendly, informal events - again it's not all 'look how shiny my engine is' and talk about technical things with flat caps on, just nice normal(ish) people who all love these quirky little cars. Join us!
...and depending on where you are, you could get one of the forum members to come and look at the car with you. I wouldn't have bought mine without the support from this forum (you know who you are) and the advice to fix the (luckily for me) small niggly things.

Good luck!
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Old 4 Days Ago   #10
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Should I buy a Panda?

October was a lonely time then suddenly 3 Sisley pandas came our way , ever since that day tending caring and providing for them has been our fate one now is becoming stronger and stronger in fact he's grown up into a rather large boy , his brother has become more Sickly and we fear the end may be sooner than later .
But the good news is that the younger sister coughed then spluttered and woke from her ten years of sleep
With a sigh now resting once more for summer time
Might sound like a fairy tail but alas It's been a NIGHTMARE
Go for it it will be worth while
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Old 3 Days Ago   #11
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Re: Should I buy a Panda?

It's all ended in tears unfortunately. I was planning to use it as a weekend runabout (we have another car in the family already) but I can't get insured unless I have a primary car in my own name (family car is in my wife's name). If she bought and insured the panda in her own name then she could drive it but I still can't be a named driver without having another "primary" car.

These are the rules over here (I'm in Dublin) for classic insurance. I can't get "normal" insurance on a car over 20 years old so I'm stuck.

Oh well. Thanks for the helpfulness tips and hopefully they will encourage and help someone else who's searching the forum in future.

If anyone's interested I found out that the car had been garaged unused for around 10 years. Elderly owner who since passed away. It passed the NCT (=MOT) in August last year so should be structurally and mechanically sound.

I still think it was priced too high (2000 = 1750) so I was going to make a starting offer of half that and see how I got on. It's been for sale for a while so I would have had hope.

I need 5 posts to post the link.
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