Panda (Classic) Giuseppe the '88 Italian Thoroughbred Sisley


We all know how hard it is at present to find a decent second hand 4x4 in this country, spending 3-4k will get you a clean looking one but it cannot guarantee that it hasn't been filled up with every kind of repair material going.
Knowing this it was hard to decide on what to do when Hadrian was finally condemned earlier this year - should I start saving for a guaranteed solid mk2 in this country, was it worth just forgetting the early models and look at going for a cheaper mk3, or should I think about widening the search over seas? It was obvious that it was not an option to forget getting another one!
After a lot of thought and discussion with friends, family and other forum members it was time to start looking.

The search began way out east: Japan.
A couple of friends of mine over in Newcastle have imported several cars from here, and after a little research it was found that Panda 4x4s quite regularly come up through the auctions that they use on the SmileJV network. After a couple of weeks an average sale price became apparent of between £200 and £600, but also on top of that the shipping costs and associated payments totalled around £3k to get to the point of collecting the car from the docks. It turned out to be quite costly to get a proper inspection done on the car before the bidding even started and given that the majority of Pandas that are available in Japan are left hand drive anyway it seemed like a better plan to start looking a bit more locally.

The search then carried on into Europe.
With a lot of help and advice from our Forum friends David aquamarine and Andy andyholli it seemed more practical to go down the lines of looking for one from the warmer regions of our European countries. With the possibility of help from members of our newly linked Italian Panda 4x4 Club the search widened to the southern regions of Italy, in order to find a sun-baked rot-free fully inspected by a trustworthy eye example which we could collect and drive/trailer back.

The ball had begun to roll, but then one evening not so long ago I was tagged on facebook by a friend in these photos...




I began to enquire as it first seemed that these were a couple of off-the-radar cars.

Located down in Somerset these were two of eight Pandas that had been imported from Italy a couple of years previous by a company who were looking to make a bit of money on resale. Talking to Gavin Palio we found out that the owner had originally contacted him a while again since looking for help getting rid of them. Finding out that it was a fairly large company that were selling them was good in my eyes, because the prospects of communication was likely to be more positive, as I couldn't exactly just nip down and have a look! Thankfully Gav sorted a viewing out through one of his contacts who lived close by. Naturally I was interested in the Green 4x4; roofrack, lifted suspension and generally rough looking - ideal for me. The viewing took place, photos were taken and passed on and it became clear that the green one was out of the picture - rot had set in.
It was fantastic of Gav to help out, but I had messed up because I had told his contact to concentrate efforts on the green one and forget the other one - mainly because it had twin sunnies. Talking to Freddy panda1408 it was clear that I should forget the sunroof issue and strongly consider the Burgundy Sisley. Thankfully our Forum friend Si pandamonius_maximus had previously offered to help me out with a viewing so this time he went down to have a look around. The news came back; the news was good.

So one weekend two months ago Freddy and I set off southbound with the Landy and trailer to gain us a Panda, all being well ofcourse.
The day was sunny, the drive was long, but before long my new car was hitched up and on it's way back up North!


Ofcourse we had to have a break on the way back and we'd kindly been invited for a late lunch at Si's pad. An excellent burger cooked on the Panda-Q 666 and a look at his cars later; we were back on the road.
The hour was late on our arrival back at Freddy's workshop, we barely had time to unhitch and ditch before I had to carry on my journey to the homelands...


And that's where the first chapter ends! The car will stay at Freddy's to be professionally undersealed and cavity waxed before the build from the ashes of Hadrian begins.

So with some excellent pictures from Freddy and without further ado; this is my new Italian Thoroughbred Sisley!







Named "Giuseppe" after the previous owner on the logbook, this car has come all the way from the province of Roma - and is solid as a rock...







...apart from this bit...


...and there might be an issue with the fuel tank...


...and also the prop shaft may require changing...


But apart from those small, little, minor, tiny problems - all in comparison with the work that Hadrian would have required - I am very pleased indeed.
Freddy and I rolled around in the dirt checking everything before handing over the cash initially, but he and I were pleasantly surprised to find just how good it really is considering the cost of the car!

So chapter two's beginning is now imminent. The car's running like a bag of spanners at present, suspected carb rebuild required (wahey) and a bloody good service should sort this out. Welding before the great underseal and cavity wax and then I will be heading down for a weekend of parts-transferring and UK road legal-making.

Chapter three will then consist of the paperwork. I have all of the forms required and the car has been properly NOVA'd on arrival in the UK. I will probably publish the work required in this thread for future reference of other members.

So for now all that's left is to say a massive thankyou again to all that have helped and continue to help me get back on the trails - David, Andy, Gav, Si and Freddy your are legends :)

The story will continue...


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