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Old 17-12-2008   #1
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Panda 30 is home at last!

The beige beauty has finally arrived after 1200 miles and 3 days driving through northern Italy, Switzerland, France, and most of England!

I set off last Friday morning on the National Express coach to Birmingham airport. I almost thought I wouldn't make it to Italy as first of all there was a major accident that closed the M6 at Birmingham, but the coach driver found a different route and got us there on time. Then the baggage conveyors at the airport broke down just before I arrived. But I made it to Rovigo for about 11.45pm local time.

On Saturday the guy selling the Panda met me at the hotel and gave me all the documents. I handed over the cash, and then he gave me the keys and that was the deal done! So here is the first photo of the Panda at the hotel- it even had its winter grill muff on.



My first job was to fill up with petrol, then start off on the journey home. I got lost in the first hour too. The route was the most direct route back, going on normal roads and a dual carriageway to start with, then joining the motorway at Verona and following this via Bergamo, Milan and then uphill all the way to the Swiss border. The weather was rubbish- very cloudy and a bit rainy, so I couldn't see much of the mountains, even when I was getting up into the Alps.
I topped up the tank at a service station somewhere on the way up to the border at Chiasso, then stopped at the border to get a vignette for the Swiss motorways. The low cloud was still there in Switzerland, but it got really exciting as the route gained altitude and the light started to go- there was snow, and lots of it...



I needed another loo stop too, so had a scary drive into a completely snow covered service station a few kms before the tunnel. I wondered if I would get stuck if I stayed too long. I quite liked the neon star at this place though.



Unfortunately, I missed the sign saying it was the Gotthard tunnel and only realised I was in it when I had been in the tunnel for quite a while and there was no end in sight! I stopped for a meal at a nice service area near Lucerne, and then stopped for the night at an Etap hotel in Basel- I had hoped to stay in Mulhouse and do a Top Gear style economy run- oh well.

Sunday was a loooong day, being the drive through France to Calais. The first couple of hours were nice- through the Vosges, as it was hilly, with snow covered pine trees. But the rest of the day was the endless rolling hills of northern France. I made it to Calais at around 7 on Sunday evening, got a take out pizza, then went for a quick drive to the seafront at Bleriot Plage to see the sea. I took this artsy long exposure picture- that's a ferry passing in the background.



I was booked on the 9.20am ferry on Monday morning, but for some reason it left really early- I ended up driving straight onto the ferry- I would have missed it had I turned up 15 or so minutes later. By 10.30 I had filled up at the Tesco's in Dover and was ready for the journey along the A2, M2, M25, M1 and M6 up to the south lake district- I was home for 5.40pm.



The car performed faultlessly, thank god, as it would have been a complete nightmare to break down in Europe.

So now I have to get the car ready for its mot. I've had to send the italian plates and documents back to Italy for the car to be deregistered- the documents will get sent back to me though.

I'll have to alter the rear fog light position- I think some re-wiring of the reversing light and a red bulb will be in order here, as I don't want to cut into the rear bumper to mount a light there.
The brakes might need bleeding, as it takes a second push of the pedal to get a firm feel (unless this is a terminally poorly master cylinder?).
I've got my eye on a pair of door mirrors on italian ebay, as it only has the one external mirror at the moment and I don't think it is even a Panda one.
I'll then tape the headlight lenses to get the beam pattern level.

I would also really love to get hold of the proper wheels- the spare wheel is the right type, and I picked up another in August, but if anyone has 2 or 3 hanging around...

I reckon it will be nearer the end of January when the car is road legal though, so I don't think I will be able to make the Gaydon meet up.

So there we are- I've done it!
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Old 17-12-2008   #2
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Sounds epic.....All that in a 30.....Glad it went well.....Good stuff!!!

Shame about Gaydon..but hey..I'm sure we will all get to see it soon.. kev
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Quote Originally Posted by Wee Smurf View Post
I don't have a classic Panda but regularly come here. It's much more friendly in the classic section than the nuovo section.
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Old 18-12-2008   #3
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Front quarterlights are cool. Would love the rad muff and all. Nice pics and good story!
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Old 18-12-2008   #4
Beware the Panda Face.
 
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

I think we all would like a Rad muff at the moment...
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Quote Originally Posted by Wee Smurf View Post
I don't have a classic Panda but regularly come here. It's much more friendly in the classic section than the nuovo section.
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Old 18-12-2008   #5
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Congratulation!! Long trip...and in snow!!

Could you confirm what engine you've got...If it's Panda 30 it should be
engine from 126 with twin carb...I would like to have that Panda!!
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Old 18-12-2008   #6
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Well done!

Sutjeska
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Old 18-12-2008   #7
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

What an adventure - well done, thats a long way with only two cylinders !! Id be really interested to see it at gaydon to see the engine, see how it looks compared to the 500 layout.
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Old 18-12-2008   #8
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Wow.... I take my hat off to you!

That was brave to do the whole trip with a site unseen car and no back up.

I'm amazed!

(and it looks lovely too)

Jim
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Old 18-12-2008   #9
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

I have to admit that I was papping myself on Saturday morning, wondering if I had made the right decision. But after driving the car for an hour or so, I was pretty sure it wouldn't die on me. Honest.

The engine is a 652cc engine- the same as later air-cooled 126s. The gearbox has stronger bearings, I think, and the clutch is different as the engine turns the other way to a 126. I haven't checked the carb on it yet- it will either be a twin-choke Solex or Weber. You can drive economically, or quickly, as you can feel (and hear) when the carb mechanism opens the second choke.

I'll be buying a tin of underseal tomorrow, as I have given the arches and sills a good wash down and clean, and will want to make sure it doesn't go rusty anytime soon.

Glad you all like it- I can recommend going to Italy to get a more unusual Panda though- only do it when the weather is good though!
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Old 18-12-2008   #10
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

The 652cc in the Panda 30 has a different head from the 126, producing more power and a different carb too. A few other bits are different too, what a great Panda, Ive never seen a 30 on my trips abroad, just a 34.

Make a video of its sound for youtube, I bet it sounds odd. Ive seen and heard loads of Cinqs with the 704cc watercooled 2 cylinder and thats weird enough to hear!
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Old 18-12-2008   #11
Twin Turbo powered :-)
 
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Talking Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Welcome home 'Choccy'

Now all we need is Stephen to record Choccy so we can hear this weird and wonderful beast
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Old 18-12-2008   #12
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

are you going to sale it....
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Old 18-12-2008   #13
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

Thanks for the write-up, a very enjoyable read! You are clearly as mad as a box of frogs, and therefore completely suited to Panda ownership

Glad that your little twin pot got you home without incident, it looks a sweet little motor. I love "out of the ordinary" cars, I'm very envious..

Hope that you have it road legal and ready to go soon, I look forward to seeing it at a meet one day!

Cheers,

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Old 19-12-2008   #14
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

sweet little car, and that's some shakedown run. You know if it gets you home you've done well and if it gets you home with only that short list of mostly MOT related stuff to do you've done great
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Old 19-12-2008   #15
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Re: Panda 30 is home at last!

I'm just speachless! Love the pics! (What camera did you use )

Jon.
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