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Old 13-02-2013   #31
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

I tweeted them a few days ago, they ignored me.
They only ever re-tweet pics of "little miss cutesy'" (made up name, apologies if there is actually someone called that on fiat forum or twitter) 500.

Yawn...
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Old 13-02-2013   #32
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Wink Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Quote Originally Posted by deeyup View Post
I tweeted them a few days ago, they ignored me.
They only ever re-tweet pics of "little miss cutesy'" (made up name, apologies if there is actually someone called that on fiat forum or twitter) 500.

Yawn...
Oh... I was soooo tempted to change my forum name....
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Old 13-02-2013   #33
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Quote Originally Posted by deeyup View Post
I tweeted them a few days ago, they ignored me.
They only ever re-tweet pics of "little miss cutesy'" (made up name, apologies if there is actually someone called that on fiat forum or twitter) 500.

Yawn...
Haha, yep that sounds about right!
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Old 13-02-2013   #34
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

They do have the Fiat and Panda logo on the car and on the start/finish line banners so I doubt that Fiat didn't have anything to do with it. Otherwise why would the lads bother with additional printing costs that they didn't need?

I'd guess Fiat's low profile is not because of a lack of confidence but because there were none of their people involved. It's not a works team, as such...

Anyway it's all good. The real achievement is that a Panda was quicker across Africa than an army Land Rover team.. I wonder if any Chelsea mums will be tempted out of their Vogues?


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Old 13-02-2013   #35
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Quote Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
They do have the Fiat and Panda logo on the car and on the start/finish line banners so I doubt that Fiat didn't have anything to do with it. Otherwise why would the lads bother with additional printing costs that they didn't need?

I'd guess Fiat's low profile is not because of a lack of confidence but because there were none of their people involved. It's not a works team, as such...

Anyway it's all good. The real achievement is that a Panda was quicker across Africa than an army Land Rover team.. I wonder if any Chelsea mums will be tempted out of their Vogues?


Ralf S.
Fair point to a certain extent I suppose. I know that they had a partnership of some description with their local FIAT dealer so you're right that they had some involvement.

Maybe I am just being too harsh on FIAT but I feel they missed the boat a bit here. The Panda is in a really tough segment and anything that will help to put it in such a good light should be seized on.

Anyway, maybe there will be more stuff to come. At least the guys are going out there and doing loads of interviews so the car will be getting more exposure here in the UK!
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Old 14-02-2013   #36
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Yes.. That's the only disappointing thing for me - Fiat haven't really given it any publicity. Apart from if Kate Middleton buys one, they'll stuggle to get many better opportunities to shift a few...

Ralf S.
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Old 16-02-2013   #37
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Philip Young writes:
Firstly a big thank you to all the Fiat enthusiasts who joined in the crowd at Marble Arch. It felt like we were driving into a crowd of a couple of hundred as we turned off under the Arch.
The car performed as well as we could have dreamed of....the tool kit remained unopened. We checked the oil and water now and then, and it didnt use a drop. No oil, and not even extra water when in Egypt the temperature was a soaring 40C (about as hot as we could endure - inside the car was the place to be).
Roads were rougher than expected in places, it coped. The desert crossing across northern Kenya was done at night having arrived late...that was never in the game plan. We limped along at an average of 18 mph, coping well with long stretches of sand, never once getting bogged. (low down torque - unbelievable what it will chug through when the going gets sticky). Smooth tread van-tyres (not chunky types) helped with sand. In Ethiopia, a national shortage of petrol saw us press the Eco button, employing driving styles recalled from the old Mobil Economy Run of limping up hill and flicking into neutral downhill, saw us average an amazing 90 mpg, we really did have the planets lining up for us.
The World Record was chopped down by over a day - now standing at 10 days, 13 hours, 28 minutes.
Other cars we looked at before buying the Panda: VW Up!, Khia i120, Citroen C1, old style Ford Ka. Neither could have put up with what we went through - we had the right car under us. Total and utter reliability was what pulled this off.
The engine mounts, suspension bushes, and much else perhaps could have been changed and improved but what we have done is drive across two Continents in a car which is very much what you drive out of the showroom.
Chief modifications: Extra fuel tank in the spare wheel well. (we only ever carried one spare wheel, bolted upright to the side of the car at the rear - only carrying one was a big risk), K&N air cleaner was the only mod to the engine; strut-brace across the top of the bulkhead was the only body reinforcement; Gaz stronger springs and shocks, a lot of Thermawrap foil covered bubble-wrap in the roof and under carpets; 5 inches of foam mattress in the back, the rear seat having been removed; nudge bar across the front, (not tested), and two good spotlights which made a big difference (we saw elephant, hyena, antelope, pigs, goats, donkeys in the road, often sleeping on the warm tarmac at night).
We kept to the speed limits. The most we ever saw on the speedo was well over 100 mph briefly, but mostly it was cruising along around the 70 mph mark.
Nothing slices through traffic (gridlocked in Lusaka, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Cairo), like a Panda.
We had the right car for the job - a heavier more loaded 4x4 would have hit the bumps and craters twice as hard and broke something and would have been nothing like as economical. Cant praise the car enough - I knew nothing about about Pandas in particular and Fiat in general before we set out on this but Im convinced of one thing now - the Panda is might tough, well built, up for anything.
On the way to the airport in a Mercedes taxi to fly out of Heathrow for Cape Town, I noticed that the near new Merc didnt have a ride quality as good as the Panda waiting for us at Cape Town...from that moment on, our faith in the car rose and rose every day.
The World Record will take a lot of beating - it can be done, but whoever beats it will have to do it in a car as good as the Panda.
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Old 16-02-2013   #38
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

You chaps did an excellent job. Great fun tracking you on the GPS map. Possibly not as much fun as the journey.

1. Will there be a book coming out with some glossy pix a la Palin?

2. Any mention from your neighbour - the Moxford idiot Clarkson?

3. Where's the Panda gone?

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Old 16-02-2013   #39
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Top Gear might be mentioning it next week - Clarkson followed its progress on Facebook, we know that for a fact.
The car might be going to Beaulieu for a display at the National Motor Museum, they have asked to park it next to Bluebird in a display called The World Record Beaters. Its future is uncertain - we will probably sell it.
Comments re Fiat: The Public Relations dept provided the banner, and girls and lights for the finish at Marble Arch and as those who were there will confirm, the lights etc certainly made a big difference. They were not asked to get involved before the project started (we merely asked for technical advice, contact with someone who could help give us a steer), but while there is no doubt that some kind of guiding hand could have lifted up the promotion/publicity value some more, as amateurs we have not done too badly.
(half page in the Sunday Telegraph, full page in the Daily Express - both core readers for the potential Panda-buyers market, mentions in the Sun, Mirror, Star, and The Times. Two pages coming up next week in Autocar, four pages in the next issue of Octane magazine, on Wednesday it goes back to ITV Meridian regional news, BBC had us us for the south-east news the other day (link on facebook and the website of the event), and we have done another long interview with Talk Sport, and also Radio Europe, Spannish radio (English programme for the ex-pat Brits), we also did a morning Breakfast TV show in South Africa and other bits and pieces - there has been some exposure in the motor-sporting press as well, Honest John and a host of websits (google alerts keep popping up with mentions), so all in all not a bad bash at the publicity game. A leaflet of the photos from Gerard Brown around the dealers? Posters? souvenir booklet or whatever? who knows. I do know we have over spent on the whole project! Would Fiat enthusiasts like a get together and a talk, with photos? perhaps something at the Ace Cafe or a dealer showroom? There was enormous interest in the car when it was unveiled at the Royal Geographical Society.
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Old 16-02-2013   #40
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

It was nice meeting you @ AJK motors
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Old 17-02-2013   #41
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Great write up Philip!

It sounds like an amazing journey, and following the progress blogs on your site was awesome! Loved the part when the armed escort 4x4 got stuck in the sand trying to keep up with you and you offering to tow them out.

Watching the tracker was addictive. The speed of progress amazing.

Glad the car performed it the way it did. There's a thread in the 500 section at moment where some think oil consumption with the twin air is a problem.
I don't think there are many situations you can put a car to an ultimate test, but boy did you guys do it!

Welcome back to Britain, glad you arrived safely and congratulations on getting the world records
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Old 17-02-2013   #42
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Its a truly fantastic engine. We used not a single drop of oil (or water) in the 10,300 miles, BUT we did run-in the engine very carefully. I wonder if those who report oil consumption problems are not bedding in the piston-rings, honing the bores.... if the oil is so good (and just about all synthetics these days are brilliant), then its just possible that the engine is not sealing with a good bedding-in process. I can only report on my experiences (I knew nothing about Fiats and Pandas until we came across the Autocar report and went to various dealers for test-drives of several different small cars - including MINI giving me a guided tour of the Cowley factory watching their cars being made). We got the right choice!

Ive reported on the oil issue in the Technical chapter of this forum, where there was a lively debate. We dropped the oil on taking delivery of the car and re-filled with Comma running in oil - the dealer was aghast at this. We ran it for 600 miles, and refilled with ordinary mineral oil, and rang that for over a thousand miles before filling with synthetic. Most owners report that the engine frees up after 2,000 miles - we felt it was just getting steadily better all the time, we had just over 3,000 miles on the clock when we left Cape Town.
In running it in, we tried to keep below 2,200 revs for the first couple of hundred miles, and then moved the limit to 3,000, it was nursed painfully from Didcot,( Oxford ) to Dover and back again on long easy motorways, and then amost back again, changing the oil at the Lenham Motor Co south of Maidstone (sportcar dealership as old as the Ark), who wondered if we were nuts after looking round the car on the ramp...
Perhaps a reader on here can report this back to the 500 mob.
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Old 19-02-2013   #43
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Philip, fantastic achievement!

Out of interest, do you have an overall MPG figure for the whole trip, calculated by either the actual fuel used or Trip A/B?

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Old 20-02-2013   #44
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Quote Originally Posted by Vic20 View Post
Philip, fantastic achievement!

Out of interest, do you have an overall MPG figure for the whole trip, calculated by either the actual fuel used or Trip A/B?

Vic


I just KNEW someone would ask that
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Old 20-02-2013   #45
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Re: Crossing Africa in a Panda Twin-Air...

Quote Originally Posted by cheekylittlescamp View Post


I just KNEW someone would ask that

Yup! and I bet Fiat are dying to know the answer too!
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