I never envisioned purchasing a Fiat Panda, let alone the silly 100HP. People would laugh. It’s slow. Too small.
Then I drove one, by chance.
I was at a used car dealership with a MK4 Golf to trade in and money burning a hole in my pocket. I was there to see a sensible Honda Civic and a slightly shabby RenaultSport Clio.
Nestled in the corner (literally, right behind about 20 other cars) was a bright red Fiat Panda 100HP. My friend suggested we at least have a look. The look turned into a test drive, once all the cars in front of it had been moved out of the way…
Within 3 seconds, we were both laughing uncontrollably.
What a stupid car. It revved tenaciously, made a nice noise, with razor sharp throttle response and it even gurgled slightly on the over-run. The ride was shambolic. We drove over a speed bump at a sensible speed to only, what felt like, fracture several backbones. Then there was the turning circle, or lack thereof, which required a 5 point turn around a particularly challenging harpin junction.
I didn’t buy that particular example. It pulled to one side pretty badly (which it turns out, the tracking variances on the 100HP are challenging to get absolutely spot on). The next example made knocking noises from the rear (which it turns out, can be common as the hard set-up leads to excessive wear for certain suspension components).
Next, a black 08-plate at the Co-Operative Nissan dealer in Keighley, West Yorkshire. I had arrived with money and a trade in. But the dealer would not let me test drive without buying. An awful experience.
Which lead me to a 2009 example at a JCT600 Vauxhall dealer, which I currently own. It drove well, was in a good condition and I was able to haggle away at the price. A little. Plus it 12 months warranty. Sorted.
And so, the tale of ownership began in 2012.