GIORGETTO Giugiaro is one the best-known car designers for a number of good reasons. The supercars he created came to define an era — the DMC DeLorean, the Maserati Ghibli and the Lotus Esprit to name a few. We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Giugiaro-designed Mk1 VW Golf in 2014, and six years later we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of a similarly practical design: the Fiat Panda.
More than 280,000 of the cars have been sold in the UK since the launch of the practical city car. Since then, we’ve seen a number of spin-offs and special editions — almost enough to make the Panda a marque in its own right.
There was a dark time around Y2K that the Panda wasn’t sold in the UK, but the second generation has been strutting around the nation’s roads since 2003, with the current iteration (the third generation of the car) introduced in 2011.
It has, naturally, made it’s appearances on the UK’s TV sets. Jeremy Clarkson famously turned a 1992, first-generation Panda into a 40-foot stretch limousine in the ninth series of Top Gear, using his creation to take then-Radio 1 host Chris Moyles to the Brit awards, arriving with only half of the limo intact.
It made another appearance beating a Suzuki Ignis in a mountain race in the 26th series of the show. Thanks to its lightness, it beat the Land Rover Defender in an off-road challenge on Fifth Gear, gingerly tip-toeing over a muddy bog where the Defender stopped short.
It’s been through three versions and forty years, and that seems like ample excuse to have an amble through the history of the Fiat Panda. Enjoy the gallery above.