Live Auctions

Fully Restored 4X4: 1985 Fiat Panda

So, you’ve never heard of the Fiat Panda? I hadn’t either until this one came along. It was never imported officially into the U.S., so any of them that found their way here had to be done by individuals. And that means they also had to pass certain basic requirements to be titled and registered for highway use in the U.S. This beauty from 1985 was treated to a “no expense spared, rotisserie restoration” before being brought over recently. That work and the overall rarity of the vehicle on these shores add up to the asking price of $55,000 by a dealer here on Hemmings and in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Panda first hit the market in Italy in 1980 and is still around in some fashion, not just as a 4WD like this one. The Mk1 editions were built thru 1985 and replaced by the Mk2 the following year. Styling-wise, these vehicles look like square boxes on wheels but were quite popular in Europe. Fiat had pulled out of the U.S. market by 1983, the victim of indifferent build quality even by the standards of the “Malaise Era” of U.S. automobile manufacturing (the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s).

Cultivated Collector, a Connecticut dealer of exotic cars, wanted to bring one of these interesting early SUVs to the U.S. As we understand it, they chose a final year, first-series Fiat Panda 4X4 to receive a complete nuts and bolts restoration that was overseen by Gulfblue Automobili. We don’t know the condition of the vehicle when they started with it, but it comes across as nearly new condition now. We’re not sure of the powerplant in this automobile because they changed nearly year to year. But it’s likely not more than 1,000cc of an inline-4 design.

The body and silver paint look flawless, but the choice of “electric green” for the upholstery is not one I would have made. But it does help the Panda stand out. This looks like it would be a fun vehicle to drive both off and on-road. But since these vehicles weren’t imported and Fiat has had an erratic presence in the U.S. for the past 40 years, we’re not sure how much trouble it would be to find replacement parts as well as sheet metal without buying from Italy.


  1. PatM Member

    I am very sorry but the price is rediculous.

    Like 23
    • Terrry

      Drop two zeroes on this stretched Yugo

      Like 1
      • Harry Kritis Member

        Hi end & very popular vehicle in Europe. Absolutely no relatioship with Yugo. Austrian Stayer 4 wheel drive deemed unbreakable. In a way it succeded the equally expensive (for a small vehice) Autobianchi Abarth 70 hp (owned & raced one).


        Like 2
  2. Derek

    These are really capable wee cars, and have quite a following. I can’t but admire the seller’s optimism…!

    I believe that these were the last car which had all-flat glass – they were still being produced after the 2CV had stopped (Landies don’t count – not a car).

    The 4×4 bit was produced (or designed, maybe?) by Steyr-Puch, if I remember right.

    Like 6
    • Stan

      Military provider ?

  3. CCFisher

    According to the ad, this vehicle was restored in Italy, which means it was likely imported under the DOT’s 25 year rule, which exempts it from federal standards. However, buyer beware, as some states refuse to issue a title or register vehicles that do not comply to federal standards.

    Like 3
    • CCFisher

      That being said, this is a charming and capable little 4×4. I had hoped the woodgrain and wicker roof basket were OEM, but that does not appear to be the case.

      Like 3
  4. Stan

    Great cars if you live in a hilly winter zone . Seen a few up by Whistler, along w the little subaru justy, and corolla 4wd

    Like 2
  5. Craig Walker

    These little cars have quite a cult following & are very capable offroaders having completed some major events Inc the camel trophy.
    There’s one in a museum in Vegas that was restored here in the UK by my late friend Richard Brown .
    Due to their propensity to rot good ones are now fetching £5-10K .

    Like 4
  6. SirRaoulDuke

    A very nice example recently sold on BaT for $16k. This seller is nuts.

    Like 4
  7. Mitch

    Removal of all this wooden chunk by adding an offroad
    spare tire on the roof rack and the appearance works.

    No roll cage-roof section? It miss something.

  8. Mike Smith

    These were a very cheap vehicle to buy when new and felt very cheaply made when driven. Not for me at any price!

    Like 1
  9. ds Member

    um, yeah…great little car, but $55k??!! Good luck with that price!

    Like 2
  10. ABikePeddler

    Wait, you’ve never head of the Fiat Panda? As in: “I’ve never watched a show called Top Gear”? Not only is it one of the most prominent vehicles used in what is the worlds most viewed factual TV program (350,000,000 viewers per airing) but the Panda was also the underpinnings for the massively successful Fiat 500 sub-compact sold worldwide. Fun fact: Did you know that only 4% of Americans had passports in 1990? That figure has only improved to a dismal 44% in 2021. There is an entire world (of cars) out there to explore… I highly recommend Northern Italy.

    Like 4
    • Martin Horrocks

      The 2nd generation Panda (2004-2012) was the base for the still current Fiat 500. All cars were built in Poland and are significantlty more sophisticated than this version.

      Like 1
  11. Martin Horrocks

    The price is insane. The basket roof and wood never existed. There is some charm and fsshion value in 1st seies Panda 4×4 but not when overvalued 400%.

    This car probably has Fiat ohv 999cc derived from Fiat 127. Later cars had the ohc FIRE engine and much better for that.

    Only gen Z fashionistas pay more than 10000€ for one of these. If that’s you, please call. I have one.

  12. Troy

    This thing looks like a Yugo and Isuzu trooper got together and had a child. At $55k they can keep it

    Like 1
    • Joe Elliott

      Nevermind that the Panda predates both by a year; maybe Yugo and Trooper are its overweight children.

      Or, more likely, this was the fashion among designers of utilitarian vehicles circa 1980, and no one should be surprised that they all share common styling themes.

      This one certainly seems optimistically priced by a factor of like 20, until you stop to think about how few Pandas have the 4×4 option (just several thousand out of the several million built, IIRC) and how many of those were bought by farmers and driven into the ground. So maybe only overpriced by a factor of 4?

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