There’s something to be said for simple cars; not badly built one, not primitive ones, simple. Think of the Citroen 2CV, for example. Nobody would qualify as anything but simple, and it was a massive success. With the introduction of the 1980 Fiat Panda, the Italian manufacturer tried to channel a little bit of the Citroen’s success by boldly designing and offering an extremely simple car that was cheap to build, inexpensive to buy and cheap to operate, while giving customers the basics, or the essence of car, if you will. The Panda was flat, but managed to look fun anyways. Designed by Giugiaro, almost all its surfaces were completely flat, including the windshield, hood, et cetera, in order to save on production costs. It had a single wiper and the lower half of the body was impact-resistant plastic.
The Fiat Panda was not known for its speed, to say the least. Powered by a 903cc inline four-cylinder engine that produced 45 horsepower, it could reach a top speed of 88 miles per hour and accelerate to 60 in about 16.5 seconds. Considering the car’s specifications and low power, these numbers are actually not that bad!
In a testament to its build quality and popularity, the 1980 Fiat Panda, with regular yet minor updates, remained in production until 1995; Fiat even went so far as to produce a four-wheel drive version of this tiny utilitarian car.