Nearly went through the whole 2019 without updating the thread!
And after the recent Airing of Grievances elsewhere on the forum, this feels like a particularly good moment to add some "normal" content. So here's a quick recap of the last year...
With Beni's help, the "proper" inclinometer was purchased and installed
Offroading competence was tested on various occasions
The 4x4 mode is fun, and the car has very little issues with climbing hills. The main issue is the ride hight, so rocky terrain tends to be a little tricky.
Then there was the wintermeet, for which I made a very temporary
The car wasn't very brilliant on icy runway, the 4x4 mode makes it even more understeery, and requires very vigorous steering to unsettle it. However, by the end of the day I got some hang of it, and managed to extract some fun.
Daboom behind the wheel here
It was a 10 hour drive one way to the meet, in fairly freezing weather, which exposed all the negative aspects of a small cheap Fiat in northern conditions. While the heater is quite ok at producing heat by itself, the air circulation is rather poor, and freezing air manages to find its way through the firewall anyway. I suppose removing dash and plugging all holes would improve situation significantly.
Another hilarious issue was when the horn went off in the middle of the night, and kept screeming until I removed the rubbery horn button cover from the steering wheel. At -25C it got so stiff, it managed to dislocate the metal plate of the horn button and shortcircuited it. Fun times.
Otherwise the car performed pretty well over the winter. I used it daily, and it hasn't skipped a beat. I'm becoming pretty good at using the 4x4 lever on the move. My usual approach is to engage it on the traffic lights, shoot from the light, and push the lever back down before switching to 3rd
Later in the spring I've fitted remote locking, which added another layer of luxury, and also removed the remaining roadtrip stickers. They were becoming a bit weathered, and I wanted to bring the stock look back.
I also really like how it looks on black steelies with slightly chunkier winter tyres.
The two Pandas met once more later in the summer, one day before the lowriding
mate left the family for good.
(I could win a drag race now, I bet
But one piece of the teal Panda was salvaged, namely the broken clock, and converted into a cute little tachometer
And finally, just lust week I fitted the towing hook!
The 4x4 Panda is tow rated for 900kg, so a 750kg trailer is no big deal
Even though it can look a little absurd from behind...
I'm still dailying the car whenever it's too wet or cold to ride a bike, and I still like it a lot. It's not without issues, the engine makes a lot of unpleasant noises, most of which I imagine are from the alternator. So I'm waiting for that to fail any moment. The emissions were also uncomfortably close to the limit at the MOT. While fitting the towing hook, I inspected the underbody a bit, and there is plenty of hidden rust in some places. The GDPO welded it a lot, but quality of work is passable at best, and protection is weak. He seemed to favor covering the underbody with bitumen sheets... Which don't really adhere well and trap water inside. I'm in the process of removing all that crap.
Future plans for now include increased ride hight (a fairly difficult issue, I'll write about it some other time) and a roof rack.
I'll keep you posted.