Panda’s exhaustive test
It’s MoT time – and there’s a problem with emissions
1993 FIAT PANDA 1100 SELECTA
The MoT is always, um, a testing time for any classic owner. Still, I was reasonably confident that my 1993 Fiat Panda 1.1 Selecta wouldn’t need too much effort to get its ticket, seeing as it had pretty much sailed through its last MoT and done few miles since.
And I was right, up to a point – that point being its exhaust system. Checks on all other vital aspects of the car proved that it was still holding its own against Mother Nature and old Father Time – reassuring in anything ageing and Italian, especially considering that it was wearing a worryingly impressive layer of road salt when it arrived at Ellingworth’s Garage in Peterborough for its exam. However, it was clear that all was far from well with the exhaust system with the car up on the ramp. White smoke – due to the cold weather – was coming from the tail pipe. Unfortunately, white smoke was also issuing from about two thirds of the way along the pipe, just in front of the back box, where a fracture had developed. While that in itself didn’t warrant a fail, the knock-on effect was that it played havoc with its emissions. And that enough for it to fail.
Ellingworth’s rang its normal suppliers to try and get replacement exhaust, but no-one seems to stock them for these eCVT Fiats any more. Given that there are only 41 Panda Selectas left on UK roads (according to www.howmanyleft. co.uk), I guess that’s hardly surprising. So, in the end, Ellingworth’s just patched up what was there and welded on a support bracket to make it a little less malleable. It’s not a permanent repair, but it will give me a bit more time to find new exhaust centre and end sections. More importantly, it brought the emissions down to the sort of level that even a modern Volkswagen might like to fake, thus enabling an MoT pass at last.
In other news, something I could at least do myself was fit some vinyl trim to the inside of the rear hatch. These Fiats were so basic that only 4x4 Sisley models and, ahem, ‘luxury’ variants had trimmed tailgates. So when a secondhand panel popped up for sale on the internet, I snapped it up, along with the 10 clips to keep it in place. It might have been a bit of a swine to fit, but my Panda feels much more prestigious now...
Fitting the Panda’s tailgate trim panel didn’t go entirely to plan – Richard eventually had to ‘persuade’ it with a rubber mallet.
The MoT in progress – no problem with the lights…
Testing the Panda’s emissions. The smoke was because it was cold. Honestly!