Panda’s ex­haus­tive test

It’s MoT time – and there’s a prob­lem with emis­sions

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living with Classics - RICHARD GUNN CON­TRIB­U­TOR


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 to­manyleft., 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!

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