I have been after a MK1 panda for a while now to add to the collection and have to say a special thanks to Chris Watson from Newcastle (England) who had seen my restorations and he very kindly offered me his car.  It's a 1981 45 with only 26,350 on it from new.  We think it may be one of the oldest Pandas in the UK. I'll wait for someone to tell me different

13/01/07. My friend Alan from Cumbria offered to lift the car and trailer it to Stranrear This ment a 400 mile round trip for him and one hell of a gesture of which I am in his debt. However things didn't go to plan. My mate Jim and I were to go on the 12.20 HSS and meet up with Alan. I was then for taking him out for dinner (theres a great Indian in Stranrear)  as He had driven all that way, only stopping to feed his dogs. The idea was then to come back home on the 19.50 sailing. Unfortunately on route over we were told that due to bad weather the 19.50 would not be sailing. This ment we would have to transfere onto the 14.50 sailing, (the return of the boat we were on ). The booking clerk told us we would literally have 10 minutes to get from the boat to the car and back onto the boat again. We phoned Alan who parked at the boats off ramp and drove us to the car. We jumped in the car and had to fight our way through the traffic leaving the boat back round to the terminal to get back on. The gates were closed right behind us and once booked we had to drive like mad to get on the boat. The staff were waving us on like crazy as they were closing the boat up. Jim filmed us racing for the boat http://www.youtube.com/v/rAbOBsvK6Q8  So we seen Alan for about a minute after him going all that way and were on Scottish soil all off 12 minutes.

These are the pics Alan took when he lifted the car.

UM I think Alans dogs had a go at driving to, "You work the pedals and I'll steer"

And this is the car finally on the boat.

Now he's at his new home it was time to take a few photos of what needs done. 

Yes it does only have 26,355 miles on it from new.

I know I haven't started work on the car but this came my way recently. A brand new original Fiat ariel.

18/09/07. I started to strip the car today in preparation for restoration. I intend to try to have it finished looking as original as I can get it but I'm not out to make it into a concours car that I can't use. I will probably carry out a few discreet modifications to make it last longer and more usable for modern day. I suspect like the 127 Sport I'm about to finish the restoration will take over a year. But you never know, it might not be a rusty as it looks.

This is it today ready for starting.

 

Different views of the engine bay before starting. They're more for my benefit so I don't forget were everything goes.

Stripped the front off the car and started stripping the drivers door. It's not looking like a good start. The corners of the front panel just crumbled away. This one's going to be fun.   

I had a spare couple of hours so got stuck into the engine bay and interior. 1h.37mins later it was all out and safely stored in the attic.  

Once done I can now see what the floor is like. Not to bad is the answer. It has holes as you can see were all Pandas rot through but is a fix I'm used to now and it doesn't look like it's went all the way along the seam.

Beacuse I got on so well I took the drivers door off to as I have the repair panel to fix the bottom of it. I might sort out the inside welding first though, so the petrol tank will have to come out. 

Took out the rear window. As the window is a flat one it's easy enough to do. I use a very wide flat head screw driver and working from the inside use the screw driver to push the rubber in under the metal lip. It's a slow process but it means you get the window out in one piece. While working along use your thumb to push the rubber a little bit further past the metal lip.

  

Took about 20 mins but worth it not to

 break the glass or lose the rubber.

Taking the dash out was next and what a nightmare. It may only be the most basic of cars but I have never in all the cars I've worked on seen so much insulation tape and cable ties holding wiring together. It took almost 2 hours to get through it all. The dash itself was easy enough but if you ever have to do it, do remember you have to take the front part of the dash off to get at 2 8mm nuts that release the back bit.

 

Things didn't get any better when I went to remove the wiring from the engine bay. I gave up counting the cable ties there to after I got to 20. And my patience was starting to go to. Everything was cabled to eachother. Wiring to the speedo cable, to the throttle cable and to the steering rack. I would have had it all out but I couldn't get at the horn to remove the wires from it. The bumber will have to come off to do that and the bolts for the bumper are spinning so I may have to cut the bumper. I'm replacng them with new ones so it doesn't matter about the old ones getting damaged.