Panda 4×4 Pickup

By Chris Thomas

I bought the Panda 4×4 in 2002 as a standard, MOTd car, after it had had a new engine and gearbox, for 50 quid.

A couple of weeks later I chopped off the roof behind the doors and stripped the interior (I sold it and made my money back on the car). The loss of weight now means the car stands about 2 inches higher and the back end can easily be lifted clear of the ground. The shell has been strengthened (if that’s what you’d call it) by adding a piece of 2×4 along the roof behind the doors and along the sides of the load bay. The standard seats were junked in favour of a vinyl covered item from a motorbike sidecar. The passenger makes do with sitting on a tool box. The dashboard consists of a sheet of aluminium with a fusebox and choke lever. The car also has sunroof just incase the supply of fresh air runs out.

Its been given a custom respray as you can see in a fetching shade of sandy tractor paint and fence stain. Its been sprayed underneath in brown tractor paint but that hasn’t stopped a 4″ square hole appearing in the passenger footwell, or both sills disintegrating.

I fitted it with 14″ Ford steel wheels with studded autograss tyres to make sure it will never get stuck – it went through mud up to the sills on its old, bald road tyres before fitting the studded tyres so it should be unstoppable now. The new choice of tyres also promote 4 wheel wheelspin when approaching any form of solid surface. During the recent snow, my father drove it down the road (we live in the country on a very steep hill). Going down the road he was the only car about. On the way back up the hill he overtook 2 stranded land rovers – best 4x4xfar – I think not!

A custom bullbar and sumpguard have been fabricated from an old tent frame, a fireguard and some old aluminium signs.

The car is being used instead of an old Fergie TE20 tractor on my smallholding and is able to carry 300kg of paving slabs or tow a car on a trailer. It sounds cruel but nothing is showing any sign of giving way!

As you’ve probably guessed the car is by no means road legal, nor will it ever be, but it does everything I ask of it and never fails. The next plan is a winch and possibly a roll cage to stop it bending in the middle as a result of the expanding-foam filled, dexian supported sills.

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