This 90s Italian hatchback is powered by Ford.
Rally racing is one of the most entertaining forms of motorsport out there, partly because people love to see cars being abused, but because they can relate to the cars being raced. Rallies have always been open to cars of all creeds, and it wouldn't be odd to spot a Porsche 911 and a Toyota Prius racing at the same event. There is a long tradition of racing smaller hatchbacks, and while the current scene is dominated by cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris, some prefer their cars a bit old school. Dubbed 'Panda'monium, this 1990s Fiat Panda is the definition of retro-cool, and despite its bread-bin looks, it will teach most modern cars a hard lesson.
UK-based racing and engineering garage M-Sport, responsible for building famous racing machines such as the Bentley Continental GT3 endurance race car, was tasked with making this project come alive, and the end result is better than anyone could have expected.
This compact rally machine sits on a Fiesta R5 chassis and engine and has had its body stretched by 14.2 inches. The body now sits over a tube-frame chassis that is so wide M-Sport had to use two grilles to cover the Panda's face. The massive boxed wheel arches look straight out of a Group B rally documentary, and the wheelbase has been elongated by 12.6 inches.
Under the hood sits a Ford 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces around 300 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque which sends its power to all four Pirelli P Zero tires via a five-speed sequential transmission and two custom differentials. That's good for a 0-60 mph sprint of only 2.9 seconds. The "Panda 4x4" logo on the back lets people know that this isn't your ordinary Fiat (as if the rest of the car didn't tell you that already). The interior is identical to a Fiesta R5 rally car. This car is not road legal, but is perfect for special stage rallies on gravel and tarmac. Bad ass.