A little while back I noticed an unfinished NCF Torino kit car on eBay. It is based on a Fiat Panda 4x4. It had a reserve of £750 and not surprisingly didn't sell. I went to have a look at the car and offered the seller £400. He was not happy but in the end he accepted. Unfinished projects are not worth a lot and as this kit was designed before the SVA test came into force it needs quite a bit of work to bring it up to spec.
Apparently NCF only made about 14 of these cars and it is pretty easy to see why they didn't sell all that well. As you can see the car is pretty ugly but I like ugly cars. The structure is mainly made from 40x40mm box section and is very solid. The original designer certainly didn't worry about trying to keep the weight down. It probably weighs quite a bit more than the original Panda donor car. With independent front suspension, weight is a problem. As you drop off a step the front suspension drops and you often end up bashing the bottom of the car on a rock. Hopefully stronger springs will help though it will make for a harsher ride.
The first problem was getting the beast home. As well as the kit car there is a fairly complete, though extremely rusty, Panda 4x4 for spares. As the cars were about 70 miles away I didn't really want to make two trips. You can see here how we got the cars home.
Although the Fiat Panda looks a bit like a toy it is actually remarkably good off-road. Hopefully this car will be even better. There are a few isues that need to be sorted out first. At a first glance the car appears to have huge ground clearance but on closer investigation the prop shaft hangs very low under the car. On the original Panda 4x4 it is quite common to bash the prop shaft off-road so I decided that the prop had to go higher by fitting it in a transmission tunnel. As you can see here this is quite a job. Moving the prop shaft upset the joint angles so the engine and rear axle had to be repositioned as well, as you can see here.
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