There’s a Fiat Panda Italia 90 for sale on eBay and it’s got your name written all over it.
Actually, that’s a lie. It’s got the name of the greatest FIFA World Cup in living history written all over it, but that’s no reason not to buy it. In fact, it’s 100% worthy of your 2,500 British pounds. Go take a look here.
So, about that claim. Was the 1990 World Cup the best football tournament? Well, truth be told, I can only remember so much about it. Little nuggets that will stay with me forever. David Platt’s dramatic overhead kick in the last minute of extra time. Gazza’s tears after being booked in the semi-final. Gary Lineker’s gesture to Bobby Robson that he may need to keep an eye on Gazza for the rest of the game.
Lineker’s equaliser against West Germany. Shilton’s look of despair when the German free kick fluked its way into the net. And, of course, Pearce and Waddle failing to put their penalties away. The rest is just a blur, lost in the searing heat of those long summer evenings. But it felt like a turning point for English football. The Premier League was still a couple of years away, which effectively heralded the end of England’s chances in a major tournament.
Aside from Euro 96, that is, when football very nearly came home. But went to Germany instead.
The Fiat Panda Italia 90 was one of the first cars ever to appear on PetrolBlog. All the way back in March 2010. Yes, PetrolBlog has been torturing the internet for that long.
If the Fiat Panda Italia 90 isn’t the best special edition the world has ever seen (subtle football chant reference, there), it’s most certainly the best football special edition ever. Look, it has wheel trims that look like footballs. Worthy of inclusion in PB’s debate about the best wheel design?
Fiat signed up as one of the tournament’s key sponsors and – never one to miss the opportunity to roll out a Panda special edition – created the Italia 90. As you can see, it features an Italia 90 decal on the bonnet, an Italian flag design running the entire length of the car, with the Ciao mascot on the tailgate and C-pillars. There’s also an Italian shield on the grille.
Inside, it’s very much a case of blue is the colour (hello, Chelsea fans), with blue carpets, seats, door cards and dashboard. Naturally, the Ciao mascot appears four times. Ciao was undoubtedly the best footballing mascot ever designed. Assuming we exclude World Cup Willie.
Fiat made no mechanical changes to the engine, so under the bonnet you’ll find the Panda 750’s 769cc engine. With a mere 34hp on tap, it was hardly the pacy young winger of its day. In fact, the sprint time was a leisurely 22 seconds. This wasn’t a car you’d buy for its lightning pace in the box.
According to the seller, the Fiat Panda Italia 90 will make a ‘fun starter classic’, before saying he’d be willing to swap for a car, motorbike, boat, classic or a striker to replace Mario Balotelli. I may have made one of those up.
The Panda Italia ’90 is described as ‘good’ and ‘not rotten’ and it even comes with a couple of spare wheel trims. Unsurprisingly, the seller claims it ‘always gets attention’, but then any car wearing footballs for hubcaps is sure to get noticed.
So who should buy this Fiat Panda Italia 90? Maybe it’s one for Gary Lineker, who could drive to the Match of the Day studios in it. Or perhaps Pearce and Waddle should be forced to tour Europe in it, as punishment for missing those penalties. How about Fiat UK – one for the heritage fleet – a reminder of England’s finest tournament on foreign soil.
Here’s a reminder of where to find the ad on eBay. And here’s a reminder of one of the greatest tournaments the world has ever seen. This was 25 years ago this year – I’ll leave you with that thought.
Thanks to Martyn for permission to use the photos.