Marking the 40th anniversary of the iconic Fiat Panda 4x4's debut in June 1983, Niels van Roij Design introduces a restomod project that pays homage to what is regarded by many as the world’s first small, transverse-engined production car to feature an all-wheel drive. A collaboration with Kaeve Cars, the so-called Panda 4x4 Piccolo Lusso doesn’t look significantly different from the original car but almost every component has been rebuilt or redesigned.

The exterior boasts an exclusive Azzurro Blu paint finish, reminiscent of the azure waters hugging Italy's picturesque coasts. Inside, the interior is adorned with Mediterranean leather upholstery, evoking warmth and sophistication. The careful use of cloth upholstery on seat hearts and rear bench centres, the designer studio says, pays homage to the iconic boxy silhouette that defines this Italian classic.

Gallery: Fiat Panda 4x4 Piccolo Lusso restomod by Niels van Roij Design

This one-of-a-kind Panda 4x4 started its life as a Panda 4x4 Sisley. Initially launched as a limited edition model capped at 500 units, the Sisley eventually became a permanent model, offering features such as an inclinometer, white painted wheels, roof rack, headlamp washers, bonnet scoop, and special Sisley badges. The Sisley emblem, a symbol of the Panda's adventurous spirit, is seamlessly integrated into the headrests, door panels, and steering wheel of this restomod.

Niels van Roij Design says every detail has been thoughtfully considered. Elements traditionally left unpainted on the Panda, such as bumpers, mirrors, and door knobs, have been coated in Azzurro Blu for a more harmonious exterior look. The addition of white indicators and clear side repeaters puts a modern touch on the vintage-looking body.

Fiat Panda 4x4 Piccolo Lusso restomod by Niels van Roij Design

Interestingly, it seems that the original plan for the redesign of the Panda 4x4 was based on a facelifted version of the car. This is evident from the digital sketch attached above, which depicts the AWD hatchback with a different grille and fog lamps integrated into the bumper. Those components are not seen on the final version of the car.

As a final note, we’d like to remind you that the original first-generation Fiat Panda was one of Europe's longest-lived small cars. It was launched in 1980 as a successor to both the Fiat 126 and Fiat 133 and was also sold with a SEAT badge. It remained in production until September 2003.