Importing a Fiat Panda 4x4?

I would love to have a 1990-1996 Fiat Panda 4x4 and I currently live in the U.S but from what I can find, there are rarely any being sold in the U.S and almost all of them are being sold in Europe, UK and Italy are most common, can I even import the car to the U.S? I know that the U.S won’t allow cars that do not comply with certain standards but does the Fiat Panda 4x4 comply? The only choice I have so far is to import one from Italy, or I could wait until another one pops up for sale in the U.S which I don’t when that will happen. I’ve only recently started getting into cars so there is a lot that I don’t know, any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.

It has to be older than 25 years. You’ll have the only one on your block/city/state, and will have to import all parts on your own. Good luck! Not simple to do, but possible.

One question-why?


There is just something about the car that I love, I don’t know why but for some reason I l just love it.

You’ve driven it?

Nope, being in the U.S I’ve never seen it in person or even heard of it, but I once saw it on a show a while ago and since that moment I just had to get it, I don’t know why.

US car standards and emission specs are different from those in Europe. As mentioned you can only import such a car as a “classic” and it has to be over 25 years old. If it is newer than that you just will it be able to get it into the country.

A museum could import one on the premise it would never be driven.

Years ago I tried to help a colleague bring a Mazda in from Venezuela. This car ha been assembled in Colombia and did not remotely meet US or Canadian specs. I had difficulty convincing him since he saw cars on the street here that looked just like his.

Ever since the clean air act and safety standards, cars in the US have to meet these very stringent standards.

If you see a strange car in the streets of Washington it likely has diplomatic plates and may be exempted.

No matter how cute this car is, don’t bother to try to import it unless it is at least 25 years old. And you will be responsible for getting all the parts and repair manuals.

Sixty years ago it was still possible for Americans posted in Europe to bring their cars back home; those days are long gone!


If you’ve not driven one I’d forget it. It’s a slow small 1980-era economy car, with a tiny engine. It’ll crush like a beer can in a crash.


The Yugo was based on the Fiat 127, a similar design. Twenty-five years ago you could have bought all the Yugos you wanted for $100 each.

I happen to second @texases . . . WHY!!!

I lived in Europe for 1/2 of my life, and the Fiat Panda wasn’t exactly considered a stellar vehicle when new

I have absolutely NO idea why you desperately want one now, without ever having driven one

Considering you’ve never driven one, I highly suggest you plan on doing that somehow. Get in touch with somebody that owns one, and make provisions to visit them and drive it. There’s probably some Fiat Panda car clubs out there, and I’m sure some of them have an internet presence. Get in touch with them and ask if anybody has a 4x4 Panda. If so, arrange for a visit so that you can drive the car. Have it inspected by somebody completely unrelated to the seller. Then if you’re crazy enough to still want it, buy it from them and ship it over here.

Don’t even THINK about importing one sight unseen . . . in all likelihood it will be completely rusted out and will cost 2 - 3 times the purchase price to get it back into good condition

We HAVE warned you . . .

I believe you can import any car which is 25 years past the manufacture date. It does not need to meet U.S. government standards, because now that it’s 25+ years old, it’s considered a “collectible”. In some states, it would still have to pass an emissions test, although I assume anything from the 1980s-early 1990s would be able to do that, if running properly.

Definitely can be done but it depends on if the final cast is really worth it to you, particularly if you’ve never driven one. There are companies that will handle the process for you including sourcing the vehicle but at a cost above what you pay for the car in Europe. This company will do what they can to find you a good one but you’d need to put up a $2,000 deposit to start the hunt.

No matter how old it is, It will still have to meet the U.S. safety standards for that year
The following safety standards will be inspected closely for your car imports:

  • Displays and controls
  • Brake and air brake systems
  • Windshield wiper and washer systems
  • Defrosting windshield systems
  • Hydraulic and electric brake systems
  • ABS brake systems
  • Brake hoses
  • Theft protection
  • Lamps and reflectors
  • Rear view and side view mirrors
  • Head restraints
  • Seat belts
  • Door locks
  • Side impact protection
  • Exterior protection and panels
  • Flammability of interior
  • Fuel components

Thanks for all the info, I think I will wait until another pops up for sale in the U.S and fly over to test drive it before making any big decisions, thank you all for your help.

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I looked at the list of banned cars regardless of age and was surprised to see the Rover Mini Cooper because I saw one at a Car show in North Tonawanda NY last year. I did not notice the plates, so I suppose it could be Canadian registered.

Number 4 in the article;

4. 25 Year Old Age Limit

Need an easier way to import a car to the US? The day a car reaches its 25th birthday, it’s legally allowed to pass customs clearance in the United States with no restrictions. Happy Birthday older cars! Your present is no inspections whatsoever!

There are only two hurdles to the 25 year rule. The state where your import car is going may require modifications for safety items to receive a tag and registration. And in the state of California, older cars mandate stricter emission requirements for all cars manufactured after 1975.


Looking at the specs for this car, I see that it’s horribly underpowered. I think that driving it on our roads surrounded by our normal-sized cars would be a scary experience. You’d better drive one in person before you go much further.

Do you think that it would be worse than a motorcycle or scooter?

Is it that under powered? I’ve only slowly gotten into the mechanical aspect of cars and from what I’ve seen its not a horrid off roader and can climb some steep hills.

I don’t think any motorcycle has a 0-60 time approaching 20 seconds. I don’t think anyone is merging onto an interstate in heavy traffic on a scooter.

A 29 year old European Fiat isn’t the type of car that someone would choose for highway travel.