Don’t let Dominic Torretto, Brian Spilner and the rest of the Furious gang fool you, the world of car modification is an incredibly interesting one.
Modifying your car can be as simple as ordering some new wheels or uprating the sound system. A new air filter here, some larger brake discs there. But, if you submit to it, you can discover some incredibly deep rabbit holes.
Some countries have a car modification subculture that is unique to them, like ‘Bosozoku’ in Japan or ‘Donks’ in the US. Every thread of culture often has its own enormous community, filled with knowledgeable characters.
I mention all of this to underline how rich and diverse the car modification world is, and to emphasise that there really is something for everyone. If you like it, there’s guaranteed to be a subculture devoted to it.
Even if that thing you like is something truly deranged, like the idea of making a car as low as physically possible.
There’s nothing new about the desire to make one’s car lower than someone else’s. Its birth stems from America’s ‘lowrider’ culture of the late 1940s, still popular today. The more contemporary version of this would be ‘stance’ culture, where owners try to make the gap between the top of their wheel rim and their bodywork as tight as possible.
And then there’s the really wacky stuff, like this teal Fiat Panda. Or, at least, what used to be a Fiat Panda.
Built by the creative and unhinged spanner spinners at Italian YouTube channel Carmagheddon, this Panda claims to be the world’s lowest car – a claim I genuinely believe may be physically impossible to beat.
Sliced in half horizontally like a layer cake, the ex-Panda has no wheel arches at all, nor the space for its original engine, let alone its original wheels, to even exist. The top half of the Panda appears almost untouched, with the tailgate still functional.
Obviously, the top half of the Panda is not untouched. Inside it has been thoroughly modified with a completely revised seating position for the driver and a shifted motor. The original Panda chassis has been replaced by a rudimentary platform, with a small moped-style engine integrated into its construction.
The driver inside does not get to sit at a kind 100-degree angle, nor do they get amenities like air conditioning. They don’t even get windows to see out of – all of the Panda’s windows are blanked off.
Instead, the driver pilots the Panda by lying down on the platform, with vision provided by a camera feed and display. It has five wheels; two at the front to steer, two at the back that are along for the ride, and one larger wheel in the center that is powered by the engine.
Whether the Panda actually qualifies for any kind of verifiable ‘world’s lowest car’ grand prize probably comes down to whether one still considers it to be a car. It certainly cannot be registered as a road legal car. And it lacks almost all necessities one would expect a car to come with.
Either way, few can deny that Carmagheddon’s Panda is an incredible example of mechanical creativity.
Source video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyWr_Um61rk