I went to the Panoz showroom in Braselton Georgia to see if what I heard was true, that Panoz is the modern day Shelby. After my tour, I have to say no, they might be better.
Panoz is a name that racing aficionados will know well from IMSA and IndyCar racing. What most don’t know is that Dan Panoz has been building specially custom sports cars for almost 25 years now. The new Esperante Mark II should be introduced later this year, I took a look at the current model and am amazed at what he has built.
Originally designed as a race car, the Esperante was a combination of their championship racing engineering and luxury street car building. Racing in the GT classes of road racing requires production cars be available for purchase, so all of the design enhancements over the years have gone into the current road car. From the extending and dropping of the nose, the lengthening of the rear of the car for racing wing placement, all are part of the production car.
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Panoz is is truly a custom car builder. When you want to purchase one you can’t go to the showroom and buy it, you sit down and choose the options you want for your car and they build it. When you take delivery you do with the knowledge that your car is unique and no one will have the same car anywhere in the world. At this moment they are actually building an Esperante with gull wing doors, not a listed available option. They have done the engineering in house and are currently building it for the customer. What they can do for you is only limited by the money you are wiling to spend.
Don’t ask what the horsepower numbers are, you choose the drivetrain when you put together your car. When creating an order, you get to select your drivetrain between Chevy and Ford engines of your liking and power. That allows the car to be 50 state emissions legal and reduces the regulatory hurdles from when they produced their own engines. It also make the power plants easier to maintain and find parts for once you take delivery.