Panoz Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.62/5 Average
20 Total Reviews
Make Overview:

Panoz is an automobile manufacturer whose sexy sports cars are exotics in the truest sense of the word. The company's cars are drop-dead gorgeous and come with steep price tags; additionally, given the fact that a relatively small number of Panoz vehicles are made each year, a Panoz offers more exclusivity than your typical Ferrari or Bentley. Panoz makes only sports cars and its current lineup consists of just one model, the Esperante, available in both roadster and coupe body styles. Introduced in 2001 and relatively unchanged since then, the Esperante is hand-built and made mostly of aluminum.

The Panoz story begins with Eugene Panunzio, a champion boxer who emigrated to the U.S. from Italy in the early 1900s. He shortened his last name to Panoz and settled in West Virginia. In 1960 his son Donald started the Mylan Laboratories pharmaceutical company; nine years later, Donald and his family moved to Ireland where he started another drug company, called Elan Pharmaceuticals. Donald's 26-year-old car-enthusiast son, Daniel, ended up working for the Thompson Motor Company (TMC) in 1988. TMC went out of business that same year and Donald bought the rights to one of its chassis, which was designed by Frank Costin, an engineer who'd made a name for himself building racecar chassis for Maserati and Lotus.

The next year saw the birth of the Panoz Automotive Development Company. A small, renovated salt storage shed located near Atlanta was the site of company headquarters. In 1990, Panoz brought out its first car, a powerful, cycle-fendered roadster called simply the Panoz Roadster. Initially, the Panoz cars were only produced to order, and hence not many were made. By 1996, the Roadster, now called the AIV Roadster, saw full production. The following year Panoz introduced the Esperante racecar, which saw success in USRRC and American Le Mans racing series. By the end of the decade, the Panoz family empire had grown to include racing venues, the American Le Mans series and a racing school.

In 2001, the Esperante became available as a street car. On its hood was the company's crest that was created by Daniel Panoz himself. The red, white and blue coloring indicates that the company is based in the U.S. Its swirls are a nod to the Japanese yin-yang symbol, while the shamrock points to the roots of the first chassis Panoz developed. The Esperante was produced through 2006 and was available in various roadster and coupe configurations. Though Panoz hasn't had a U.S. presence since then, by the end of the decade it showed it wasn't dead in a big way by creating the limited-production Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans. The latter was a 600-horsepower supercar slated solely for the European market.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 20.00
  • Supercar Fun / Daily Driver Reliability - 2004 Panoz Esperante
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    Panoz Esperante GTLM 4.6L 32 Valve, Supecharged V8, 6sp Man, convertible What a great car. It combines handling on par with contemporary 911 but with more power and acceleration. With modern tires, road grip and performance are on par with current sports cars. Car is mostly aluminum and carbon fiber so weighs less than most convertibles in this size. Chassis has a great combination of handling and comfort, so fun on a twisty road, yet highly comfortable for a night out. Wind buffeting is the lowest of any convertible I’ve been in. Can ride with top down and heat on in all but the coldest weather. At today’s market values they are truly a bargain. With Ford driveline maintenance is inexpensive and the factory still fully supports the cars and offers excellent service. Buy one!

  • Affordable luxury sports car - 2004 Panoz Esperante
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    I own a Panoz Esperante GTLM. It has been a great car from day one. It handles like a true sports car, yet the ride is very comfortable. For a two seater, it is remarkably practical - plenty of storage in trunk for get-always. Roomy interior for two. The supercharged V8 makes for plenty of power, yet the car is docile when driven normally. For current and future owners, there’s a Facebook page started by another person and can be found as Panoz Esperante Club - lot of good information about Panoz and the car there.

  • Head Turner - 2003 Panoz Esperante
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    This vehicle is the most exiting car I have ever owned. I cant stop anywhere without people complimenting me on it.

  • Its Al Good - 2003 Panoz Esperante
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    The Experience driving on the road was amazing. It rides smooth it drives fast. And it is so comfortable. I felt like I was laying on my Bed but upwards. I havnt drove it that much because its a very expensive car. I use it for special occasions like going to weddings, taking my kids some where thay want to be recognized!

  • Panoz Esperante - 2004 Panoz Esperante
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    An absolute joy to drive. Perfect blend of style, comfort, handling and power. American ingenuity at its finest. A great throwback to European styling with modern practicality and reliability.

  • Perfect car for me - 2005 Panoz Esperante
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    I love this car. It is the bestlooking car on the road. Panoz is a pleasure to deal with. Every head turns when this car goes by.

  • dannys esperante - 2003 Panoz Esperante
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    i have had my experante for about 6 months now and i love it. i cant go any where without it drawing a crowd. i have had the new maserati, a 360 modena and a 911 porsche and this car is my favorite. it drives great on a long trip and its quiet with the top down. i would highly recommend it

  • A high-tech, modern throwback - 2004 Panoz Esperante
    By -

    The Panoz Esperante recaptures the feeling of the old 289 Cobra, which was always the most exciting streetable ride there was. Theres a fun factor so lacking in the other cars available today. Some are faster, most quieter and ride better, some are surely better put together and use prettier materials, but the Panoz gives something else-those intangibles the Cobra gave, the perfect feedback, the complete involvement, the roughness around the edges, the classic style, the exclusivity and the performance that feels better than it actually is. The Esperante, an American made toy, w/high-tech, expensive components that knocks your age back 25-35 years

  • Panoz Rocks - 2006 Panoz Esperante
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    This car attracts more attention than any car I have owned. It is beautiful in styling and build quality, very functional, and very cool. It handles like a dream and has a great exhaust note. Everyone wants to know what it is and what it cost.

  • Panoz is the absolute best - 2003 Panoz Esperante
    By -

    This is a great car. I have or have had a Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW, Lexus, Triumph and this car beats them hands down in almost every category. My Panoz Esperante is the very best looking car on the road. I love it.

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