Panoz Esperante Review – The Most “Hidden” Supercar
This is a Panoz Esperante, what a beautiful name. It’s fun to say, Esperante. No car since I’ve moved to Georgia has quite intrigued me in curiosity as the Esperante. Panoz is a car company or more of a manufacturer located in Braselton, Georgia. And Braselton is basically right above Atlanta, it’s basically right where the country starts.
First impression, it’s a race car on the street. They have a ton of history at Road Atlanta. They do a bunch of testing there and they build their cars and they already them there for the authorities them everywhere else which is great. But they’re a very small, homey, grassroots super car company if you think about it. And the first thing that you notice about the Esperante is the interior. Now the cool thing about a Panoz car is that you make it your own.
Every single thing in the car is what the customer wants, so in here we have beautiful carbon fiber everywhere. The actual steering wheel is made out of it, right here, this isn’t a wrap. That’s carbon fiber, it has an awesome digital gauge cluster which I love. It’s very on its own, it doesn’t feel like a generic electronic gauge cluster. Along with that, it has a Tremec six-speed gearbox and this is rocking a Chevy LSA LS motor, supercharge V8 which is in the CTSV ZL1, things like that.
I know what you’re probably thinkin, “Oh well so they just LS swap everything.” Well not really, basically what they do is you could be a Ford fan, you could be a Chevy fan, you could be pretty much anything in the American world and they’ll put that engine in there for you. If you wanted this car with a Coyote 5.0, you can do it. If you want a LS motor, you can do it. So no complaints there.
My favorite line that they said to me was, “Listen we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We just make things that work.” And this car if you think about it, has all the benefits engineering wise that work. The entire chassis is aluminum. This entire car’s theme is aluminum. The body panels are aluminum, the chassis is aluminum, the motor is aluminum, everything. This big giant Brembo brakes on it which stop on a dime. It’s pretty unreal how fast they stop.
Awesome little Roadster
The number one thing Panoz has to their advantage, which you could call a disadvantage as well in my opinion is the, “What is that?” saying. What is that? So you go to a Cars and Coffee, you drive on the street, you go to the gas station, you do all these things and people go, “What is it?” It’s not a Lambo, it’s not Ferrari, it’s just this small, little company that just kicks ass building a platform and it’s cool. They built several cars over the years. They built this really awesome, little Roadster back in the 90’s, which in my opinion is what the Plymouth Prowler should have been. It was a way better car. They also did a spec race car to race at Le Mans. In order to do that they had to put a full interior in their race car to qualify for it, to make it a street car.
So if I ever drive that, that’s going to be a fun day. But all of this carbon fiber, this awesome suede on the dash, it makes me smile anyway. I don’t know, I think a big part of it in how it makes me smile is that I’m intrigued. I’m intrigued that this company that was founded in 1989, you know they had to do everything everybody else had to do. They had to go do crash testing, they had to do all of that. They had to go around all those regulations and they were able to build a street car. But more importantly in their history, they’re able to build race cars. And their race cars have a ton of wins, they have awesome history.
Now is this car fast? Yes. It’s pretty damn fast, I’m not going to lie to you. The LSA engine is an awesome engine when I reviewed the ZL1 back in Florida. That was a great day let me tell you. But this isn’t a car that’s made of all aluminum so it feels so much faster toward is through the roof. The gearbox feels so good and the clutch in this is actually very light. It’s not like a race car clutch where you have to rev it to the sky.
Now Panoz when they get the engine, they also do their own exhaust system on it, custom headers and the side exhaust comes out both sides. But I love when you look down, you have the bad ass side exhaust. And then you have carbon fiber trim all the way around, along with the diffuser in the front splitter. So the horsepower in this engine makes it 575 horsepower which is more than enough. I’m going to hold on to that.
What’s interesting about this LSA is it’s supercharge, but there’s not really any super charger one. It sounds all motor and it feels all motor. So being in a boosted car, yeah it doesn’t really feel like one. But I mean 20 roots-style blowers doesn’t really feel like they’re a boosted car. These feel like there’s more displacement.
Interior in Esperante
Today is such a hard day, I got a Esperante Roadster, I got an American super charged V8. I have carbon fiber surrounding me built by true car guys and race enthusiasts. I’m loving the interior how the stitching matches the yellow paint too. You cannot be an introvert and drive a yellow car, you cannot do it. It is not possible, if you do what are you doing? You’re going to have to talk to people.
The back has a beautiful carbon fiber trim piece and along with that when you open the trunk, you see this awesome Panoz like display. It just adds that nice custom touch, you know like that this is your car. Don’t get me wrong, other car companies do that, they really do. But this is much cheaper than that. It’s not cheap, but it’s much cheaper than a million dollars. These tyres are so sticky to the point I can hear the rocks like on the road sticking to them. And when you pull into the parking lot, you just hear clunk clunk clunk clunk clunk, but I love that. When they threw me the keys to this today they said, “Oh yeah the tyres may need to be grazed off a little bit, because it was kicking ass on the track the other day.”
This is one of the most user-friendly potentially – it’s a super car you know. But it’s probably the most user friendly super car. You have the best visibility, it’s not like you’re in a Lambo where you just can’t see anything. You have comfortable seats, very basic artists. Big giant screen in front of you that’s telling you everything that’s going on. Normal air conditioning switches, normal everything. Bullet proof V8, bullet proof transmission, it’s familiar. It’s familiar yet different. It’s taking everything that you already know about like American cars, super cars and about American muscle cars and making it faster and lighter.
Stay with us
All right, I hope you all enjoyed this quick review of this Panoz Esperante. Let me know in the comment section below. Have a fantastic day.
Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zejVlWjJ6Ec&t