Panoz celebrates 25 years with Esperante Spyder

Panoz Esperante Spyder GT 25th Anniversary

Panoz forged a legacy of creating race-winning endurance and open wheel cars through the late-1990s and early-2000s, but the company has been relatively quiet for the past few years. However, with its 25th anniversary looming, the American sports car brand appears to be on a comeback. It’s prepping several new models and opening a new headquarters in Georgia on April 3.

The first among them will be the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT (pictured above in unfinished prototype form). It’s all about being a company “driven by customer demand,” John A. Leverett, Panoz Vice President of Sales and Marketing, told Autoblog. They will be limited to about 25 units, and the first cars will be delivered by the end of April.

The Spyder is an upgrade of the current Esperante with either a 430-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 or a 575-hp, supercharged 5.4-liter V8 and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Its chassis is made from roughly 70 percent aluminum, 20 percent carbon fiber and 10 percent steel and an aluminum body, according to Leverett.

The bigger update is the Spyder GT, which still only exists as a test mule, and features a carbon fiber body. It will be offered with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 tuned to either 575 hp or 800 hp(!). Both tunes are available with a six-speed manual or paddle-shift, six-speed automatic.

The company is also working on a larger version of its Roadster with more carbon fiber, according to Leverett, but the it hasn’t announced an exact release date yet. It also plans to begin selling the GTR-1 to interested buyers. Panoz certainly appears to be getting back on track. Scroll down for the press release and get the full specs on the cars in the gallery.

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Hoschton, Ga. – Panoz LLC, a leading manufacturer of high performance automobiles and racing cars, will present the all-new 25TH Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder luxury sports car at the formal opening of its new facilities in Braselton, Ga. on April 3, 2014.

The 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder is a special exclusive model which celebrates the company’s racing heritage as well as Panoz sports cars of the past 25 years. It is the direct result of close technological collaboration among the various Panoz affiliates, including Élan Motorsports Technologies, Élan Composites, Panoz Engineering Services, and Panoz LLC.

From the beginning, the designers and engineers envisioned a limited-edition Esperante that delivers pure sports car performance and reflects the Panoz Le Mans endurance racing and performance ethos. At the same time, the sports car offers many of the highly desirable features customers expect in a 21st Century performance machine such as a state-of-the-art programmable gauge cluster.

Panoz LLC expects to produce about 25 examples of the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT to commemorate the anniversary milestone. Production will be intentionally limited to a handful of custom builds for select customers, keeping with the Panoz LLC’s goal of creating America’s most exclusive custom sports car.

25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder Details
The 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder is a lighter, more powerful version of the original hand-built Panoz convertible. It features lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum structures, a unique modular extruded aluminum chassis that is more rigid and durable than many performance coupes, completely revised and fully independent front and rear suspension, and an upgraded and robust sports car anti-lock brake system (ABS) to ensure braking performance is on par with the car’s outstanding driving capabilities.

Esperante Spyder customers can choose between two sports car bodies: the “super formed” lightweight aluminum body made in Riverside, Calif. through a process developed for aerospace applications on the standard Spyder, or the carbon fiber body panels produced in the Élan Composites race shop for the Spyder GT. Panoz was the first U.S. auto manufacturer to use super formed aluminum panels for its bodies, a process now used by some of the world’s most elite vehicle manufacturers.

Customers can also choose among several high-performance powertrain packages ranging from 430 to 800 horsepower. Other features include electronic traction control, high-tech gauges to monitor the car’s vital systems, lightweight and fully adjustable carbon fiber sport seats, high-quality leather
and wood-trim throughout the comfortable cockpit, and modern options such as media player connectivity and a race-inspired carbon fiber steering wheel.

Finally, the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder rides on 8.5 x 19-inch front and 9.5 x 19-inch rear BBS wheels with 245/40 ZR19 and 285/35 ZR 19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport ultra high-performance front and rear sport tires.

With a price of $189,000, the 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder continues to herald the Panoz LLC goal of offering its customers true exclusivity, uncompromising performance and outstanding value.

Next Panoz Era Builds Upon Company’s Rich History
Panoz was the first U.S. auto manufacturer to design and build an Aluminum Intensive Vehicle. The modular chassis Panoz developed for the 2001 Panoz Esperante was and continues to be at the leading edge of automotive engineering. The Panoz design and production processes used for the Esperante chassis and other Panoz vehicle projects has always focused on delivering high levels of development and production efficiencies. Today many of these processes have been adopted by major vehicle manufacturers.

The Esperante has been recognized as an industry and class leading sports car, along with other Panoz sports cars such as the Roadster, the GTR1, and the Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans. The 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder ushers in the next generation of Panoz creations, including the all-new Panoz Roadster and the Panoz GTR1.

To celebrate the Panoz automotive and racing history and prepare for future growth, the company’s Hoschton, Ga.-based headquarters and expansive vehicle workshops have been updated for the anticipated added production. In addition, the headquarters now features a new and spacious 10,000-square-foot exhibition showcasing significant examples of the Panoz sports car and racing history. Displays include:

• The 1997 Le Mans GTR 1
• The 1998 Q9 hybrid Le Mans prototype
• The 2000 LMP winning car
• The 2006 GT 2 Le Mans winner (sister car)
• The GT2 fastback Le Mans Esperante
• The Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans Petit Le Mans car
• The 2000 Indy 500 winner, Target Chip Ganassi car

Panoz LLC is located at 1089 Hwy 124, Hoschton, GA 30548. Visit for the most up-to-date information.


Written by Lewis Shaw

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