2005 PANOZ ESPERANTE GTLM




Motorcycles

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The photos on the top of the page show the Panoz Esperante I had built in Georgia. The car was put together and fitted Then it was taken apart and sent to Boeing to be polished. The car has no paint. The Panoz company is the only company in the U.S that is building cars completely out of Aluminum. Wheels, Frame, Body, Engine and Trany.
When I first talked to Walter Dawydiak of Cars Dawydiak of San Francisco about buying a new Ferrari he asked me if I had seen the new Esperante GTLM. The aluminum/carbon fiber hand built, one of a kind car can do 0-60 in the high 3 second to low 4 second range. It will be faster, more manageable than your Panoz AIV Roadster, any production Ferrari except the Enzo and any production Porsche, Corvette or Viper. It will have more horsepower than a Ferrari or Porsche and will weigh about 400 lbs less than a Corvette, 500 lbs less the a Porsche GT2 turbo and about 1000 lbs less than the Ferrari.”
I told him I had but being 6‘6“ I didn‘t fit very well…He told me they can custom build one to fit me. And since I already own one of their AIV Roadsters they would fly me to Georgia to tour the factory. I told him I’d go as long as I would be able to go to the Panoz racing school at the Road Atlanta track that they own.

Well, Kim and I packed up and headed to Georgia, flew first class and arrived with great expectations. We were not let down. A limo showed up at the airport and we were driven 80 miles thru the beautiful country side to the their Chateau Elan. A fantastic resort with the Panoz winery right next door.

John Leverett the director of engineering for Panoz greeted us and we hit it off right away. It seems The photos on the top of the page show what the car will look like with paint. Mine will have no paint. Now that the car is together and fitted it is being taken apart and sent to Boeing to be polished. The polished car in some of the photos is Dan’s Display at the factory. He also did cement finishing when he was younger and also owned a Messerschmitt, small world. We settled into our great comped room and had dinner. Kim was planning on spending the next day at their full treatment spa with her feet in hot wax or something.

John picked me up early in a new Esperante convertible with a great sounding exhaust and took me to their very impressive Facility in Hoschton. The first thing I noticed was the friendly family atmosphere and how efficient the factory was set up.

Not the usual boring assembly line that’s for sure. You could see the craftsmanship and pride put into each car. No wonder every car is ceremoniously autographed on a metal plate under its hood by its builders. Then one of them bestows a name, always a female name such as Jessica May when its completed.

It was immediately apparent why they don’t mind flying people out to see the factory. Anyone that saw the care that is put into each hand built car and witnessed how well these are put together would have to have one.

Next John took me to the factory where they put all the race cars together and test the motors. It was like a doctors office inside, totally clean and organized. After putting the motors together they were put on dyno and ran for hours. A computer is hooked up to the machine putting different loads on them programmed to what ever track it was designed for . The motors were then disabled and examined for wear.

Then it was on to the carbon fiber plant. Since a very large portion of the car was going to be made out of it I knew this was important. I was amazed there was no smell at all. I have designed and had a lot of things built out of fiberglass and fully expected there would be fumes. Although looking very similar, carbon fiber is nothing at all like fiberglass. Carbon fiber is all laid by hand, piece by piece, rolled down to remove any air bubbles, placed into a airtight bag, vacuum sealed then placed in a huge autoclave. Where pressure and heat is applied. This was one of the highlights of my trip. It was so cool being there. I now know more about carbon fiber than anyone else in my neighborhood.

When I heard that Dan Panoz was putting off his trip to a race in Ohio a day just to meet me I couldn’t believe it. When we ran into him at the plant he dropped everything he was doing and showed me some or his car collection and a lot of areas of the factory not shown on the usual tour. Dan showed me the crash test vehicles the government requires. Seeing a crashed Esperante was a little unsettling I must say.

I started talking to Dan about what I liked about the new Esperante and what I didn’t like. He had a answer for everything. We started designing a one of a kind hand built car just for me.

I didn’t like the size and weight of the electric convertible top so he designed a lighter removable convertible top with bows that would fit in the trunk. That was going to take almost three hundred pounds off the car. This also gave us room for the three point roll bars that would be required if I wanted to run this on the track. I told Dan what I wanted the roll bars to look like and he said no problem.

With out the top folded up in the back we had a open area behind the seats where I thought a toneau cover like I had built for my Trans Am would look good. Dan said lets go talk to Yohan next door in the speed shop about hand forming it out of polished aluminum. We also needed to talk with him about dissembling the super charger, valve cover, air cleaner for polishing.

Next I started talking to Dan about the interior of the car and trunk. I wanted all the carbon fiber on the inside to remain uncovered so it would show. Dan jumped up and led me into a room full of interior samples and found a piece of leather with carbon fiber embossed into it, perfect. We spent a lot of fitting me to the car, finding some Corbeau racing seats to fit my large frame. We then discussed installing a five point racing harness system.

Panoz 1 Panoz 2 Panoz 3

I spent a good part of the day with Dan working on every little detail of the design of my car. The whole time his cel phone kept ringing with people wanting to know when he would be at the race in Ohio where the Panoz racing team was running. I started feeling guilty and told him I better get back to the hotel to Kim and let him get off to the airport.

I was just settling into a little power nap when my cel phone rang and it was Dan waiting to know what time we were going to dinner. I guess the race would have to wait, cool. Kim and I got to meet Dan’s beautiful Wife Melanie at dinner. Dan pulled out a drawing of my car that he just had to show me. Seeing Dan so excited about this project really let me know this was going to be a very special car. What a great ending to a one of a kind day, we ended up talking to almost one in the morning.
esparante

2005 PANOZ ESPERANTE GTLM

Performance:
0-60 mph: 3.9 sec. 0-100 mph: 8.9 sec. Quarter Mile: 11.3 sec @ 129.4 mph
Top Speed: 180+ mph, Lateral Acceleration: 0.98 g, Skidpad: 98G
EPA Mileage Rating: 16 city/22 hwy
Body & Chassis:
Body: Hand assembled, Aluminum. lightweight SuperFormed (SPF)
Chassis: Modular extruded 6061-T6 Aluminum alloy framed rails.
Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Hand assembled, Supercharged Cobra Hemi, SVT, 4-cam, 32 valve, 90 degree V-8 with cast Aluminum block & Aluminum heads.
Displacement: 4.6 Liters/280 cid (4,601 cc)
Horsepower: 500 @ 6,000 rpm, Torque @ rpm: 410 @ 4,800, Redline: 6900
Fuel Injection: Sequential electronic. Differential: Limited-slip type.
Transmission: Tremec Aluminum T56 manual 6-speed Sequential All-speed Traction and Launch Control .Power Assisted rack and pinion.
Suspension, Wheels & Tires:
Front: Fully independant double wishbone configuration with gas charge aluminum coil-over Dynamic Dampers and 1.0 inch (25.4mm) tubular anti-roll bar.
Rear: Fully independant, double wishbones with race inspired geometry & featuring gas charged aluminum coil-over Dynamic Dampers.
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: Front and Rear, Plasma Finish, Aluminum BBS RK, 18x8.5 in.
Tires:Front: Pilot sport A/S P255, 45ZR18 Rear: Pilot sport A/S P255/45ZR1
Brakes:
Brembo deluxe brake package: 13" cross-drilled rotors w/4 piston calipers
Type: Four-wheel power-assisted anti-lock 4 wheel discs.
ABS: Bosch Electronic 3 channel, 4 sensor
Steering:
Type: Power Assisted rack and pinion.
Interior:
Trim: Complete hand trimmed Carbon Fiber and leather interior.
Air Bags: Dual front air bag, Five point safety harness
Options:
Custom three point roll bars, polished Aluminum Tonneau Cover and Grill
Custom made: solf collapsible, convertible, topHeadlights - HID/B-Xenon
500 Watt Alpine Stereo w/credit card remote
Carbon Fiber: engine cover, spoilers, radiator valance, door sills, dash board, trunk interior, seat buckets.
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 106 in. (2,692.4mm) Overall Length: 185.9 in. (4,722.5mm)
Curb Weight: 2,824 lbs. (1,250.1 Kg) Fuel Capacity: 15.7 gal. (59.7)
Paint:
None, (polished Aluminum car body)


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Custom-built 2005 Panoz Esperante gleams at Dream Machines
Local tattoo artist shows off his “baddest of bad cars”


Ask Wild Bill Hill why he bought himself a custom-built Panoz Esperante GTLM and he’ll look at you like you’re crazy. “It’s just the coolest car ever made, you kidding me?” he said.

The tattoo artist from Roseville started collecting cars about 10 years ago with a 1915 Model T and now has a garage full of specialty cars, including a 1915 Ford Speedster, 1932 Ford Phaeton,a 1954 Porshe Spyder a 1959 Messerschmitt. a 1963 Amphicar, a 1966 Short VW Bus, a 1969 Karmen Ghia, a 1999 Ford Car hauler, three Mini-Cars and a 2002 Panoz AIV Roadster.

But the Esperante, he says, is the cream of his collection.

It’s really responsive,” said Hill of his baby. “The way it goes into corners, it just holds the road. Just incredible.”

The aluminum/carbon fiber, hand-built, one-of-a-kind car can do zero to 60 in less than four seconds, is faster and more manageable than any production Porsche, Corvette or Viper, and weighs 1000 pounds less than the Ferarri.

Plus it is gorgeous.

“It’s pretty flashy,” said Hill. “When people see me driving this car, they sometimes just yell A four letter word.” He once had a policeman pull him over going 138 miles per hour, then just write him up for a missing front plate and let him go. “He really liked the car,” said Hill.

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Few people have even heard of the small custom car factory in the woodlands of Hoschton, Georgia, run by Danny Panoz. Each year the plant produces just about 80 hand-built, head-turning, high-performance cars that make Porsches look like common minivans.

Hill first discovered Panoz cars a few years ago at a Ford dealership while buying an SUV. On the lot they had a yellow Panoz AIV Roadster that knocked his socks off. When their salesman came around with the paperwork for their Expedition, Hill said, “I like that car too. Wrap it up.”

When Danny Panoz heard that one of his customers was interested in his Esperante, he invited Hill down to Georgia for a stay at their chateau and a factory tour. For Hill, it was love at first sight.

“It was immediately apparent why they don’t mind flying people out to see the factory,” he said. “Anyone that saw the care that is put into each hand built car and witnessed how well these are put together would have to have one.”

Before long, Hill and Panoz were happily designing his one-of-a-kind custom car. They replaced the heavy electric convertible top with a lighter, removable convertible that would fit in the trunk, taking almost 300 pounds off the car, then they added three point roll bars so Hill could run his new baby on the racetrack. Finally, they sized up the driver’s seat to fit Hill’s impressive six feet six inches of height.

“They fitted that car to me. I have pictures of me in the bare frame,” said Hill. “Nobody else can drive it because the seat doesn’t move.”

Hill’s Esperante is made entirely out of aluminum and carbon fiber, both extremely strong and lightweight materials. The exterior has no paint, just shiny, polished aluminum, making the Esperante gleam like a silver bullet.

When it was completed, the entire team that worked on the car signed their name on a plate under the hood and broke out a bottle of fine champagne to celebrate.

Custom cars like the Esperante don’t come cheap. “Panoz is pronounced ‘pay-nose,’ like pay through the nose,” laughed Hill. “It is an expensive car, but it is so very worth it, there is nothing else like it on the road.”

Whether he’s on the racetrack or on the road, Hill says he doesn’t need anything else besides his Esperante.

“I’m not looking to buy any other car,” he said. “I’m done, and that says a lot ‘cause I’m pretty car crazy. This is just the baddest bad car there is.”

You can see Wild Bill Hill’s 2006 Panoz Esperante GTLM at the 2006 Pacific Coast Dream Machines at the Half Moon Bay Airport on Sunday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit www.wild-bills.com.


 

 

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Jesse James flew his flying Panoz Esperante at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. (Photo by Eric Hameister)



The wings are 36 feet wide, and the tail structure looks bigger than the Panoz to which it’s attached. Screaming loudly when we arrived at his Long Beach, California, shop, a four-cylinder air-cooled airplane engine and propeller were spinning madly. We had the idea that something could go terribly wrong at any moment and we, or parts of what had been we, would be in Compton, San Pedro and on the evening news. But nothing happened. “What could possibly go wrong?” James asked, over the deafening roar of the engine.

Nothing did. Two weeks later, on Feb. 25, James flew his flying car [basically a Panoz Esperante with wings and a tail] at an airport near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It went 350 yards through the air at five feet off the ground, longer than the Wright Brothers’ first flight. It flew nonetheless after only five days from design to finish of construction. “It was pretty bitchin’, man,” said James. “I don’t think anybody’s ever done it, not in five days,” he said, then added rhetorically, “maybe there’s a good reason for that.”

James and crew gutted the Panoz, then welded on wings and a tail structure. For safety and reason, two engineers from Cessna were part of the build team.


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ESPERANTE AT THE TRACK

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1989 Panoz Auto Development Founded, We started Panoz Auto Development in 1989 with a love for the American sports car, a lot of ideals and a dream. We believed in the passion and purity that were once found in American cars. We believed in the maverick spirit that made them so unique and so original. And we believed that this passion and spirit had been missing in all cars for far too long

1990 Roadster introduced, From our small factory outside Atlanta, Georgia we went to work creating our dream. A car that would rekindle the flame. That would fill the void in everyone who longed for a true roadster made in America. Not by reviving the former glory of cars past, but by putting the same passion that produced those cars into a new and better sports car. One whose high performance and exotic looks didn't come at the expense of being temperamental and difficult to maintain. By 1990 our dream was realized in the Panoz Roadster. As its name suggests, it was a roadster in the purest sense. A true sports car of brute strength and raw power built for the absolute pleasure of high-speed driving. .
1996 A.I.V. Roadster Introduced, Our first cars were custom made to order for those few people who understood and appreciated our ideals. Soon more and more people began to understand. And by 1996, with our factory ready, the hand-built Panoz AIV Roadster went into full production. But even with its success we weren't about to rest on our laurels. It was time to take the next step and perform on a much broader stage. Armed with new ideas and the design and manufacturing innovations we'd created for the AIV Roadster, we immediately began creating our second offering, the Panoz Esperante. It too would have all the speed, power and agility of a pure sports car, but it would come in a more refined package. An exotic car that could be driven on a daily basis if desired. The Esperante would be our assault on the great sports cars of the world. And we would build it to not just compete, but to conquer them. In designing the Esperante, we saw the opportunity to take on the automotive industry in yet another arena, auto racing. In 1996 we founded Panoz Motor Sports and began work on the Esperante-derived Panoz GTR-1 race car. We were determined to race on the track what we build for the street. 1997 would mark our first foray into auto racing when the Esperante derived Panoz GTR-1 became the first competitive front-engine car in decades to run the grueling 24 hours of Le Mans and took Europe by storm. In one season, we went from having no team and no car to finishing ahead of all but two of the major factory teams. It is a symbol of our dedication to succeed at what we believe in, on our own terms.
1997 Panoz enters Sporstcars, It was time to take the next step and perform on a much broader stage. Armed with new ideas and the design and manufacturing innovations we'd created for the AIV Roadster, we immediately began creating our second offering, the Panoz Esperante. It too would have all the speed, power and agility of a pure sports car, but it would come in a more refined package. An exotic car that could be driven on a daily basis if desired. The Esperante would be our assault on the great sports cars of the world. And we would build it to not just compete, but to conquer them. In designing the Esperante, we saw the opportunity to take on the automotive industry in yet another arena, auto racing. In 1996 we founded Panoz Motor Sports and began work on the Esperante-derived Panoz GTR-1 race car. We were determined to race on the track what we build for the street. 1997 would mark our first foray into auto racing when the Esperante derived Panoz GTR-1 became the first competitive front-engine car in decades to run the grueling 24 hours of Le Mans and took Europe by storm. In one season, we went from having no team and no car to finishing ahead of all but two of the major factory teams. It is a symbol of our dedication to succeed at what we believe in, on our own terms.
1998 Panoz Wins USRRC Team ChampionshipThe 1998 season would see even more triumphs for the Panoz racing team with nine wins and four championships, including the US Road Racing Championship title. It would also provide Panoz Auto Development with even more valuable knowledge for use in our road cars.

1999 Panoz Dominates American LeMans Series By 1999 our involvement in auto racing exploded. Panoz Motor Sports now owns and operates three of North America's premiere racing venues, has founded the American Le Mans Series and established the Panoz Racing School. Each of these ventures continues to broaden our automotive horizons, but all are born out of our first passion. All contribute to strengthening and perfecting our original vision. To build the greatest sports cars the world has ever known.
2000 Esperante GTS Race Car IntroducedThe Esperante GTS was developed and built by Panoz Auto Development specifically for use in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) club events nation wide. The Esperante GTS is built from the ground up as aa affordable driver's class spec racer and meets all SCCA technical and safety requirements. It features a unique body comprised of fifteen ABS/acrylic panels, making it more durable, less expensive and easier to replace than fiberglass. Other features include an eight-point roll cage with triple tube side-protection and working doors.

2001 The Rebirth of the American Sports CarEsperante means "hope" or "spirit". A fitting name for a vehicle with the soul to challenge the belief of what a sports car should be. The Panoz Esperante, crafted by hand, represents a paradigm shift in American Automotive Development. A vehicle for enlightened enthusiasts - pure and simple.
2002 PANOZ LAUNCHES NEW LIMITED EDITION DRIVER’S ESPERANTE- Panoz Auto Development, a leading manufacturer of high performance automobiles and racing cars, unveiled the all-new Driver’s Edition of its luxury sports car, the Esperante at Las Vegas’ 2002 SEMA show. The Driver’s Edition Esperante celebrates the Panoz Racing Team and its leading drivers’ efforts. They are the direct result of a close collaboration between the Panoz Motor Sports and the Panoz Auto Development operations. Only ten Driver’s Edition Esperantes will be built to commemorate each of the team’s leading drivers, Jan Magnussen and David Brabham. The drivers have provided direct input on the technical, aesthetic and ergonomic specifications of the cars. Suspension settings, brakes, wheels, tires, seats, trim, colors and other details have been hand selected by both Jan and David. These limited edition cars have been designed to provide more of a pure sporting environment to the customer while retaining many of the highly acclaimed GT’s features, bringing more of the Le Mans performance and endurance ethos to the road cars. This new Brabham Driver’s Edition Esperante will be a 390-horsepower supercharged coupe and will feature carbon fiber super structures, custom carbon fiber rocker panels, carbon fiber roof, 6 speed Tremec T56 transmission, a cross drilled brake rotor package, BBS wheels (18 x 8.5 front 18 x 10 rear), Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires (245 x 40s front 275 x 40 x 18 rear) with Billet alloy pedals and shifter as standard. They are also fitted with lighter adjustable sport seats, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, carbon fiber side vents, complex reflex reflector headlamps and upgraded Rockford Fosgate stereo package. The new Brabham Driver’s Edition Esperante will feature the formidable 390 HP supercharged, inter-cooled, four cam, Ford SVT engine hand built by two-man teams in Romeo, Michigan. Panoz will also continue to service all Esperante customers through its nationwide dealer network. (more)
2003 PANOZ LAUNCHES NEW ESPERANTE “GT” EDITION OF AMERICA’S PREMIER HAND-BUILT ALUMINUM SPORTS CAR– Company founder and CEO Dan Panoz will unveil a new “GT” edition of the Panoz Esperante sports car at the Los Angles International Auto Show on December 29, 2003. The Esperante GT features the dramatic new body treatment and numerous performance enhancements from the exotic Panoz Esperante GT-LM. Panoz Auto Development, America's premier independent manufacturer of hand built, high performance automobiles, builds Esperante sports and racecars near Atlanta, Georgia. “Upon introduction of the limited edition Esperante GT-LM earlier this year, there were many requests to offer some of the car’s innovations on our standard model,” said Mr. Panoz. “That strong demand, coupled with our commitment to maintain the exclusivity of the exotic GT-LM, led us to develop the Esperante GT. This car offers world-class performance, rarity and a handsome body in a sophisticated, hand-built package. As Southern California is the sports car capital of America, it seemed appropriate to unveil this spectacular new vehicle at the LA Auto Show.” Like the GT-LM, the Esperante GT gives the remarkable Panoz platform a decidedly more sporting tone based on Panoz’s racing experience in the American Le Mans Racing Series. The rear subframe has been redesigned to feature a more aggressive suspension geometry and increase its structural stiffness while simultaneously reducing its weight. The new lightweight tubular control arms are designed to minimize the unsprung mass for improved wheel control. A new double isolated coil-over spring/shock assembly increases performance while simultaneously improving NVH characteristics. The Esperante GT’s aerodynamics package was improved with a new long nose, “duck tail” rear spoiler and long tail bumper fascias derived from the GT-LM. Other refinements include revised front and rear lighting along with custom front and rear grill work. The interior features new sport seats and a host of billet aluminum trim enhancements. (more)
2004 PANOZ ESPERANTE GTS SPEC RACER TO MOVE TO SCCA’S GT2 CLASSOrganization Reclassifies Racing Version of America’s Sports Car – The Sports Car Club of America has moved the Panoz Esperante GTS to its Grand Touring 2 class for the 2004 racing season. The Esperante GTS, which was developed specifically for use in SCCA club events nation wide, previously competed in the GT1 class. Panoz Auto Development, America's premier independent manufacturer of hand built, high performance automobiles, builds Esperante sports and racecars near Atlanta, Georgia. The Panoz Esperante GTS is eligible to compete in the Panoz Racing Series and SCCA GT2 class. Built from the ground up as a driver's class spec racer, the tube-frame GT racecar meets all SCCA technical and safety requirements. The Esperante GTS comes race-ready and sells for about $60,000 from authorized SCCA Enterprises dealers and select Panoz dealers. It features a unique body comprised of fifteen ABS/Acrylic panels, making it more durable, less expensive, and easier to replace than fiberglass. The car has an eight-point roll cage with triple tube side-protection and working doors. Weighing in at just 2,685 lbs., the Panoz GTS is powered by a Ford Motorsports 5.8 liter, 16-valve V8 capable of 385 bhp at 5,750 rpm. “We’re pleased that the SCCA reclassified the Panoz Esperante GTS from GT1 to GT2,” said Dan Panoz, President of Panoz Auto Development. “We believe this class better suits the Esperante’s power to weight ratio. This is great news for those who race the robust and cost-effective car, as well as those who are considering the Panoz Esperante GTS for future racing activities.
Esperante
2005 PANOZ UNVEILS ESPERANTE GTLM PERFORMANCE MODEL– Panoz Auto Development has unveiled the latest refinements to its world renowned Esperante for the 2005 model year. The changes to the classic Esperante, GT and GTLM models are designed to enhance an owner’s experience with new levels of performance, style and comfort. Panoz Auto Development, America's premier independent manufacturer of hand built, high performance automobiles, crafts Esperante sports and racecars near Atlanta, Georgia. “The Panoz Auto Development Team is continually making new breakthroughs to incorporate into our high performance vehicles,” said Panoz Auto Development President and founder Dan Panoz. “For 2005, those innovations have further refined and enhanced the experience of driving and owning an Esperante. Lessons learned in our R&D department, customer clinics and on the track with the Panoz GTLM racecar, have made this the best Panoz car ever available to the public.” The Esperante is available in both convertible and coupe form. All 2005 models include new standard equipment inside and outside of the cars. Several new options have also been added to the lineup. Improved Handling A new rear sub-frame, developed with technical partner Multimatic Inc., was introduced in 2004 with the GTLM. Now standard on all Esperante models, it reduces mass while increasing stiffness and features racing inspired suspension geometry. Rear control arms are fabricated, lightweight, tubular steel components bolted to aluminum uprights. This reduces un-sprung mass and works in concert with the double isolated coil-over spring/shock assembly to increase performance and improve NVH characteristics. Several new wheel and tire combinations have been introduced to the sports GT cars. The GTLM can now be optioned with polished or painted alloy 18” wheels. The GT and standard Esperante can be ordered with two new styles of 17” or 18” alloy wheels and upgraded tires.