Rare V8-Powered 1993 Panoz Roadster

The seller says, “This 1993 Panoz Roadster is one of about 44 built”. You may read that as one of 44 built-in 1993, but you’d be wrong—only 44 total were made between 1992 and 1999, and this very nice emerald green (with tan interior) example, found here on craigslist in Macon, Georgia is probably your best chance to snare one at a reasonable price, $25,000.

The styling of the aluminum-bodied Panoz is not to everyone’s taste—it depends largely on your tolerance for the Lotus Seven. It’s a narrow two-seater with cycle-type fenders. But the Panoz leaves the Lotus in the dust. That’s because (like the Lotus) it’s ultra-lightweight, but in this case, there’s no anemic four—it has a 302-cubic-inch Ford V8 and a Borg-Warner five-speed manual under the hood. Zero to 60 time was an amazing, for the early-’90s, 4.2 seconds. And “it can be serviced at your local Ford dealer without any fuss,” the owner says.

This example has a mere 35,400 miles on its odometer, so that powerful original drivetrain is just broken in. The first owner still has custody of it, and he has the (optional) full convertible top with side curtains, tonneau cover and anti-theft devices. The interior looks just fine, and the carpets don’t even appear worn. The car’s appearance is consistent with its low claimed mileage.

The owner points to excellent fit and finish, as well as “near-perfect seams, a non-flex stainless-steel chassis and 50/50 front-rear weight distribution.” There’s a video of the car running here:

Here’s the Panoz story. The Roadster was built by Panoz Auto Development Company in Georgia, where this one resides now. It was the first made-in-U.S.A. aluminum car. A frame was purchased from racer Frank Costin, originally intended for his TMC Costin, but it was not used in favor of Panoz’s own frame of stainless steel tubing. The lightweight body was designed by Freeman Thomas and was built by Superform USA.

The Ford Mustang GT contributed the 225-horsepower drivetrain, solid rear axle, and independent front suspension to the bare-bones platform. Some sources say the Panoz never had a top, but there was some custom-ordering and this car does have what may be an experimental one. Other things the Panoz lacked were a radio, air-conditioner, and heater — though a defroster was legally mandated.

An aluminum chassis debuted with these cars in 1994, and in 1996 a prototype with yet another frame was shown in 1996, with the 305-horsepower Mustang SVT Cobra 32-valve motor. This was the AIV (Aluminum-Intensive Vehicle) version of the Roadster, and it was made until 1999, with supercharging and unique paint. According to Ben Hunting, “This improved edition [the AIV] could hit 60-mph in less than five seconds, which was astounding performance for the mid-90s.”

The car for sale won’t be that fast, but it should be plenty entertaining. Panoz is still around, building a variety of sports cars and still going racing. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip.

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Comments

  1. doug

    Looks like cheap fun.

    Like 3
  2. Connecticut Mark

    Chrysler copied this with that crossfire thing 6 cylinder that put out decent horsepower . Rather have this mustang motor one.

    Like 4
    • Nick

      Well that’s an interesting theory but couldn’t be further out to lunch. The Crossfire was almost wholly a Mercedes SLK 320, around 90% of it in fact apart from styling sheet-metal, a few chassis sheet-metal elements and some interior styling features.
      I think you mean the Plymouth Prowler (which became the Chrysler Prowler) and was from made 1999 through 2002.
      Actually both the Crossfire had V6 engines, 3.2 Mercedes and 3.5 Chrysler, respectively. The Crossfire was significantly faster, though only slightly heavier at 3000lbs.
      The Panoz and the Prowler kind of look the same, both roadsters with a separate fender front wheels, but that’s about it.

      Like 9
  3. Connecticut Mark

    Yes prowler sorry , wrong model.

    Like 1
  4. Dave Mathers

    Great price for a rare car.

    Like 3
  5. RexFox

    Wow, what a fun car that’s also practical (semi). It has a trunk, bumpers, fenders and wipers, along with a top. You could actually use this car for errands and little road trips, and still have a show and track car. A heater would be nice; do you think the defroster is the electric cable style like a rear window defroster?

  6. JMB#7

    If a Lotus 7 and an AC Cobra had a baby, I think it would look a lot like this. So far, very reasonably priced for what it is. What is up with that center dashboard, major reflection in many of the photos? I guess if you cannot see the gages, then you just need to drive by ear and feel? It has a lot of positive features (zero rust)!

    Like 3

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