What’s the first car you think of if you’re looking for a cheap enthusiast car from the 1990s? There’s a good chance your brain just threw up a picture of a Fox Mustang in your mind’s eye. Ford made hundreds of thousands of those front-engine rear-drive machines, and while most of them came with garbage Lima four cylinders and even worse V6s, they’re easy enough to swap V8s into, and the aftermarket is perhaps most readily available with hop up parts.
In 1992 if you wanted the simplicity of a 5-liter Mustang, but you were looking for the visceral speed of a Viper and better handling than either, and you had a healthy stack of cash, you might have bought a Panoz Roadster. This 2300 pound machine dropped nearly 900 pounds compared to a same-year Mustang, mostly by just being less car. There’s not much to this car outside of the engine and wheels. The interior is pretty tight, and doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities.
0-60 in 4.6 back in 1992. That’s basically as quick as a Ferrari F40.
For posterity sake, here’s the listing:
Not many people, even among automotive enthusiasts, are familiar with Panoz automobiles. Dan Panoz founded Panoz Auto Development in 1989 and his father began racing the cars in 1997 to promote the cars and expand the brand. Panoz built on its early successes and by 2006 had garnered class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Today, Panoz designs and manufactures exclusive sports cars that have true motorsports heritage.
This 1992 Panoz Roadster is one of only 44 first generation cars produced through 1995 and is likely to appreciate as well as be appreciated. Powered by Ford’s ubiquitous 5.0L fuel injected V8, this 2315 lb. road rocket beautifully demonstrates the joys of a lightweight roadster. Additional features include aluminum body panels, a stainless steel (!) chassis, SLA front suspension with coilovers, 4-link rear suspension with coilovers, 5-speed manual transmission, power steering, 4-wheel disc brakes, full instrumentation, and a removable hardtop.
Aimed squarely at the serious enthusiast/collector, this is probably not the car for an extended road trip, but this gem will absolutely devour a winding road and leave much more exotic machines far behind.
Dan Panoz describes his strategy as RVP; for Reliability, Value, and Performance, and this early Roadster beautifully demonstrates these qualities. One more rare roadster from the team that makes dreams a reality.
Whenever I get around to making my millions from Radwood, this is the first thing I’m buying. I’ve wanted one of these since I was a youngster. If you want to buy it now — and hang on to it for me for a few years until I can afford to buy it from you — you can find the car on eBay Motors right now with a $49,500 classified ad price. I’m guessing they’ll take a bit less.