Panoz Roadster Registry

Original Panoz Roadster
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Panoz Roadster 1992-1995

The original Panoz Roadster was based on the chassis of the TMC Costin (see Panoz History). Only 26 of these cars were built in Ireland before the factory closed. Dan Panoz bought the rights to this chassis and had American designer Freeman Thomas help him style a new body for the car around a stainless steel version of this chassis and Ford Mustang GT running gear. Thomas was quoted as saying Dan wanted something that was neither “too vintage” nor “too 90’s”. He asked what a hot-rodder would do with a Morgan! The design Thomas developed was a cross between an early European sports car, an American hot rod and a track racing car (see Styling Influences). There were only 44 of these stainless steel framed cars made during 1992-1995. All were basically “built-to-order” cars. During this short period, Panoz made a number of improvements to the vehicle changing interior design, gauges, and made frame and running gear alterations. Because each car was hand built for a customer, they varied greatly. This early photo from a factory brochure shows the variability. Note the Ford Mustang GT engines in the background.


The production cars had a stainless steel frame and aluminum body panels. 


Running Gear
Running gear for the early Panoz Roadster was a Ford 302 iron block with a Borg-Warner five speed transmission and solid rear axle with traction lock. Engines were stock Ford Mustang GT issue at the time. These cars had no heat, air conditioning or power steering. Note the short tube headers on this very early model. This car is the 4th one built of the 9 sold during the first year. This car (NB213006) was originally owned by Tim McKyer and featured, road tested and reported by Autoweek in 1992.

Interior Changes
Some of the biggest visible differences in the cars built between 1992 and 1995 were in the interior. The 1992 cars had a “custom” interior using little from the Mustang, the source of the running gear.

For those more familiar with the later Panoz AIV Roadster, note the differences: unusual door panels, custom gauges, and locking oval gas cap. These cars had no top but a tonneau cover that snaps onto the windshield.


These very early cars varied from car to car depending on the request of the buyer. The car below has Talbot style mirrors (instead of Miata), a luggage rack, wood steering wheel and shift knob. The windshield frame is polished, it has tunable Supertrapp exhausts and wider wheels. Note too that the dash has a rounded hood above the gauges, padded door panels and custom high back seats.


In 1993, the interior was changed to accept the Mustang gauge cluster. In this revised interior, the door panels were now closer in design to what would later appear in the AIV Roadster.


In 1994 when Mustang discontinued the “Fox Body” and changed the gauge cluster, the Panoz Roadster interior was again changed to accommodate this new design. This last alteration to the interior most closely reflects the interior design adopted in the 1997 Panoz AIV Roadster. 


Other changes seen in early cars were the variety of wheels used, again no doubt a function of building a car to suit the intended buyer

The original Panoz Roadster was a work-in-progress. It's evolution reflected continuing improvements and the necessary revisions due to the changes in the Ford Mustang hardware that was used in its construction.