AIV Changes 97-98-99
The Panoz AIV Roadster was manufactured for public sale from 1997 through 1999. During this time, a variety of small and some large changes were made. In general, the improvements over the three year period favor the 1999. Still, some of the changes altered the appearance of the vehicle and thus some people have a preference for one year over another.
In general, the major mechanical specifications of the cars did not change throughout production (except for the special supercharged cars). Each Panoz AIV Roadster had the same hand assembled Ford SVT Mustang Cobra engine and Borg-Warner T-45 five speed transmission originally introduced in the 1996 Mustang Cobra. This 305 HP all aluminum Modular 4.6 liter V-8 had the DOHC 32 valve configuration. Brakes came from the Mustang Cobra as well with 13 inch vented twin piston discs up front and 10 inch vented single piston discs in the rear. All Panoz AIVs had four wheel independent suspension with the 8.8 Ford limited slip differential. All had the large bore extruded aluminum chassis rails with an aluminum backbone frame with mild steel tubular subframes. The bodies were super plastic formed (SPF) aluminum with fiberglass fenders and hood scoop. Standard interiors were vinyl with leather seat inserts in black or tan. Consoles had either carbon fiber or walnut burl wood insert. Paint was a urethane base two stage with clearcoat. Top and side curtains were standard.
Differences between the years
• The first 1997 Panoz cars had the Roush truck mounted tool kit. Later cars had no toolkit.
• 1997’s and 1998’s had Japanese Kosei Seneca S5R five spoke cast aluminum18x8 front wheels and 18x9 rear wheels. These wheels carried the Roush logo on one spoke. The front brake caliper had the Cobra logo from the Mustang Cobra.
• 1999’s had the lighter weight BBS RK cast aluminum 18x8.5 front wheels and 18x10 rear wheels. The BBS wheel had a different Panoz logo cap than the Kosei. The front brake calipers had a Panoz logo. (all years had 245/40 ZR18 front tires and 295/35 ZR18 rear tires)
• 1997’s and 1998’s had the Fujitsu Ten Eclipse 5331 180 watt stereo with CD having both speakers mounted between the seats. In 1999, Panoz installed an Alpine 300 watt stereo with CD, removable faceplate and speakers mounted under the dash with a trunk mounted subwoofer. With the moving of the speakers, the 1999’s had a small storage box between the seats and a lowered center console to add interior room.
• In 1999, the last 10 cars were sold in 2000 as anniversary specials. The Anniversary Editions are identifiable by their titanium paint, hand-sewn blue upholstery and 18-in. BBS RK chromed wheels with a unique chrome center cap. They had polished Penske shocks. Under their hoods, the Anniversary Editions had hand-polished aluminum valve and plenum covers. Panoz's signature was engraved on the top of the cylinder heads. Each engine also carried a number plaque. Four of these cars had aftermarket superchargers installed as non-factory equipment. In addition to the four anniversary editions that were supercharged, some regular 1999 cars were supercharged for dealers after they were sold by the factory. The 10th Anniversary Limited Edition A.I.V. Roadster carried a suggested list price of $68,850. The supercharger added $5695 to that. All 10 were sold before they were built.
• Prices rose during the production run with 1997’s base sticker price at $56,750 and standard 1999’s at $62,500. All years had available options such as wind wings, aluminum pedal covers, aluminum logo shift knob and floor mats.
Some running changes
• Early cars had a thick core Griffin radiator and 45 degree mounted AC condenser and pusher fan. A transition change went to a thinner Griffin radiator with upright AC condenser and puller fan.
• Early cars had a steel case independent differential case and later cars had the aluminum case.
• A transition change had early car engines topped with a Cobra plaque and later cars with a Panoz logo plaque.
• Early cars had no emblem in their wheel cap centers and later cars had a Panoz logo topped cap.
• Earlier cars had a round Nardi steering wheel and later ones went to the similar D-shaped Nardi wheel to help give leg clearance.
• Color choices changed over time (see production #’s for what was offered)
Caveat: While the variations mentioned above in the three years are generally true, there are exceptions seen in a number of cars. Since the Panoz Roadster was hand assembled, the factory made running changes as production progressed. Also, if certain parts were not available, others might have been used. For example, while many 98’s and 99’s had the D shaped Nardi steering wheel, some have the round Nardi wheel. Some 98’s have been seen with BBS wheels. It is possible too that some of the owners switched parts. So take these model differences as guidelines rather than as definitive. You can best distinguish years of manufacture by VIN numbers: 97 cars had VIN numbers with VB, 98’s are WB and 99’s are XB. But here again, many Roadsters were slow sellers at Ford dealers and some sold in a later year than its year of manufacture!
Under Hood Differences