The Panoz family has a long and illustrious history in motorsports, but did you know that Nancy Panoz (wife of Don Panoz) ordered her very own Panoz Roadster in 1993 in one of the era’s most subtle shades? These roadsters look like a cross between a bug-eyed Lotus Seven and a streamlined Plymouth Prowler, and Mrs. Panoz’s Mocha Mist example mixes things up with a shade that’s worthy of a Mercedes 500E, a stark contrast to the brash, race-ready colors expected from a high-performance sports car.
We found this rare roofless gem on Craigslist (via Barnfinds) and were suitably impressed with its provenance. It’s wonderful to see that the Panoz family truly embraced their big-dollar gamble: acquiring the rights to produce the TMC Costin, modifying it to accept a Fox-body Mustang powertrain, and undergoing the monumental task of redesigning the Costin’s body into a more aesthetically pleasing form.
While those beautiful body panels were formed out of aluminum, don’t confuse this 1993 Panoz Roadster with the later AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) Roadster with its all-aluminum Modular V-8 engine shared with the 1996 SVT Mustang Cobra. Cast-iron block notwithstanding, the Fox-body’s 5.0 Windsor is relatively light, very compact, and still a potent choice for a vehicle weighing well under 2500 pounds. The claimed 23,000 miles on the odometer aren’t out of the question for a vehicle lacking air conditioning, side windows, or even a radio; this roadster is not exactly a four-seasons cruiser.
It’s unfortunate that the seller included precious few photographs in their Craigslist post, a selection which makes the roadster’s current condition difficult to ascertain. However, with a functional convertible top, relatively low mileage, aluminum body panels, and the Fox-body’s bulletproof powertrain, we’d guess that this Panoz presents well in person. Hopefully it has nothing but simple and affordable reconditioning in its future.
With only 44 produced from 1992 to 1995, Panoz Roadsters with the 5.0 Windsor are indeed rare. Does rare equate to valuable? While transactional data is limited, our valuation tool places the seller’s $35,000 asking price just below the value of an example in #2 (Excellent) condition ($37,400). (Keep in mind that a later, SVT Cobra-powered AIV Roadster sold for 70 grand.) While most Panoz Roadsters likely had an original owner of noteworthy stature, having Nancy Panoz’s name affixed to the engine plaque can only help this example’s cause. Finally, let’s not forget that it’s always nice to have a muscle-bound roadster in a color that doesn’t advertise its prowess.