Panoz Esperante--D&M Motorsports Video Test Drive Review 2012 Chris Moran
SEE OVER 100 IN-DEPTH AUTO REVIEWS @ www.SUPERCARNETWORK.com. A first drive for Chris in the Panoz Esperante. Presented by D&M Motorsports, hosted by Chris Moran.
Our intentions were good. This would be the first magazine to pit two similarly priced, low-volume, Ford SVT Mustang Cobra-powered sports cars from a pair of young and eager companies in a breathtaking shootout.
The fatal flaw was the timing. Qvale Modena is already shipping Mangustas to customers. The company diverted one for this test and certified that it was fairly representative of that which citizens of the land may purchase. On the other hand, Panoz Auto Development Company in Hoschton, Georgia, is still developing its Esperante. It did produce a prototype with Irish-green paint and oatmeal leather for testing, but the car was clearly yanked out of the oven while still a little squishy.
Regular production of the aluminum body panels had yet to begin, the interior is still undergoing minor revisions, and raising the unperfected convertible top occupied two engineers with tools for 20 minutes. In short, the Esperante's test numbers have too many asterisks to be used in an honest comparison with the Mangusta.
Not to say that the time spent with the Esperante was a complete waste. The Panoz shows promise of maturing into a shapely, competent roadster, and Danny Panoz promises the first buyers will be able to unload their extra $81,961 on one by this fall, once he obtains tops and bodies for the 100 or so completed chassis sitting in his factory.
That's just a few thousand clams shy of the Mangusta's price, but philosophically, the Esperante is a completely different animal. Panoz splices in far more Mustang DNA, including the steering rack, the ABS-equipped brakes (not available on the Mangusta), the independent rear suspension (IRS) module, and parts of the floorpan and fire wall. After modifications, those bits bolt to a space frame of interlocking aluminum extrusions that form the main structural skeleton.
Oddly enough, despite the high Mustang content, the Esperante feels less like a Mustang than the Qvale does. Panoz is aiming for a more classic sports-car experience and succeeds in part with a lower driving position, a compact three-spoke steering wheel that neatly conceals its airbag, and two pontoon fenders that bracket the view out the windshield.
The crisply tuned Panoz also behaves lighter on its feet. It turns in with Ginsu sharpness and bites the pavement hard in corners. But the Esperante demands a smooth hand near the limit because the rear end is easy to fluster and difficult to collect after it breaks loose.
Blame may lie with the Cobra's IRS module. Ford engineers designed it first and foremost to bolt directly to the Mustang's live-axle pickup points, sacrificing weight and performance for packaging convenience. Panoz adds only a cantilevered coil-on-shock assembly to make it work in the Esperante's space frame. Perhaps more tweaking will get the Panoz and Ford ends working in better harmony.
Throttle response is lustier in the Panoz, and it trounces the Mustang Cobra and the Mangusta in acceleration and braking. An oppressively boomy, low-restriction Exhaust may have helped contribute to the scorching drag-strip times. Danny says they are still tinkering with different systems.
Since it last appeared on these pages (January 1999), the Esperante has experienced some noteworthy revisions. "Nobody liked the pursed lips," admits Danny, so Panoz widened the tiny oval mouth that gave the first Esperante a face out of The X-Files. Inside, the company inched the shift knob closer to the driver by installing a remote shift linkage. It also repositioned the center-mounted gauges so that their binnacle is flat to the panel a la BMW Z8. Fine, except that they are even harder to read quickly and the reflection of the sky washes out the dials.
The Panoz may need to bake some more, but with Qvale out booking sales, the temperature should be hotter than ever.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia--D&M Motorsports Video Test Drive 2012 Chris Moran
SEE OVER 100 IN-DEPTH AUTO REVIEWS @ www.SUPERCARNETWORK.com. An in-depth
test drive of a 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia with Chris Moran. Presented by
That's right. The 430 Scuderia, a V-8-powered, aluminum "volume-sales"
model we all kind of assumed was just another lightened, mid-cycle riff on
the F430 turns out to be one serious supercar. It may be Ferrari's
best-performing GT car ever, despite its fire-sale $272,306 price. It is
unquestionably the Ferrari that mere owners -- not factory test drivers or
F1 world champions -- will be able to drive the fastest on demanding roads
or race circuits without winding up on wreckedexotics.com.
Granted, the 503-hp 430 carries 18-percent-more weight per filly than does
the 651-hp Enzo and it lacks the Enzo's exotic pushrod-actuated suspension,
active aero-gear, and a few other racy touches. And yet with Michael
Schumacher at the helm, the 430 Scuderia circulated the fast track at
Fiorano in 1:25.0, equaling Dario Benuzzi's best run in the Enzo, circa
2003. And indeed our own test equipment recorded a quicker launch in the
430 (1.2 seconds to 30 mph versus 1.4 in our last Enzo) and a blistering
0-to-60 time of just 3.1 seconds to the Enzo's comparatively pedestrian
3.4. Granted, by the quarter mile the Enzo's power advantage vaults it
ahead by 0.2 second and almost 7 mph, but on shorter circuits like the
1.8-mile Pista di Fiorano there's precious little time spent at those
speeds. In fact, as development engineer Michele Giaramita explained the
many advantages the 430 enjoys at different spots on the track, we had to
wonder if Michael might have been sandbagging just a skosh in the name of
saving Enzo's face until the next limited-run V-12 super-cavallino arrives.
Follow along and see if you agree.
Click to view Gallery
Ferrari took a holistic approach to enhancing the F430, whittling away at
anything that slows a car down and applying the latest tricks learned in
Formula 1 racing. Power, weight, tires, and suspension were the low-hanging
fruit. Using carbon fiber extensively throughout the interior and engine
compartment, ditching sound-deadening materials and fitting a Lexan rear
window and titanium springs and lug bolts helped shave 220 lb off the F430.
A host of detail refinements to the 4.3L flat-plane-crankshaft V-8 added 20
hp and 4 lb-ft of peak output, but fattens the torque on either side of the
peak by a bunch more, making the overall performance feel like much more
than a four-percent improvement. Stickier Pirelli PZero Corsa tires (10 mm
wider in front), plus lowered (0.6 in.), stiffer springs (35 percent
front/32 percent rear) Boost
handling, braking, and acceleration-launch performance.
The rest of the improvements are pretty much all Formula 1-inspired,
starting with the aerodynamics, which are optimized to increase front and
rear downforce without resorting to large wings by creating suction
underneath the body. A patent-pending "base bleed" method of relieving
aerodynamic pressure from the rear-wheel housings helps bring the 430
Scuderia's drag coefficient in five percent under the Enzo's. Next, the
ever-evolving F1 paddle-shift automated manual gearbox controls have been
hyper-caffeinated to deliver shifts in an unfathomable 60 milliseconds.
This new F1-SuperFast2's shifts happen in about a quarter of the time
required for a manual shift-or for a shift in the first-generation F1 box
in the Enzo, for that matter.
But perhaps the most significant technology transfer from F1 to the 430
Scuderia is the F1-Trac traction/stability control system, which for the
first time on a road car also has authority over the electronically
controlled E-Diff2 wet-clutch limited-slip differential. Put simply, this
system is designed so that in the Manettino's "Race" mode, any driver
should be able to approach the apex of any turn and simply flat-foot the
throttle and steer through letting the electronics modulate brake
pressures, engine torque, and differential lockup. The electronic
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28--D&M Motorsports Test Drive and Video Walk Around Review Chris Moran
A gorgeous 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 tribute car. Ground
up restoration...incredible daily driver material! Hosted by Chris Moran.
SEE OVER 100 IN-DEPTH AUTO REVIEWS @ www.SUPERCARNETWORK.com.
Before any official announcement, reports began running during April 1965
within the automotive press that Chevrolet was preparing a competitor to
the Ford Mustang,
code-named Panther. On June 21, 1966, around 200 automotive journalists
received a telegram from General Motors stating, "...Please save noon of
June 28 for important SEPAW meeting. Hope you can be on hand to help
scratch a cat. Details will follow...(signed) John L. Cutter -- Chevrolet
Public Relations -- SEPAW Secretary." The following day, the same
journalists received another General Motors telegram stating, "Society for
the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World will hold first and
last meeting on June 28...(signed) John L. Cutter -- Chevrolet Public
Relations SEPAW Secretary." These telegrams puzzled the automotive
On June 28, 1966, General Motors held a live press conference in Detroit's
Statler-Hilton Hotel. It would be the first time in history that 14 cities
were hooked up in real time for a press conference via telephone lines.
Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes started the news conference stating
that all attendees of the conference were charter members of the Society
for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World and that this
would be the first and last meeting of SEPAW. Estes then announced a new
car line, project designation XP-836, with a name that Chevrolet chose in
keeping with other car names beginning with the letter C such as the
Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette. He claimed the name, "suggests
the comradeship of good friends as a personal car should be to its owner"
and that "to us, the name means just what we think the car will do... Go!"
The new Camaro name was
then unveiled. Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers, "What is
a Camaro?" and were
told it was "a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs."
The Camaro was first
shown at a press preview in Detroit, Michigan, on September 12, 1966, and
then later in Los Angeles, California, on September 19, 1966. The Camaro officially went on sale in
dealerships on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year.
First generation: 1967--1969
debuted in September 1966, for the 1967 model year, up to 1969 on a new
rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform and would be available as a 2-door, 2+2
seating, coupe or convertible with a choice of 250 cu in (4.1 L) inline-6
and 302 cu in (4.9 L), 307 cu in (5.0 L), 327 cu in (5.4 L), 350 cu in (5.7
L), or 396 cu in (6.5 L) V8 powerplants. Concerned with the runaway success
of the Ford Mustang,
Chevrolet executives realized that their compact sporty car, the Corvair,
would not be able to generate the sales volume of the Mustang due to its rear-engine
design, as well as declining sales, partly due to the bad publicity from
Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Therefore, the Camaro was touted as having the
same conventional rear-drive, front-engine configuration as Mustang and Chevy II Nova. In
addition, the Camaro
was designed to fit a variety of power plants in the engine bay. The
would last until the 1969 model year and would eventually inspire the
design of the new retro fifth-generation Camaro.
Second generation: 1970--1981
A second-generation Camaro
Introduced in February 1970, the second generation Camaro was produced through the
1981 model year, with cosmetic changes made in 1974 and 1978 model years.
The car was heavily restyled and became somewhat larger and wider with the
new styling. Still based on the F-body platform, the new Camaro was similar to its
predecessor, with a unibody structure, front subframe, an A-arm front
suspension and leaf springs to control the solid rear axle. Road & Track
magazine picked the 1971 SS350 as one of the 10 best cars in the world in
August 1971. RS, SS and Z28 performance packages gradually disappeared. The
Z28 package was reintroduced in 1977, largely in response to the huge
success of its corporate stablemate, the Pontiac Trans Am. 1980 and 1981
Z28s included an air induction hood scoop, with an intake door that opened
under full throttle.
Third generation: 1982--1992
Main article: Chevrolet Camaro (third generation)
1930 Ford Model A T-Bucket Hot Rod-D&M Motorsports Video Walk Around and Review with Chris Moran
An outrageous 1930 Ford Model A Custom Street Rod, offered by D&M
Motorsports. Hosted by Chris Moran.
The Ford Model A of 1927--1931 (also colloquially called the A-Model Ford
or the A, and A-bone among rodders and customizers) was the second huge
success for the Ford Motor Company, after its predecessor, the Model T.
First produced on October 20, 1927, but not sold until December 2, it
replaced the venerable Model T, which had been produced for 18 years. This
new Model A (a previous model had used the name in 1903--1904) was
designated as a 1927 model and was available in four standard colors, but
By 4 February 1929, one million Model As had been sold, and by 24 July, two
million. The range of body styles ran from the Tudor at US$500 (in grey,
green, or black) to the Town Car with a dual cowl at US$1200. In
March 1930, A sales hit three million, and there were nine body styles
The Model A was produced through 1931. When production ended in March,
1932, there were 4,849,340 Model As made in all styles.
Its successor was the Model B, which featured an updated 4-cylinder engine,
followed by the Model 18 which introduced Ford's new Flathead V8 engine.
Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to $1400 for the
top-of-the-line Town Car. The engine was a water-cooled L-head 4-cylinder
with a displacement of 201 cu in (3.3 l). This engine provided 40 horsepower (30 kW). Typical
fuel consumption was between 25 and 30 mpg (U.S.) (8 to 12 kilometres per
litre or 8-9 L/100 km) using a Zenith one-barrel
up-draft carburetor,with a top speed of around 65 mph (104
km/h). It had a 103.5 in (2,630 mm) wheelbase with a final drive ratio of
3.77:1. The transmission was a 3-speed sliding gear manual unit with a
1-speed reverse. The Model A had 4-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 1930
and 1931 editions came with stainless steel radiator cowling and headlamp
The Model A came in a wide variety of styles: Coupe (Standard and Deluxe),
Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe (Standard and Deluxe),
Convertible Cabriolet, Convertible Sedan, Phaeton (Standard and Deluxe),
Tudor Sedan(Standard and Deluxe), Town Car, Fordor (2-window) (Standard and
Deluxe), Fordor (3-window) (Standard and Deluxe), Victoria, Station Wagon,
Taxicab, Truck, and Commercial.
The Model A was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls
with conventional clutch and brake pedals; throttle and gearshift. Previous
Ford models used controls that had become uncommon to drivers of other
makes. The Model A's fuel tank was located in the cowl, between the engine
compartment's fire wall and the dash panel. It had a visual fuel gauge, and
the fuel flowed to the carburetor by gravity. In cooler climates, owners
could purchase an aftermarket cast iron unit to place over the Exhaust manifold to provide heat to the cab. A
small door provided adjustment of the amount of hot air entering the cab.
Model A was the first car to have safety glass in the windshield.
The Soviet company GAZ, which started as a cooperation between Ford and the
Soviet Union, made a licensed version of the Model A from 1932-1936.
This itself was the basis for the FAI and BA-20 armored car, which saw use
as scout vehicles in the early stages of World War II.
In addition to the United States, Ford made the Model A in plants in
Argentina, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In Europe, where cars were taxed according to engine size, Ford equipped
the Ford Model A with a 2,033 cc motor providing a claimed output of just
40 hp. However, the engine size was still large enough to equate to a
rating of 24 hp and attracted a punitive annual car tax levy of £24 in the
UK and similar penalties in other principal European markets, leaving
the car unable to compete in the newly developing mass market. It therefore
was expensive to own and too heavy and thirsty to achieve volume sales, but
also too crude to compete as a luxury product. European manufactured Model
As failed to achieve the sales success in Europe that would greet their
smaller successor on the assembly lines in England and Germany.
Historical context of Model A development