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.
Panoz AIV Roadster Loud sound
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Chris Ashworth records a very rare Panoz AIV Roadster revving and driving
away. AIV stands for Aluminum Intensive Vechicle. This car has the engine
of a Mustang SVT Cobra.
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
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
2001 Qvale Mangusta Start Up, Exhaust, and In Depth Tour
In this video I give a full in depth tour of the very rare 2001 Qvale
Mangusta. I take viewers on a close look through the interior and exterior
of this car while showing details, over viewing of features, and noting
unique styling cues to the vehicle itself. I also show the engine and the
details of it, start it up and see how it sounds under acceleration. A
thorough tour/review of this car designed to give others a greater overall
appreciation of the vehicle.
Thanks a lot to Hendrick BMW in Charlotte, NC for allowing me to make this
video! For more info on this car as well as others visit
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG--D&M Motorsports Test Drive Review 2012 Chris Moran
An in-depth review of Mercedes' newest world-class supercar, the 2011
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Hosted by Chris Moran. SEE OVER 100 IN-DEPTH AUTO
REVIEWS @ www.SUPERCARNETWORK.com.
It's five and a half feet long. It weighs 8.8 pounds. Height of an adult
female, weight of a gallon or so of gas—these are the critical dimensions
of the carbon-fiber driveshaft running between the engine and the
rear-mounted transaxle in the new Mercedes SLS AMG. We note this here
because, despite the car's retro-gullwing looks, the SLS is utterly
bleeding edge—both in terms of its technical attributes and what it
represents for Mercedes' in-house tuner. It is not simply a Mercedes with
bigger wheels and a breathed-upon V-8 or V-12. It is, down to its churning
carbon-fiber core, AMG's first dedicated automobile and the very antithesis
of the overly complex and overweight half-million-dollar Mercedes SLR
"The SLS is a serious super sports car," says AMG chief of development
Tobias Moers before taking a shot at the SLR, a carbon-fiber-bodied car
that still managed to weigh in at 3858 pounds. "Our SLS weighs only 3572
pounds," he says, nearly 300 pounds lighter than the McMerc. Keeping the
182.6-inch-long, two-seat SLS's mass in check is its entirely aluminum
construction (save for that driveshaft and steel A-pillars), a first for
Mercedes-Benz. The aluminum structure weighs just 531 pounds, Mercedes
The most distinctive aspect of the SLS's appearance is, of course, its
roof-hinged gullwing doors, an homage to the iconic 300SL Gullwing. But AMG
personnel took pains to point out that the doors are the only thing the SLS
has in common with the 300SL. "We do not build a retro car at all!" AMG
boss Volker Mornhinweg explains sharply. "In fact, we think it is the most
advanced super sports car you can buy today."
Those gullwing doors look spectacular. Unlike with the original SL, where
one had to slide over a wide sill because of the space-frame structure
underneath, it's easy to access the SLS's cabin. There's only one issue:
Riders need long arms to reach the distant handles at the bottom of each
door to pull them closed.
The interior is simple and uncluttered, much like a current SL roadster's.
While the car's structure is a pure AMG design, most of the parts, except
for the shifter, are from the Mercedes bin. The instrument cluster is clear
and easy to read, and we love the round HVAC vents. The center console has
an aluminum finish, with carbon fiber an option.
Press the starter button on the center console, and the now-familiar,
AMG-designed 6.2-liter V-8 awakens with an angry yelp. The idle is deep,
and the revs rise and fall race-car swiftly. Code-named M159, the engine is
basically a reengineered version of the M156 unit that's fitted to AMG's
"63" models. The M159 comes with an all-new magnesium intake, forged
pistons in place of cast ones, and optimized tubular Exhaust headers. The engineers also switched
from a wet sump to a dry arrangement, allowing the engine to be mounted
lower to benefit the SLS's center of gravity. The maximum output of 563 horsepower is
delivered at 6800 rpm, and peak torque of 479 pound-feet comes at 4750 rpm.
In order to satisfy emissions standards—EU5, LEVII, ULEV—the Bosch ME
9.7 AMG engine management is set up to recharge the battery during
deceleration. It's another way of trying to eke out decent fuel economy,
which, based on Mercedes' European estimates, should equate to roughly 13
mpg city and 20 highway.
-Car and Driver, November 2009
Range Rover Sport HSE--D&M Motorsports Video Test Drive and Walk Around with Chris Moran
An in-depth look at a 2006 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE with Chris
Moran. Presented by D&M Motorsports. www.dmautosales.com
The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a premium SUV that represents a shift
in focus for this SUV-oriented luxury brand. While traditional Land Rover
models have combined unbeatable off-road performance with the amenities of
a luxury sedan, the Range Rover Sport represents Land Rover's first entry
into the burgeoning high-performance SUV arena. It is designed to offer
sporty road manners and traditional Land Rover luxury without completely
sacrificing the go-anywhere abilities of other Land Rover models.
Despite its name, the Range Rover Sport is actually a modified and
shortened version of the old Land Rover LR3. As such, the Sport is the
smallest and most nimble SUV in the company's lineup. Overall, it is an
enjoyable and luxurious vehicle to drive as well as look at. Shoppers
seriously interested in getting maximum on-road performance out of an SUV
would probably be better served by a few of this Land Rover's competitors,
however, as they are able to deliver better acceleration and handling.
Handling performance is a definite step up from other Land Rover models.
The Range Rover Sport is the first Land Rover to offer the company's
Dynamic Response suspension system, which is standard on the Supercharged
model and optional on the HSE. Land Rover says that this
computer-controlled system senses cornering forces and automatically
adjusts the antiroll bars to optimize body control and handling. Dynamic
Response works as advertised, giving the Range Rover Sport a more agile
feeling when the roads get twisty, as compared to previous Land Rovers.
Off-road performance is still within the Range Rover Sport's repertoire as
well. A permanent four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case is
standard, and features an electronically controlled, infinitely variable
locking center differential that automatically distributes the available
torque to both drive axles as needed. Additionally, the Range Rover Sport's
Terrain Response System assures that the driver will be up to nearly any
off-road task. It offers five different settings that adjust throttle
response, gearchanges, vehicle ride height and the differentials to
optimize mobility in varying environments, ranging from pavement to sand.
Land Rover is also synonymous with luxury, which doesn't take a backseat in
the Range Rover Sport. Just about any premium feature that you will find on
most luxury sedans, or any of its luxury SUV competitors, is available on
the Range Rover Sport. The same holds true for safety items, with the usual
complement of airbags and electronic crash-prevention aids.
Unlike the Sport's older cabin design, the current RR Sport offers the sort
of ambience its big Range Rover brother has been renowned for. Occupants
are surrounded by supple leathers, rich wood trim and top-notch materials,
while the dash design is not only visually appealing but easy to use as
well. As always, though, the Sport isn't as passenger-friendly as its Land
Rover siblings. Headroom can be at a premium, and the backseat is best
suited for two people.
We are impressed with the Range Rover Sport's dual-natured capabilities on
and off-road. Its 5.0-liter V8s provide the sort of power this hefty truck
requires, and the cabin yields the luxury its well-heeled customers
deserve. However, besides the above concerns, there's also the matter of
its thirsty fuel consumption and Land Rover's poor record for reliability.
Used Land Rover Range Rover Sport Models
The Range Rover Sport debuted for the 2006 model year and is still in its
first generation. However, there are notable differences between the
current model and those made from 2006-'09.
Originally, the HSE was equipped with a 4.4-liter V8 that developed 300 horsepower and 315
pound-feet of torque. The Supercharged model was equipped with a 4.2-liter
V8 that, logically, employed a Supercharger to produce 390 hp and 410 lb-ft of
torque. However, the relatively high curb weights put a damper on
performance and fuel economy for both models. Both engines were backed by a
six-speed automatic transmission with different tuning than the current
Ferrari Testarossa--Video Test Drive with Chris Moran
Ferrari Testarossa--Automotive Media Group Test Drive and Video Walk Around
Review 2011 with Chris Moran.
In 1982 Pininfarina was commissioned to style a 12-cylinder Ferrari with
radiators in the flanks like a racing car, GT-level luggage and storage
space, extreme comfort, and performance to top the road-car line of the
world's premier sports car manufacturer. The Testarossa was to be shaped
partly by the wind tunnel to ensure clean airflow, low noise and high speed
stability. Rear location of the radiators made the car's aerodynamics even
more important as passive direction of air to and from the engine bay had
to be very effective. The result of Pininfarina's labors was easily the
most recognizable and influential car of its time. The Testarossa is
unmistakable at any distance, and impossible to ignore.
Based on the outgoing Berlinetta Boxer that had so admirably preceded it,
the Testarossa was intended to be a faster, better handling, more spacious and
more luxurious car than the BB, a machine that wasn't initially legal for
sale in the US due to federal safety and emissions legislation. However,
the Testarossa was designed from the outset as a world car - legal in every
Testarossa debuted at the Paris Auto Show in September 1984 as a
replacement for the 512 BB. Ferrari's Testarossa was half of perhaps the
greatest double act in supercar history. An era defining rivalry saw it
pitched head-to-head with Lamborghini's awesome Countach and between them,
they were the kings of the road.
Technically the Testarossa was almost identical to the 512 BBi it replaced,
but on the outside the two were quite different. Functionality was the
entire reason why the Testarossa looked so different. The single rear
mounted radiator used in the two 'BB' models was replaced by one on either
side of the engine. The engine alone was already quite substantial in
width, but with a radiator on either side, the complete package needed a
two meter wide rear body to house it properly.
This was not the first Testa Rossa in Ferrari's history. It was first used
as 'TR' almost thirty years earlier for Ferrari's four and twelve cylinder
engined sports-prototype racers. Italian for 'red head', Testarossa
referred to the bright red cylinder heads used on the engines. The most
famous of these was the multiple 24 Hours of LeMans winning 250 TR.
Motor racing had proven in the preceding decade that mounting the engine
behind the driver was an improvement over mounting it in front.
The engine was a modified version of the 512 BB. It had four-valves per
cylinder, Marelli electronic ignition, Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and
capable of producing 390 bhp from the 4943 cc horizontally opposed 12
cylinder. The zero-to-sixty time was about 5.3 seconds and top speed was
above 180 mph.
Ferrari's five-lite Flat-12 was ultimately derived from the 1975 312 T
Grand Prix contender, these cars going on to win both F1 Drivers and
Constructors Championships. The Testarossa's look, performance and
reputation made it perhaps the ultimate eighties status symbol, a
reputation it could well do without today. Using a welded tubular steel
frame, the chassis wasn't too dissimilar from the outgoing BB, just a few
dimensional tweaks being made here and there. The wheelbase was stretched
from 2500 to 2550mm, the track widened and a removable engine subframe used
that could be un-bolted from the main chassis in order to allow easier
access to the engine. Displacement of the 180° Flat-12 motor was 4942cc,
this thanks to a bore and stroke of 82 x 78mm respectively. Output was
390bhp at 5300rpm, compression being set at 9.2:1. An important revision
came in the form of Ferrari's four-valve cylinder heads (known as
Quattrovalvole), all the various Berlinetta Boxer's having only ever
featured two-valve heads.
This Testarossa was built for the US market and made its way into those
showrooms during 1985. The vehicle was designed to comply with the US
emissions, regulations, and safety restrictions.
MotorTrend Television TOP SPEED test 1998
Motor Trend Television TOP SPEED test for 8 of the top sports cars during
Ferrari F355 F1, Corvette C5, Panoz Roadster, Aston Martin DB7, Lotus
Esprit V8 Twin-turbo, BMW M Roadster,
Porsche 911, and Viper GTS.
Montage of supercars! AMAZING - Shelby Series 1, Mercedes SLS AMG, Panoz Esperante
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Find out what the black car at the beginning is here!
Chris Ashworth records Part 3 of the Woodward Dream Cruise. You will see a
Shelby Series 1, Lamborghini Murcielago, Lotus Europa, Ferrari 612
Scaglietti, Dodge Viper, Corvette C6R, Camaro ZL1 prototype, '71 'Cuda,
Panoz Esperante, Mercedes SLS AMG, among many others!