Collectors Xchange

Car of the Week: Here’s the Chance to Own a Sports Car You Never Knew Existed

Car of the Week: Here’s the Chance to Own a Sports Car You Never Knew Existed

The Panoz Esperante traces its roots to the Esperante GTS of 2000, a successful competitor in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing events and the first in a family of street-legal sports cars bearing the name. Competition variants followed, and Panoz is probably best known for its racing success with the Esperante GTLM cars, which scored class wins in 2006 at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and, with Team LNT, scored the GT2 class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, beating Porsche and Ferrari.

Panoz, based north of Atlanta, Ga., has pioneered high-tech applications of superplastic forming (SPF), better known as super-formed aluminum, since the company’s beginning. As a constructor of track-inspired machines, Panoz is one of those best-kept secrets, known only to hardcore enthusiasts who keep an eye out for the unusual and rare. The Panoz DNA is inextricably linked to motorsports and the experience gained in that high-pressure arena, so it’s no surprise that its street cars—from the first Panoz Roadster to the radical GTR-1—are built with performance as the prime objective. Despite their purpose-built nature, however, vehicles in the Panoz Esperante series offer creature comforts, luxury amenities and a level of craftsmanship befitting any six-figure model.

The 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT available by online auction through Collectors Xchange. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange.

Debuted at SEMA 2014, the Esperante Spyder GT is essentially a street-going version of the proven Panoz GT2 racecar from the American Le Mans Series, sans roof and finished to high-end standards. Panoz built 25 commemorative Esperante examples for the company’s 25th anniversary, but only three in the Spyder GT configuration. Its proportions and scale project a traditional look in the spirit of a 1960s-era roadster, though nothing about the car is retro, and in fact, the design still looks fresh today and is likely to survive into the future without appearing dated.

The Esperante Spyder GT is essentially a street-going version of the Panoz GT2 racecar. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange.

What’s also definitely not dated are the materials used in its fabrication, aimed at keeping the Esperante Spyder GT down to a fighting weight of 3,350 pounds. The body manufacture employs superplastic forming so that the end result is rigid, lightweight and strong. Components made of carbon fiber abound, including the front splitter, rear diffuser and tonneau cover.

The exterior and interior aesthetic will likely survive into the future without appearing dated. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange.

Notable, and giving the variant an even more aggressive stance than others in the Esperante line, are wider carbon-composite body panels with unique side exhausts. The car’s underpinnings are an all-aluminum chassis with tubular steel subframes and carbon-fiber composite superstructures. The suspension system uses independent upper and lower control arms with adjustable coil-over springs and shocks, and steering is power-assisted rack-and-pinion. Brakes are by Brembo; 14-inch two-piece floating discs with six-piston monobloc calipers in front and 13-inch discs with four-piston calipers at the rear. Added style comes from BBS one-piece wheels, fitted with 275 front tires and 325s in back.

The cockpit is dressed in Alcantara, leather and carbon-fiber trim. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange.

The car’s strength is in both power and handling. Under the hood is a Chevrolet LSA aluminum V-8 engine displacing 6.2 liters. Supercharged and upgraded by Panoz/Élan, it develops 560 hp. And a Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission stirs things up in traditional sports-car style.
Inside, the Alcantara-and-leather interior features attractive carbon-fiber trim, and the soft top stows in the trunk. This Esperante Spyder GT is finished in special-order Alubeam Silver, a Mercedes-Benz paint color that complements the soft curves and aggressive stance of the roadster.

Under the hood is a 560 hp, 6.2-liter Chevrolet LSA supercharged V-8 engine. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange.

While it’s difficult to imagine finding an Esperante Spyder GT on sites like eBay or Bring a Trailer just any day of the week, this 2015 example, priced at $226,243 when new, is on the virtual auction block at Collectors Xchange beginning May 7.

Collectors Xchange Is a New Online-Auction Site Driven by Transparency

Collectors Xchange Is a New Online-Auction Site Driven by Transparency

Whatever one would have imagined happening during the past year, few would have predicted such vibrant activity within the collector-car world. Apart from the cancellation of concours events, rallies and live auctions, it seems as if enthusiasm and commerce within the car community scarcely skipped a beat. In fact, it’s almost as if the more time folks have had on their hands, the more time they’ve spent thinking about coveted automobiles and adding them to their collections.

As has happened before, is happening now and sure to happen in the future, some marques and models experience a surge of popularity—and prices—while others soften in the market as tastes and interests change with the times.

One of the cars on the Collector Xchange auction platform is this unrestored 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 with only 28,000 miles on it. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange, LLC.

As of April 27, Collectors Xchange (CX) is another new player to help automotive enthusiasts take advantage of this ebb and flow by way of the online auction arena. Headquartered in Wallingford, Conn., the virtual platform is centered around a mobile-native app supported by an online site that offers clients a broad range of cars. Included are vehicles whose low mileage makes them particularly rare and desirable to enthusiasts seeking collector-quality examples. Other vehicles on offer are casual weekend cruisers, irrespective of mileage and age.

J.R. Amantea, CEO of Collectors Xchange. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange, LLC.

Active buyers and sellers will appreciate a few aspects of Collectors Xchange that make the venue special. The ease of navigation with a mobile device is key to user engagement—any time and any place. Auctions for individual lots span multiple days, establishing transparency in the exchange of information about specific cars and prices realized, in real time. Such open communication is enhanced by the first-of-its-kind CX Report, a standardized third-party evaluation verifying the condition of each vehicle, supported by comprehensive photo documentation and provenance.

This 1992 Ferrari 348 tb on offer has less than 7,700 miles on it since new. 

Photo by Hugo VanGeem, courtesy of Collectors Xchange, LLC.

Collectors Xchange was founded by J.R. Amantea, Michael Yager and Chandler Briscoe, three lifelong car-lovers from families with collector roots. J.R. Amantea, the CEO, explains the premise of the auction site, saying, “Smart phones are where business happens today, whether it’s checking messages or making a huge purchase, so we knew that we had to lead with mobility. Our CX Report is the key that we believe will drive that transparency and the comfort level required to motivate buyers and sellers to use our platform.” Additionally, a Carfax report accompanies newer models to provide accurate vehicle history. Sellers pay a flat-fee listing with commission-free transactions. And sales exceeding $150,000 include free shipping.

The 1999 BMW Z3M Roadster that’s ready to cross Collector Xchange’s virtual auction block. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange, LLC.

The common denominator among all the vehicles for sale is quality, but the variety spans decades and categories. Featured cars include late-model exotics, luxury cars, American muscle cars, European sports cars, prewar classics, and the hotter-than-hot Japanese domestic market (JDM) sector.

A sample screen from the app. 

Photo: Courtesy of Collectors Xchange, LLC.

Collectors Xchange invites enthusiasts and casual visitors to participate. Experts at the online auction house offer the car community up-to-date industry perspectives, news and developments happening in the US and the international collector market. Meanwhile, buyers and sellers can tap into the virtual auction experience and join the action by downloading the mobile app and registering.

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