• Video: Jay Leno Reviews the Panoz Esperante Spyder GT

Today’s American market is packed with sports cars, and although only a few of them are American products, they’re among the best you can buy. The Chevrolet Corvette and the Dodge Viper are the most iconic sports cars America has to offer, while the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro are sportier than ever, thanks to the extensive updates under the skin. But there’s at least one vehicle that’s often overlooked: the Panoz Esperante. Sure, it might not benefit from the same heritage as the aforementioned, Detroit-built cars, but the Esperante is a race-bred sports car that’s been around for 15 years. For 2015, Panoz is readying a brand-new iteration, the best to ever come from the company’s Georgia-based factory.

We already covered the 2015 Esperante Spyder GT in our reviews section, but we have yet to see footage of the actual car. There’s a reason for that; the fast and luxurious convertible is still a prototype as of November 2014, with production cars to start rolling off the assembly line toward the end of 2014. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait until then, and we owe it all to Jay Leno, who had both Don Panoz and the brand-new Esperante Spyder GT in his famous garage.

Besides talking about and driving the Esperante GT Spyder prototype, Leno also takes a few minutes to chat to Don Panoz, an entrepreneur he’s obviously very fond of. Leno even goes as far as to compare him to Carroll Shelby and Lee Iacocca. And for good reason, as Don is financially responsible for every vehicle Panoz has built since 1990, for creating a competitive Le Mans racer and for founding the American Le Mans Series. These are impressive achievements for a 24-year career.

Getting back to the Esperante Spyder GT, the revised version brings many improvements to the previous iteration, including a slightly reshaped body and a brand-new, luxurious interior with state-of-the-art technology. Leno’s ride is powered by a 5.0-liter, V-8 engine rated at 430 horsepower, but the Esperante will also come with an available 560-pony, supercharged, 5.4-liter V-8. Check out the video above for the full details.


Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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