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      Car History: Car History Year 2002
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 14:07:03 UTC by Cars
      Cars The Esperanto is produced by the Panoz Auto Development Company, under the direction of millionaire race-car enthusiast Don Panoz, in Atlanta, Georgia. Don's dream was to create a true sports car in the European tradition, built by Americans, to be driven by Americans, using all-American components. At the heart of the Esperanto, therefore, are Ford Mustang components, sheathed in a sleek, hand-crafted, aluminum body of classic proportions. The Esperanto has none of the brashness and naked aggression of the Dodge Viper, but is, instead, elegant and understated. Don Panoz was adamant that his car should combine track level performance with family sedan practicality. The former was achieved by completing and competing the car prior to its sale to the public. The latter was assured by the use of proprietory Ford parts, including switch-gear and instruments. An Esperanto owner could visit his local Ford dealer and get parts and service - at Ford rates. This set-up was designed to appeal to prospective purchasers of such cars as the Porsche 911, Mercedes Benz SL Series and the Jaguar XK8. Giving a top speed in excess of 150 mph and a 0-60 time of five seconds, the Esperanto offers greater exclusivity, easier maintenance and, in all probability, greater reliability due to the lack of stress on its heavyweight mechanical components, than most of its competitors. The inimitable burble of a big V8 plus excellent rear-drive handling characteristics (the motor is effectively centrally mounted) should also prove appealing to the domestic driver and it is hoped to market the car in Europe in 2003.

    Lincoln have entered the burgeoning luxury All-Terrain Vehicle sector with a splash. The Navigator is available in either rear drive or four-wheel drive configurations making it suitable for customers who require serious off-road/foul weather capability and those looking for spacious, long-distance touring/towing features. It is remarkable that this option has not been offered more widely as few drivers of AVT's regularly - if ever - require full all-wheel drive capability. Many, as we know, restrict their off-road activity to climbing the kerb outside the local elementary school or convenience store. The Navigator's potential, however, is massive. The 32 valve V8 features electronic engine management and has a fail-safe cooling system. Transmission is via a four-speed, electronic auto box, which has a selectable overdrive facility. The "Control Trac" (copyright) 4x4 system offers four drive modes and is also electronically controlled. The 4-channel ABS braking system includes Electronic Brake Distribution and a panic assist feature. Maximum Trailer weight for the rear-drive set-up is 8,500 Ibs. The safety of the occupants is taken care of via anti-intrusion door beams, dual-stage airbags and Lincoln's "Safety Canopy" (copyright) system with side-curtain airbags and roll-over sensors plus the "Advancetrac" (copyright) vehicle stability enhancement system. Interiors are concommitant with Lincoln's image: leather trimmed seats with adjustment memory; CD stereo and back-seat video entertainment systems; adjustable pedals with memory feature; satellite navigation and a host of other features and options. Lincoln have come up with what they obviously intend to be "The Last Word" in the ATV sector - and it will be very interesting to see what all its competitors can come up with, in answer to its comprehensive features. The Mosler is the product of a collaboration between engineer Rod Trenne and designer Warren Mosler. Beginning in 1998, their brief was to produce an all-American, mid-engined supercar that would meet all US regulations. This is a bold approach as Americans have always favored the traditional front-engine/rear-drive layout of cars like the Corvette and, more recently, the Dodge Viper. With the exception of the Corvette power plant - specially balanced and tuned - every element of the car has been designed from scratch, using advanced computer techniques. Trenne's chassis is highly sophisticated but eminently effective, consisting of honey-comb aluminum and glass-fiber components. The body panels are formed from carbon-fiber, the whole providing an extremely low kerb weight - and a massive power-to-weight ratio. The highly aerodynamic bodywork features "butterfly" doors, reminiscent of the Lamborghini Countach/Diablo and the McLaren F1, and is a thing of purposeful beauty. Despite the numerous European styling references is, somehow, instantly recognizable as an American automobile -the LaSalle of the new millennium, maybe. Mosler intends to produce two versions: one "basic" model intended solely for GT competition, designated R for Racing, and an S for Street car that will feature such refinements as power windows, power steering, traction control, anti-lock brakes and air-conditioning. The Mosler is a fantastic automobile with a great pedigree: a brave endeavour that richly deserves to succeed. A similar concept has been developed by Steve Saleen, who has, over the years, produced some of hottest Mustangs ever to scorch the blacktop. His S7 roadcar (see page 493) is built on a spaceframe chassis, reinforced with honeycomb composite material for lightness and strength. The body panels are formed from carbon-fiber. The S7 is powered by a V8, based, predictably, on a Ford design. Despite the use of space-age materials, Saleen has stuck with a tried and trusted, valve-in-head engine design in the All-American, bullet-proof tradition. Air is introduced via a carbon-fiber induction system, leading to magnesium inlet manifolds. The aluminum cylinder heads are tuned on digitally controlled lathes. The valve seats are are formed from Beryllium to assist heat transfer and the valves themselves are stainless steel with titanium seats. The pistons and rods are forged from billet steel. A dry-sump lubrication system ensured improved lubrication whilst assisting in engine ground-clearance. The G-forces generated in an automobile like this can be enormous and this lubrication system prevents oil starvation under hard cornering and braking. The 7 liter S7 engine produces 550 bhp and the car can accelerate to 60 mph from rest in under 4 seconds. Top speed is in excess of 200 mph. Handling is neutral under all conditions due to a near-perfect weight-distribution and balance. Unlike many cars in this category, the Saleen doesn't stint on driver comfort. The car is air-conditioned, trimmed in the finest Connolly leathers, equipped with a CD player, power window lifts and adjustable pedals. Rear vision is by way of a video camera discreetly mounted on the rear of the car. To assist entry and exit, the steering wheel can be instantly released, just like in a Formula 1 car. People like Steve Saleen and Warren Mosler are putting American automobile right at the cutting edge of performance technology. Specification PANOZ ESPERANTE Engine V8-light alloy block Displacement 280 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.55x3.54 ins. Horsepower 320 Body styles 2 door convertible roadster No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 3,263 Ibs Price - Produced -     Specification LINCOLN NAVIGATOR Engine V8 - cast iron block with aluminum head Displacement 330 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.55x4.17 ins. Horsepower 300 Body styles 4 door ATV No. of seats 7 Weight (lbs) 5,760 Ibs-5,994lbs Price - Produced -     Specification MOSLER MT 900S Engine V8 - cast aluminum block Displacement 346 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.90x3.62 ins. Horsepower 425 Body styles GT Coupe No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 2,200 Ibs Price c. $200,000 Produced On Sale 2002  
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