Panoz LLC, the brainchild of Dan Panoz, and yet another successful business venture of Chateau Elan founder Don Panoz, celebrated its 25th anniversary with the unveiling of a limited edition sports car — the 2014 Panoz Esperante — made exclusively in America at the company’s 20,000-square-foot production facility off Hwy. 124 in Braselton at an event held last week.
Braselton mayor and chief operating officer Bill Orr welcomed guests to take a tour of the showroom and to return to the new museum, which offers the history of the Panoz car production from its beginning in 1989, to the Panoz Roadster, designed in 1996, to today. The new Panoz showroom and museum opened to the public on Monday, April 7. It offers select sports cars on display and other memorabilia accompanied with iPads that provides specs, background information and racing histories of the models in the showroom. Cars featured in the museum include the 2000 LMP winning car, the 2006 GT 2 Le Mans winner, the 1997 LeMans GTR 1 and the 2000 Indy 500 winner Target Chip Ganassi car. The museum is donation-based and those donations are then given to charity.
Last week, a brief dedication ceremony was held prior to the unveiling of the car where Don Panoz gave a quick history of Panoz racing titles held in cars that were “…all made here in North Georgia in Braselton.”
“Panoz started with my son sketching cars on whatever piece of paper he could find,” Don Panoz said, before introducing his son to speak. “Dan always had this concept of designing and building cars. And in 1989, we launched Panoz Motorsports. Here we are 25 years later and the Panoz mark has gone on.”
Dan Panoz then praised his father for “walking the walk” when everybody else was “talking the talk.”
The last Panoz Esperante was made in 2006, said Dan Panoz. “We’ve been doing all kinds of other things, and now we’re back. This whole team here has done a great job.”
Dan Panoz thanked the engineers who built the cars and the employees who collaborated on the museum for “taking all of our history and putting it where you can see it.”
Then Orr introduced a few special guests attending the April 3 celebration, including Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Senator Butch Miller, State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (Hall County), mayor of Suwanee Jimmy Burnette and Braselton town manager Jennifer Dees.
Prior to the unveiling, Panoz’s vice president of sales and marketing John A. Leverett formerly introduced the 2014 Panoz Esperante Spyder — a pristine two-seat red luxury automobile with brown leather interior available on the market starting at $189,000.
Leverett said the car was a product of “a very small group of people with passion for what they do (who) built this car from scratch in seven months” based on Dan (Panoz’s) original construct. “The car is unique in every way. The highest level of performance that you could imagine in a car this size.”
Leverett then introduced the Panoz workers who built the prototype, several of whom are Jackson County residents.
Guests who attended the event were then free to roam around the museum, take tours, eat, drink and socialize. Each attendee was given a gift of a T-shirt and a hardcover copy of the book “Panoz LMP 1 Roadster S Back to the Future” written by Jonathan Ingram and published by Stalker International.
Other Panoz announcements:
•the online Panoz merchandise store is open. Panoz gear is available for purchase at http://panoz.com/content/merchandise.
•the company rents automobiles for various events and donates its rental proceeds to charities, including Eagle Ranch of Georgia (Flowery Branch), Chesnut Mountain Ranch of West Virigina or the Braselton Library.
•Panoz is on social media at: Facebook (facebook.com/panozllc); Twitter (twitter.com/panozllc); Pinterest (pinterest.com/panozllc); and YouTube.com/panozllc).
Panoz is located at 1089 Highway 124, Braselton, GA 30548. The phone number is 678-425-1539.
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