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  #31  
Old 08-28-2009, 02:05 PM
Slowboy Slowboy is offline
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Hi, most people who see a Solo in the metal (or epoxy / glassfibre in the case of the Solo) often comment on its unusual shape and proportions. My brother probably captures the sentiment best when he says that it looks as if the front (rounded and sleek) and back (square and festooned with ducts) were designed for 2 different cars. The pictures I have included hopefully give some sense of this difference.

Cheers Slowboy
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  #32  
Old 08-28-2009, 04:04 PM
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cargirl1990 cargirl1990 is offline
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Your right Slowboy. He did a good job on the photography of the Solo.
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  #33  
Old 08-28-2009, 07:07 PM
Spastik_Roach Spastik_Roach is offline
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Typical 90's concept car look to the Solo! Certainly not ugly though. Panther used to sell the Kallista in New Zealand in the 1990's. Can't have been much of a success though cause I've never seen one..
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  #34  
Old 09-04-2009, 01:57 PM
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Wonderful shots, it really is similar in styling to Toyota's MR2. I'm only familiar with the J72 and Kallista (a neighbor had one) and find it interesting they took on a project like this. So... several questions: Were they priced to compete with the MR2?
Are they steel or GRP, and tubbed or tube framed? How many are still in use?
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Last edited by csl177; 09-04-2009 at 01:59 PM.
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  #35  
Old 09-04-2009, 05:04 PM
Slowboy Slowboy is offline
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Hi csl177, a lot of people comment on the similarity to the MR2, although the Solo was built to compete with the Lotus Esprit and (rather optimistically) Porsche 911 of the late 80's and early 90's, rather than the cheaper MR2.

The basic price of a Solo in 1990 was almost 40k or nearly 80k in today's money. At the same time the Lotus Esprit Turbo was about 33k. Road tests of this period spoke in glowing terms of the Solo's grip, handling and fine ride all of which many felt eclipsed both the Lotus and the Porsche, but were, at the same time very scathing of the lack of refinement of the rough Ford Cosworth engine which for some ruined the car.

A surprising fact is that the car achieved its amazing roadholding and fine ride without the use of antiroll bars (sway bars) at either end - very unusual.

The body structure broke new ground in the late 80's by incorporating formula racing technology in a road car for the first time. The key breakthrough area was the development of a woven glass fibre / kevlar reinforced epoxy driver / passenger cell which was bonded to a steel floor and front / rear bulkhead structure. The rear double wishbone suspension and engine were carried on / in a steel spacefame structure which was attached to the rear bulkhead. The front strut suspension was attached to a more conventional steel front bay which incorporated advanced steel box section crush zones.

All external panels are high impact resistant woven glass fibre / epoxy, except the rear wing and rear bumper and on most cars you can see the woven glass pattern through the paint in some light conditions.

I believe that 12 customer cars were built during 1990, with a total of about 14 being eventually sold to customers (the extra 2 being an ex-demonstrator and a road test car). There were also a few development cars that have ended up in a number of museums around the world. Since 1990 at least 2 of the cars sold to customers have been written off, leaving no more than 12 still on the road, with the majority of the surviving cars in the UK.

Cheers

Slowboy
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  #36  
Old 09-05-2009, 12:29 AM
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csl177 csl177 is offline
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Many thanks Slowboy, I've since gone searching for more on the Solo.
Considering the climate of the time, it's amazing they tried to market the car at all, let alone at the price point. Nonetheless, a substantial car compared to the neo-classics Panther originally marketed. Too bad they couldn't bring it in for half the actual cost, it probably would have done well.
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  #37  
Old 09-05-2009, 03:49 AM
gabe74gt gabe74gt is offline
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Thanks for nice info slowboy.
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  #38  
Old 09-05-2009, 04:34 AM
Slowboy Slowboy is offline
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csl177, your comment on pricing is absolutely right, based on the combination of market conditions, competition, marque reputation and the inconsistent quality of the customer cars meant that it was too highly priced for the time. Interestingly, when the car debuted at the Frankfurt motorshow in 1987 the anticipated selling price was 28k, but problems in productionising the car resulted in the increased in price.

Unfortunately, the Solo 2 was probably always destined to fail, as I have read that the complexity of the glass / kevlar / aluminium honeycomb / epoxy and steel passenger cell resulted in the production costs of this item alone being in the region of 75k! or 35k more than the final selling price of the car. Sadly and not surprisingly the Solo 2 was the last model Panther ever made.
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  #39  
Old 09-05-2009, 04:42 AM
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just in terms of styling (and who imitated who), the "lookalike" MR2 Mk2 appeared in 1989, so when was the styling for Solo 2 completed? Does it differ much from the 1987 Solo 1, never seen any picture of that.
And welcome, Slowboy. (I hope this name refers to your "other" car)
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  #40  
Old 09-05-2009, 05:30 AM
Slowboy Slowboy is offline
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henk4, in terms of timing, the design of the Solo 2 was finalised, bar a few minor tweeks by the time of the 1987 Frankfurt motor show so predates the MR2 Mk2 by 18 months or so.

The design of the Solo 1 broke cover in the UK press in late 1984 and was a smaller simpler mid engined sports car with none of the wings, scoops and vents of the later car. Pictures of this original car can be found near the bottom of the attached link.

Another Solo joins the Club...
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  #41  
Old 09-05-2009, 05:41 AM
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henk4 henk4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowboy View Post
henk4, in terms of timing, the design of the Solo 2 was finalised, bar a few minor tweeks by the time of the 1987 Frankfurt motor show so predates the MR2 Mk2 by 18 months or so.

The design of the Solo 1 broke cover in the UK press in late 1984 and was a smaller simpler mid engined sports car with none of the wings, scoops and vents of the later car. Pictures of this original car can be found near the bottom of the attached link.

Another Solo joins the Club...
thanks for this, and to be honest in my eyes the Solo 1 does not look particularly great, based on those shots. Obviously then Toyota may have taken some clues from the design, but the MR2 is much more compact due to the absence of a rear bench and the transverse position of the engine.
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  #42  
Old 12-18-2009, 07:19 AM
JollyJeweller JollyJeweller is offline
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My Solo 2 , No. 27 , sadly now on eBay UK.
Have to downsize due to marital disharmony, moving to smaller house with no garage , and need to free up some cash :-(

See post #24 and #27 for some images.

Last edited by JollyJeweller; 12-18-2009 at 07:21 AM.
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  #43  
Old 12-20-2009, 02:25 PM
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henk4 henk4 is offline
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Originally Posted by JollyJeweller View Post
My Solo 2 , No. 27 , sadly now on eBay UK.
Have to downsize due to marital disharmony, moving to smaller house with no garage , and need to free up some cash :-(

See post #24 and #27 for some images.
Sorry to hear that, hope the car will find a good home.
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  #44  
Old 07-04-2010, 05:25 AM
BeaverEcho BeaverEcho is offline
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Hi all,

I'm looking for info on the 4WD drivetrain layout for the Solo 2, I see there are a couple of you guys on here who are owners and might be able to shed some light for me, being a rare car info is a bit thin on the ground to say the least!

Which gearbox did it use? was it the MT75 4x4 from the cosworth, or the type 9 from the sierra XR4x4? Did it keep the transfer chain or was it swapped to a gear drive for the rear prop?

Did it use the standard ford differentials turned upside down to drive the car in the right direction, or were they diffs from something else?

And does anyone know what the front to rear torque split for the 4WD Solo was? I'm assuming it was 50/50 unless the gearbox was modded to completely reverse the front/rear 40/60 torque split when fitted in the 4x4 Sierra?

If anybody has any underside photo's of the Solo's transmission etc they'd be greatly appreciated!!!!

I'm working on a mid engine 4x4 project, design stage at the moment but I'd like to be able to use ford parts but I need to sort out some critical factors before I decide to go ahead and take the plunge!!!

Thanks in advance

Pete
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  #45  
Old 07-13-2010, 02:49 PM
Slowboy Slowboy is offline
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Hi Pete,

The Solo transmission is a mishmash of predominantly Ford bits that were apparently not meant to be used together.

Firstly, the engine and gearbox (T5) are based on the original 3 door, rear wheel drive cossie turned through 173 degrees (so now facing the wrong way!) and angled down, back to front by 3.5 degrees. This set up was used because the Solo 4wd system was designed before the 4x4 Cossie kit was available.

The central diff is a viscous Ferguson type which was Panther designed and takes the offset (both horizontally and vertically) drive from the engine and distributes it 34% front - by propshaft and 66% rear - via chain drive then propshaft to the offset (to near side of the car) rear differential.

The front diff is of open type while the rear is of limited slip type via viscous coupling. Both diffs were from the Sierra 4x4, as were the front brakes, while the rears were from the 3 door cossie. To add to the confusion, the front struts were based on a Mk3 Fwd Escort!

To get an idea of the layout, the best picture I can find is actually earlier in this post and is the 3rd picture listed by panthersolo on page 1. If you want a different view let me know and I will try and take a few snaps for you.

Although, to be honest Pete, based on the ridiculous complexity of the Solo 4x4 system (particularly of the central diff), I'd not hold it up as a paragon for a new design - probably best to use it as a good guide on how not to do it! That said, it works and works fantastically well, generating balance and grip significantly beyond my modified Evo 6 - it's mad but totally brilliant.

Hope this helps, cheers Jamie.

Last edited by Slowboy; 07-14-2010 at 04:24 AM.
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