Thread: Panther Solo 2
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:04 PM
Slowboy Slowboy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 6
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.


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