View Full Version : Panache

11-09-2010, 06:14 PM
OK, most people think the Panache is just a crap copy of a Countach, and in the guise of the Panache LP400, it was just that - although when Paul Lawrenson created it in the early '80s, replica Lambos moulded from actual cars (like the Venom and Primo, as well as Lawrenson's own Prova) were still some years off.

But the original Panache, with its flip-forward canopy access, was actually modelled on a much rarer car - the Japanese Dome P1. I was trawling around the Interweb and found this copy of Kit Car on ebay...


...And here is the Dome P1 for comparison...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... mezero.jpg (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Domezero.jpg)

Using a mid-mounted Nissan straight-6, opening windowlettes below the swage line (like the Boomerang concept), coleopter doors and a plush cockpit fitted out with the latest gadgets offered by the Japanese electronics industry, I loved the look of this car ever since seeing pictures of a lime green example in my 1979 Dream Cars book.

Unfortunately the Dome could not be homologated for production in Japan, and plans for export with a revised P2 car came to nothing, although competition Dome cars appeared (unsuccessfully) at Le Mans until the mid-80s.

Its lack of production success told against it when presented to a fickle kit car buying public in 1982. Perhaps if it had been better known, it would not have suffered the ignominy of being modified, piece by painful piece, into a Lambo pastiche, which lacked any of the style that its name implied. Oh well...


11-09-2010, 08:25 PM
Really dig these, still have that issue, I remember my dad bringing it back from the paper shop one Saturday morning and fighting with him for first read! The cover car whilst stunning could have done with being properly finished before the photo feature - after the initial lusting you notice the droopy door mirrors, lack of interior and beach buggy chrme wheels where the ultra low profile alloys should be...

Only seen one in the last few years, for sale on Ebay which was an overpriced dog with a broken windscreen.

11-09-2010, 09:35 PM
The dome-Zero originally had some reasonably sized tires on it though so buggy tires would be close to the original. Though the le-mans versions probably had low profiles on.


12-09-2010, 08:33 AM
Never heard about the Dome, shame it didn't take off, it certainly has potential. And would garner plenty of looks on the freeways.


12-09-2010, 04:41 PM
The Panache screen looks so much like the Dome item they could be one and the same. I wonder who manufactured it? There's even a suggestion of some curvature in the picture.

I love the way the original Dome conceals its front air vents by using a black painted stobe band across the front. This seems to have been a feature of all of the examples I have seen pictures of - this silver P1, and both a red and a green painted P2.

Unfortunately, the poor old Panache didn't really know what it was, even at the beginning, as it seems even the first cars had Countach style air boxes and side NACA ducts, neither of which were necessary on the Dome.

Incidentally, "Dome" in Japanese means "a child's dream", it wasn't a reference to the cars styling theme :D


13-09-2010, 08:01 AM
Seems the magazines were pretty hot on running features on unfinished cars (I had Filby chasing me even though I had an exclusive with Kit Car.....) I guess they had to balance lack of completion with the short time that many production companies lasted!

13-09-2010, 05:49 PM
Good point alex, it must have been a balancing act, you dont really want to be talking about some great new kitcar and find the company have gone belly up by the time the mag hits the streets! The article I have about the Avante also featured an unfinished car! :)

Lauren, I love the Panache, I love the fact that it is not a replica. However, I don't quite believe that the Dome was its inspiration, after all, both the Panache and the Countess were around at the same time looking fairly similar. And although the front end might look a bit like the Dome, the rear end was distinctly Countachesque!
I offered the guy who was selling the Panache on ebay what I thought was a reasonable price (bearing in mind it was not road worthy, and probably would have needed SVA - at least thats what i told him ) he got quite offended, reckoning that its rarity made it worth a hell of a lot more than he was asking!!

13-09-2010, 08:24 PM
I think it was worse than that - with so few new models to talk about/promote, the kit car magazines were/are desperate for anything they can get. Nothing has changed to this day - although I gave up buying kit car rags years ago, the complimentary one I got last year was textbook stuff, with all the usual cliches...

"The ride was poor over bumpy surfaces... quite a lot of steering kickback... poor gearchange quality... some panel gaps... but this was just the prototype, and these minor problems will be sorted once production starts"

Yea, right. I've heard that one before...

Jem - I agree with you that the back half of the car apes the Countach (badly), and that the equally poor Countess was also around at this time. But look at the front of the car - the windscreen shape is patterned after the Dome, which is a completely different shape to the Countach, and the placement of the slots across the nose could not have been anything to do with the Lambo, which had its radiators mounted amidships. To me its a shame that the designer even attempted to copy the Countach; I think that using the Dome styling cues, in much the same way as Weigart did with the Carabo for the Vector, (or Custoka did with the Marzal) would have been the way to go...

That windscreen still intrigues me - there's an element of Eberhard Shultz' B+B CW311/Isdera Imperator about it too. Another of my favourite exotic cars, but this time not a kit, so alas not for this forum...


13-09-2010, 08:53 PM
I don't think the Dome styling cues went that deep, by the time you get to the "doors" of the canopy, you're back into Countach


13-09-2010, 09:02 PM
I agree the front couldn't be anything but a Dome, it's just a shame how soon front-to-back it starts to look like a countach! By the middle there's NACA ducts and window splits. As for the naff wheels, in my juvenile 14 year old mind I wanted some seriously 80s Centra wheels on mine....and I still have the sales leaflet.


Is the Dome copying the bb311 then? I see more of that in the Dome than the Countach.





16-09-2010, 12:01 PM
Wow - thanks for those pictures Mark, you can really see how schizophrenic the car is. At least Lawrenson chose to copy the Countach LP500 prototype lights, which I have always preferred to the production versions. I can see that the windscreen is completely flat too, so it obviously isn't the same as the Dome, or the CW311, each of which did have at least a little bit of curvature.

The Dome was developed over several years beginning in 1975, while the CW311 project was developed in 1978, so in theory the Dome didn't copy any of the German car's lines (which tends to be evident when performing a straight comparison between the two), but the windscreen treatment in each case is remarkably similar - hexagonal rather than trapizoidal, resulting in a distinctive front wing/A-pillar design.

There's some in-car Youtube footage of a circuit lap in an Isdera Imperator, the near-unique windscreen shape results in acres of unusable space in front of the dashboard... :D