Georgia racing mogul and auto entrepreneur Don Panoz is pressing ahead to develop a street version of his innovative DeltaWing race car, even as his company sues Nissan over the car's design.
Panoz's company, DeltaWing Technology Group Inc., will develop a four-passenger road car based on the racer. The Panoz version will be equipped with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine the company says will generate 138 hp. The road car is expected to get 57 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
A statement released by the company said the vehicle will be developed this year.
Panoz is suing Nissan and two Nissan Motor Corp. employees in the Superior Court of Jackson County, Ga., alleging they copied the design of his company's DeltaWing racer to create the Nissan ZEOD RC electric race car.
Nissan later created the BladeGlider concept car from the ZEOD and has said it is considering commercial production of the BladeGlider as a three-seat electric sports car.
But this month the British publication Autocar quoted Nissan global product planning executive Phillipe Klein as saying that while the BladeGlider idea is still on the table "it is not big in our plans now."
Nissan and Panoz had been partners on the DeltaWing racing program, and the DeltaWing bore the Nissan name in large letters.
Panoz's suit alleges that after Nissan ended its DeltaWing partnership, it hired away the key architect from the DeltaWing development program and essentially copied the design to create the ZEOD.
Nissan has declined to comment on the lawsuit.