the red convertible at minute one is in the vault at the Petersen Museum
The song was reportedly written about a car.
According to David Lee Roth this was because critics accused him of writing about nothing more than partying, sex, and cars, but Roth realized that he had yet to write a song about cars.
In an interview with Howard Stern, Roth explained the meaning behind the trademark song. Although the song features some suggestive lyrics, it is about a car that Roth saw race in Las Vegas; its name was "Panama Express", hence the title of the song.
Panama was the name of Dave's car.
Dave had the hood and bumper mounted in his hallway, which can be seen in Dave's video for "SHOOBop".
During the bridge of the song where Roth says "I can barely see the road from the heat comin' off of it," Eddie Van Halen can be heard revving his Lamborghini in the background. The car was backed up to the studio and microphones were attached to the exhaust pipe to record the sound for the song.