On my journey through the vast industrial zones on the outskirts of Modena, I pass many of the great names associated with luxury motoring including Ferrari and Lamborghini, the great industry giants with insignias recognised the world over.  Pagani however is noticeably different, a ‘one’ generation success story forged by a uniquely talented man’s lifelong vision to build the worlds’ very finest sports car.

“Everything we design and make at Pagani should enhance the lives of our clients” although simply stated that is the aim and successful business philosophy that flows throughout the legacy established by Horacio Pagani, Chief Designer of Pagani Automobili.


The Zonda is exactly how Horacio planned it, not only does it look the same as the clay models crafted decades ago, but the car also performs perfectly as he too envisaged when painstakingly piecing together his prototype examples.  Located in a side street between Bologna and Modena the Pagani factory and showroom is home to some of the world’s most highly skilled designers and motor technicians. The humble exterior hides within some of the most luxurious not to mention fast cars ever created. Poised perfectly within the lobby are three Zondas all exquisite and looking as if they could spring into action at any moment.

The cars themselves are each works of art, crafted by hand and finished to each client’s detailed specification.  The carbon fibre bodies have been masterfully created by Horacio Pagani in a scientifically ground-breaking material.  The very first Zonda debuted in 1999 and since then only 10 to 20 Zondas are produced each year.

Horacio is self-assured and clearly confident, but he also has a gentle manner, making you feel welcome and at ease in his presence. He has led a truly remarkable and inspiring life and his passion for cars, speed and design, emerged very early when, at the age of 12, he amazed everyone with models of supercars carved from wood or modelled in clay.  With the ultimate dream firmly in mind he diligently worked night and day fuelling his curiosity by learning from those who knew the industry well. At the age of 20 he designed an F3 that competed in Argentina under the colours of the official Renault team.  Always keen to further his knowledge he worked hard and became involved in industrial design projects where he was fortunate to meet Juan Manuel Fangio, his childhood hero.  Fangio introduced Pagani to Modena, the home of legends like Ferrari and Lamborghini where he was then taken onboard.  It was engineer Alfieri at Lamborghini who provided the young Horacio with the space to express his imagination.  Starting as a mechanic in the bodywork department he moved swiftly to manager of the new composite material department, taking part in many noteworthy projects such as the design of the Countach Anniversary and Evoluzione (the first car in the world with 100 percent composite materials/carbon fibre chassis).

With a wealth of hands on experience to his name, he established Pagani Composite Research in 1988 which carried out various high-profile projects.  At the height of this collaboration Pagani worked with the Lamborghini team that designed the Diablo, the Lamborghini P140, the L30 and the Diablo Anniversary. Whilst his insatiable curiosity was being fuelled in the daytime by exciting projects with Lamborghini, Pagani’s desire to build his own supercar started to turn into reality when the draft drawings of the “C8 Project” were shown for the first time to Fangio. The car was to be named Fangio F1 as a heartfelt tribute to the great champion.

Swiftly, he began to construct a prototype and the first model was tested in the Dallara wind tunnel in 1993. The overwhelmingly positive results marked the beginning of a long period of design and development. It was at this point Fangio introduced Pagani to Mercedes, the company to which he was linked by his series of historic Formula 1 victories. Mercedes could foresee that Horacio’s project was worthwhile and, in 1994, officially agreed to supply its powerful V12 engine.  After four more years of detailed work, Pagani obtained approval of the coupé open version of the C8 Project and the first Zonda C12 was presented in the 1999 Geneva Motor Show. Following the death of Juan Manuel Fangio the car was renamed the Zonda, the name of the remarkable wind that blows through the Andes. 

The philosophy we follow has nothing new, it has been professed by Leonardo Da Vinci and we are simple pupils to his teaching.

“I have a great curiosity for many things and in particular, for people. I draw inspiration from many different people in my life both personally and professionally, for example Leonardo Da Vinci is a constant inspiration.  It is important to learn from people all around you in many areas of your life.  Everybody has something to teach you.  The philosophy we follow has nothing new, it has been professed by Leonardo Da Vinci and we are simple pupils to his teaching. Leonardo talked about science and art living together and he worked in both fields. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the technical tools needed to prove his extraordinary vision. Today it is easier for us because we have high-end technologies, calculation programs and materials Leonardo didn’t have.Of course, he took advantage from the incredible art he could breathe in during his time, we have to fight the common mediocrity”.

We make cars that have a speed of 350km per hour so there is a great responsibility to the safety of our designs, our clients expect the ultimate in performance and perfection.

It is clear Horacio is fundamentally a designer, he is fascinated by all types of design such as architecture, horology and furniture design. Deeper than that, his thirst for knowledge leads him to a greater level of understanding of how things work.  He is also a dedicated manager and he is involved in all elements of the running of his business, “I wake early between 4am and 5am and in the first part of the day I have much energy and ideas.  I am a creative person and I need quiet, where I can concentrate and spend time processing my thoughts. We make cars that have a speed of 350km per hour so there is a great responsibility to the safety of our designs, our clients expect the ultimate in performance and perfection.”

Interestingly, Pagani has never had to pay to promote his designs and the Zonda has simply built a reputation of being the very finest car on the strength of its performance and quality alone.  It is internationally renowned and coveted by the worlds most respected motoring aficionados. “I am a designer; I have a mission where quality is key.  It is intrinsic to make something that will better the quality of life of our customers.  It is also fundamental to express the customers’ personality in our cars, combining technical components and artistic emotion each client receives a car unique to them that surpasses their expectations.”

My own expectations were indeed high and the Zonda did not disappoint, far from it, everything about the car gave a sensation of pure joy.  The interior is exquisite, I felt as if I were nestled within the depths of a Louis Vuitton bag, its beautifully stitched leather enveloping me.  Gleaming wood, metal and carbon fibre all sit harmoniously together, and the dashboard is a juxtaposition of 50’s glamour and NASA inspired technology.

Outwardly the Pagani Zonda is like no other, a new breed of supercar, one that many other car makers can only aspire to, it stands alone in terms of both looks and capabilities. 

One of the most impressive and exclusive designs to date is the Huayra Roadster “The limited production run of only 100 Pagani Huayra Roadster is already sold out, and our skilled artisans are creating each individual example in our brand-new atelier in San Cesario sul Panaro, combining, as always, art and science. We anticipate 2018 to be the busiest and the most rewarding year with the delivery of 40 new vehicles to their respective owners. Our customers started the amazing journey with the tailoring of their new Huayra Roadster to their precise taste and they will enjoy every moment of the building process until the delivery. The journey then gets even more exciting along their road. In 2018 we brought a US spec Roadster to the Geneva Auto show as a demonstration of our commitment in developing a global product, complying with the most stringent standards”, says Pagani.

Over the last decade Zonda has taken its global presence to an impressive level. Recently, Pagani opened partnerships in Germany, South Africa, the Philippines and in Southern California. Also, Pagani unveiled the Zonda HP Barchetta at Pebble Beach, Concours d’Elegance, a car that represents Horacio Pagani’s personal vision of the perfect Zonda. With this project, Pagani confirmed once again its expertise in manufacturing bespoke creations, combining the craftsmanship of an artisan, keen to meet any customer’s desire, with the qualities of an automotive manufacturer, able to guarantee the conformity to the highest technical standards.

Whilst always considered a visionary brand, Pagani also pays the utmost respect to its history and heritage which is evident in its innovative Rinascimento ‘restoration’ program. This arm of the business focuses on bringing older Pagani vehicles back to their original glory with a conservative restoration, maintaining and refurbishing as many of the original components as possible. Not only will this guarantee the correct functionality of the vehicle for years to come, but this certified program guarantees also that the residual value of Pagani vehicles is preserved.

Pagani explains “Taking care of our customers is priority. We do not have plans to expand our new-car production capacity beyond 40 units. Our focus is to strive to offer more services to the loyal members of our Pagani family of customers by giving them all of our attention.”