I think it is safe to say until its appearance on Top Gear no one knew who or what Pagani Automobiles was. When the first Zonda C12 debuted on our screens in the early 2000’s, Horacio and his carbon cars, were at the time, just a start up kit car company but to those not in the know at the time Horacio was a pre-eminent designer and was responsible for the design of the Countach. However, after a disagreement about the future of car design and the use of an autoclave to make carbon composite parts, Horacio left Lamborghini to pursue his own path.
Now more than 20 years on, the name Pagani conjures images of some of the most exclusive, powerful and intense hyper cars the world has ever seen!
I am very much in the automotive world but have I ever been in a Pagani, no!
The simple truth for this is that they belong to a VERY exclusive clientele and are very much on the “unicorn” level of being spotted. Whilst watching 5th Gear (a now debunked TV show to compete with the now debunked Top Gear) an owner going by the name “Peter Saywell” was talking about his car collection and his super exclusive Pagani Zonda.
Fast forward a year to the Wilton House Super Car Show and the arrival of Mr Saywell in his custom Zonda PS (Peter Saywell Edition). Whilst grabbing a greasy burger I noticed a woman stood in front of us with the logo “Pagani” on her top. With max confidence I asked if she was Peter’s wife to which she said yes and we got chatting. Shortly after Peter joined her in the queue and invited me and my friend Chris to his Goodwood track day and an opportunity to go past the barrier and look at his Zonda up close. A few photos later and the track day put in our diaries, the next time I saw the Zonda was at Goodwood on the most bitter October day. This would be the last time I saw a Pagani until 2018.
In the late summer of 2018 Michelle and I had seen a cheap trip to Nice. Booked in for a week and looking for things to do, I had noticed that Maranello/Bologna wasn’t that far of a drive (around 4 hours). With credit card in hand we booked on for the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani factory tours. Now, if you have never been to where these factories are located (bar Ferrari) they are basically on industrial estates set in the Italian countryside. Driving into what felt like the middle of nowhere, the oval sign appeared above a grass mound “Pagani”. Turning left into the estate was the very simple building clad in silver sheets with a glass front. On the inside though is a beautifully crafted building of steel, brick and glass. New York loft meets Italian villa? Located at the front is the shop and their design rooms. Here is where I saw Horacio himself.
Before venturing onto the tour you were required to remove all recording devices to protect the owners and their secrets. Inside the factory was a beautiful layout and pure symphony in automation with everything having a place and place for everything. In here we were able to see the full working process from start to finish. Once the tour was finished we were able to see the museum and a select few of Pagani’s cars.
Forward to 2023. Heading back to Italy for Mille Miglia we decided whether or not we should re-do all of the museums. With limited time we had to pass on Lamborghini and Pagani. On route to the Enzo Museo we spotted a Huayra BC in central Modena. Random, but it is car week here in Italy. Nothing more thought of it. A few days later we went to Imola and located on the gates was a sign, “Pagani Track Day 18th June” Michelle, what day is it! It’s the 17th…. Dang. Michelle quickly Googled the event and couldn’t find anything on it but did discover that there was a Pagani event happening in the Piazza Roma in Modena from the 16th-18th from 8am – 8pm. Well we were heading back that way so lets stop there. Parked up in Modena, it is not like Milan, it is a working city and closes early.
Walking from the car to the Piazza, local businesses began to shut with the sun setting behind us. The closer we got to the square, the quieter it got until soft music could be heard. Louder and louder the music got until we arrived at a large open space and then there they were, 25 of Pagani’s most unique cars. From the Zonda to the Utopia. Literal moving art! Not to sound cheap, but I am so glad I didn’t pay for that museum!
Every single car was beautiful and unique in finish with the most special being the Chassis 0001 cars which sat centre stage (they had left before I could get my camera out, stock image for reference). Never would I ever see this many Pagani’s, variants or models together again and I was exceptionally lucky to have been there to experience the cars. Now I could try and be wax lyrical about cars that being honest, I don’t know much about but instead I will just share the photos.