You may have heard the name, ‘Pagani’ and thought, “What’s the big deal? Why are Pagani cars so expensive?” Mostly, it’s the people who have never actually seen a Pagani who wonder why they cost so much.
Once you see a Pagani, it all begins to make sense.
But then you start to learn about the car, the brand, the founder, and the countless details. It sucks you in deeper. Now you begin to realize this is a supercar brand that’s unlike any other.
The greatest supercar brand in the world. Pagani.
The Greatest Hypercar
Pagani isn’t even a supercar, it’s a hypercar. The term was coined around the same time the Zonda was unveiled in the late 1990s. World-class, exclusive, above and beyond anything you could dream up on your own.
The term, “Hypercar” was invented to describe a Pagani.
Do I have your attention yet?
What Makes Pagani the Greatest Automotive Brand in the World
When you see a Pagani for the first time, your mind needs time to process the shapes and contours. Nobody glances at a Pagani and quickly looks away. You can’t.
In fact, the longer you look at a Pagani, the more you see. And when you think you have it figured out, take one step to either side and you’ll have an entirely new set of contours and lines to comprehend.
How do you design a car that draws you in like a trance? This is a company that’s asks itself every day, “How do you capture the heart and thrill the eyes.”
It’s Not Art on Wheels – It’s More Than That
The most common description of a Pagani is, “art on wheels.” But that’s not fair and not accurate. It doesn’t even begin to describe a Pagani. It’s not just, “art” sitting on wheels.
Art hangs on a wall. Art is placed on a pedestal. A Pagani doesn’t remain motionless. It’s not just simply on wheels. “Art on wheels” might be the most overused phrase in the collector car market. The phrase doesn’t actually explain anything about a Pagani.
A Pagani is more of a living thing with a pulse and a heartbeat. Each car has a unique style, an attitude, a personality.
Something that will whistle and blow through a canyon like the wind. But will also obey the slightest inputs of the driver like a Thoroughbred racehorse.
There’s no doubt that founder Horacio Pagani is heavily inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. The renaissance man proclaimed that, “Art and science are disciplines that must walk together hand in hand.”
So if a Pagani is not art but something much more, it’s the engineering that brings it alive.
You can carve a beautiful statue out of a block of granite but there are very little technical problems to solve. A Pagani presents almost endless opportunity to solve or improve on the most difficult engineering questions in the world.
Speed. Form. Function. Efficiency. Friction. Weight. Gravity. The list goes on, but Pagani presents a car that has contemplated all the options, and pursued the solutions that give the best results. Input and output.
Trying to remain aerodynamically neutral to minimize lift, and returning a power-to-weight ratio better than a Bugatti Veyron.
A never ending quest for improvement at every turn.
For example, a Pagani fuel tank is positioned behind the driver, yet surrounded with ballistic composite protection. A difficult problem is presented and engineered to the highest capacity. That’s Pagani.
Even though Pagani pays tribute to the race cars of the 1960s that rumbled down the Mulsanne Straight at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, they are constantly innovating.
There’s no better example of Pagani’s quest to lead the automotive industry with completely new methods to construct vehicles than it’s carbon fiber innovations.
In fact, Pagani was the very first carmaker to use exposed carbon fiber on the exterior paneling, with only a transparent lacquer finish coating.
They have patented their own special blend of carbon fiber called, “Carbo Tainium,” and use a Carbo-Triax chassis.
Carbon Fiber, Since 1983
It was Horacio Pagani who began the intense interest in carbon fiber material for car making all the way back in 1983 when he was employed at Lamborghini.
Horacio famously tried to convince his employer, Lamborghini, to use carbon fiber for their cars, but the material was much too costly. The technology was only for the most expensive Formula 1 cars.
But the material intrigued Horacio. The limitless options for shaping the beautiful lines he dreamt for his cars, and the outrageous technical specifications that were possible with such a space-aged material.
Ahead of the Competition
While working at Lamborghini, Horacio realized his employer was not interested in the material that he knew would someday shape the supercar world.
After much pleading to give carbon fiber a chance, leadership at Lamborghini responded to Horacio, “Why would we use carbon fiber? Ferrari doesn’t use it, so we don’t need it either.”
Horacio struck out on his own, purchasing an expensive autoclave for curing carbon fiber parts. In 1991, he founded a design company, Modena Design, and quickly found several automakers requesting carbon fiber parts for their cars. As he became the expert in carbon fiber parts for other car makers, design for the very first Pagani Zonda began taking form.
In 1998, Pagani Automobil was founded, and the Zonda was unveiled less than two years later.
Even if you had enough money to buy a Pagani, I can’t guarantee that you could actually find one to buy anytime soon. These cars come up for sale just every-so-often.
Not long ago, the very first Pagani Huayra was presented on the popular online auction platform, ‘Bring A Trailer.’ The interest was off the charts. Thousands of comments filled the screen with shock and awe at the Huayra offering. Car enthusiasts drooling over who the lucky buyer would be. There’s no more exclusive and coveted car in the world right now than a Pagani, because *nearly everyone knows they will never own one.
Wait List for Years
Now let’s just say you do have several million dollars to spend on a Pagani, and you’d like a new model built exactly to your specifications. The wait list could be four years long.
Every Pagani is built by hand at the San Cesario sul Panaro headquarters in Italy. Total production time is around six months per car. And the company only produces about 40 cars each year.
With rising demand and steady, slow, hand made production, there’s no doubt Pagani will remain one of the most exclusive brands in the world.
What sets Pagani apart from any other super fast, ultra expensive hyper car is the passion behind the brand. Horacio has brilliantly intertwined the legacy of 1960s racing legends with modern engineering and performance.
Hand made cars that combine the past and future, art and science, elegant stillness and roaring wind.
The passion for design and engineering pours out of every car produced. The passion to create art and science masterpieces screams out of every quad-Pagani exhaust pipe.
Best said by Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years ago, “Art and science can walk together, hand in hand.”
Pagani Raduno Meetups
If you think Horacio Pagani is isolated in a lab, and stays away from car fans and crowds, you would be highly mistaken. The founder himself can be found at many of the Pagani owners meetups around the world, referred to as a, “Raduno.”
Many Pagani Radunos feature Horacio leading the pack, and mingling among his customers and fans at each pitstop. His two son’s, Alexander and Christopher, can also be seen right along with their dad. If that’s not passion for their creations, I’m not sure what is.
When Horacio set out to design the first Zonda model, he needed a powerplant that would propel his lightweight creation down the road fast enough for everyone in Italy’s Motor Valley to take notice.
But there was one small problem. Designing and building his own engine would be too expensive and the Zonda project would never get off the ground.
But every problem is just an opportunity in disguise, and Horacio had an ace up his sleeve.
His longtime friend and F1 racing champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, was the president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina. Fangio introduced Horacio to Dieter Zetsche, the chief engineer of research and development at Mercedes AMG, and the rest is history.
The tight-knit partnership between Pagani and Mercedes AMG complement both brands flawlessly. Ultra high-performance engines made by the historic AMG brand, with the ultra exclusive hyper car builder turning heads around the world.
Pagani Partnerships Don’t End With AMG
There’s a list of amazing partnerships Pagani has formed over the years proving they have an eye for quality and a knack for selecting best-in-class manufactures.
- Pirelli – Pagani cars have featured Pirelli tires since 2008.
- Arrow Exhaust – Titanium exhaust manufacturer, extensive work on the Huayra model.
- AMG – The iconic engine partnership founded by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in 1967.
- SKF – Wheel bearings and steel engineering.
- Xtrac – Transmission manufacturer who developed the gearbox for the Utopia model.
- Brembo – Disc brake technology.
- Bosch – Partnered to develop traction control systems for the Pagani Huayra.
- Art Advanced Solution – Automotive technology company based in Italy, just south of Florence. ART was involved in the infotainment systems for the Pagani Utopia development.
- ASPA – Precise machining and engineering based in Modena, Italy.
- AP Racing – Supplier of custom-designed pedal boxes for the Huayra R.
Inspiration doesn’t just show up when you call for it. To inspire someone is a gift from above.
You can’t define inspiration, or create a formula to mass-produce it. It just appears.
That’s what happens with Pagani.
The wind and air inspired the Huayra. And after more than five years, the curves were finalized.
A car that magnifies the sum of it’s parts by creativity and science.
Inspiration transmitted through an automobile.
The goal of Horacio is achieved.
I love the mystery of Pagani. How many cars have been produced? We’re not exactly sure. We can guess.
Who are the owners? I’ve found a couple, but many Pagani owners choose to remain anonymous.
What’s the next model to be released? That’s not for you to understand – at least until they are ready to unveil it. The secrecy and anticipation for each new model is brilliantly played by Horacio.
How Much? Good Question
And the price tag of each Pagani model? That highly depends on the exact specifications of each car. And the exact specs are agreed on by the owner and Pagani after months of discussion and custom tailoring. Good luck discovering the exact final sale price.
Each Pagani model has it’s own mysterious story. And uncovering each story would take a full-time detective. I’m up for the challenge.
Perhaps no other car brand in the world celebrates the heritage of racing and auto design like Pagani.
When Horacio grew up in the Argentina town of Casilda, he stumbled on a 1963 Jaguar E-type, and that day changed his life forever.
He was captivated by the car. Ten-year-old Horacio waited outside for the owner of the E-Type to leave his garage, and he would follow in his bicycle. Even though he couldn’t keep up with the car, he knew where it was going.
Once he arrived at the parked Jaguar E-Type, Horacio would walk around the car for hours, studying the lines, every inch and every detail. It’s the same feeling people have today when they see a Pagani, they are possessed by it.
Horacio’s favorite race car of all-time is the Porsche 917. He owns more than 120 scale models of the car, and each morning has a cup of tea along side a Porsche 917 model.
You can clearly see the inspiration from the 917 translated to Pagani cars. Visions of the 917’s upswept tail for increased downforce, and superb aerodynamics for less drag have danced inside Horacio’s mind for decades.
You can watch endless YouTube videos featuring Pagani car reviews. Many of the videos are almost exactly the same, with the host giving an overview of the exterior, then moving to the interior for more “quirks and features.”
Every video concludes with the same comment about the “level of detail” of each Pagani. They will say something like, “every screw head on the car includes the Pagani logo.”
Look Beyond the Screws
It’s true, every screw head and bolt in the car does include a tiny Pagani logo. But I’m not sure Horacio planned for it to be the crowning achievement of the brand. You need to look further than the screws to understand the true level of detail each Pagani undergoes.
What looks like a simple rear name plate is a 24-hour process that carves the Huayra lettering out of a solid block of aluminum.
Sometimes, attention to detail is not what you can carefully see, but what you cannot see.
Pagani invented their own paint, the Acquarello Light, which is 5 kg lighter than previous paint, but still maintains shine, depth, and color richness. Attention to detail means taking away whenever possible, leaving only the necessary behind.
11. The Founder, Horacio Pagani
Everything that makes Pagani the greatest automotive brand in the world can be attributed to it’s founder, Horacio. But still, that’s too simple of a summary.
Horacio is guiding Pagani into uncharted waters, growing his brand on a global scale, but maintaining focus. He’s the navigator, on a course for both art and science beauty.
It’s got to feel like a tight-rope walk for him. Huge demand, massive markets, everyone wanting a piece of his creation.
I’m sure Pagani owners and fans are desperately hoping for the same thing. That Horacio can keep the brand small, exclusive, and full of creative genius just like it’s been since the beginning.
What do you love most about Pagani?