I’ll admit that in this case, I didn’t want to do the write-up for this particular post. Not because it was boring, tedious, or a pain. In fact, it was just the opposite. Pagani was awesome! So why am I not thrilled to write-up our adventure? Because, I’d rather be doing the tour rather than writing about it.
What was this fantastic tour of which I write? It was the Pagani auto factory which Lars and I toured. For those who are not familiar with the name Pagani, go do a Google search for “Pagani Zonda“. I’ll wait here, just make sure you come back!
Pretty awesome car, huh?! Since we’re staying in Bologna, I wanted to visit the factory to see these awesome cars in person. The factory itself is outside of Modena, and it took us a little under an hour to get there from where we are staying.
Once there, we got out, and parked. Heidi and Anya were not overly thrilled to go on the tour, but wanted to find out how long the tour was going to take, so they stuck around. As we got out of the car, I noticed a bunch of other father/son pairs who were walking towards the front gate. We started talking to a Finnish father/son, and I think the dad was actually more excited than the kid. I don’t get overly excited about a lot of things, but I’ll admit that I was giddy.
While we were talking and waiting, we heard the roar of a car that could only belong in a supercar. It was a Zonda, and it was amazing. There is something about Italian styling that tugs on the old heartstrings. And not too long after that, the newest addition to the Pagani family came screaming up to the gate. It was the Huayra (pronounced WHY-ruh)! The Huayra got its name from the Andean Wind God. It sounded even meaner than the Zonda. It had protective panels taped to the front/sides as it was a car that was being readied for delivery to a client in Hong Kong. Lucky guy!
After what seemed like an eternity waiting in the 100° heat, we were allowed in, and given Super Top Secret Badges. They may have said, “Visitor”, but trust me, I felt like a Super Spy. After everyone took pictures of the Zonda S in the showroom, a youngish lady came out, and started giving us the history of the Pagani car and Signore Pagani himself.
I won’t go into all the details, but early on, Mr. Pagani showed great talent when it came to design, and even worked at Lamborghini prior to starting his own company. He is well-known in the industry for having exceptionally high standards, and a great eye for detail down to the very nuts and bolts that are used in his car. He uses Leonardo da Vinci as his inspiration, so that says a lot.
Once our identities were confirmed by the hand print and retina scans (not really), we were allowed back into the area were they make the carbon fiber shells of cars. If you don’t know what carbon fiber is, it is a modern-day miracle material. Think of fiberglass on steroids. They take layers of a carbon fiber weave, lay it carefully in a form, apply a resin, and then put the entire form in an autoclave which takes out all of the air and bakes for a period of time. When it comes out of the autoclave, it is no longer flexible, but very rigid, and very tough.
After the ovens we were shown two cars. The first was the Test Car. The tour guide explained that there is no other Pagani car like it in the world. As it’s the Test Car, it has been assembled from a bunch of different models. There are Zonda S parts here, Zonda R parts there. Nevertheless, it was a sweet looking car.
The second car was the Huayra we had seen pull in earlier. Even with the body protection on, it is such an amazing looking car. Those car aficionados out there may notice that the car lacks a key element. There is no wing on the rear as is found on most supercars. While it’s not an obvious wing with a normal look to it, the wing is there.
Actually, there are four of them! Two up front, and two in the rear. If you haven’t seen the car, I bet you’re scratching your head. Rather than try to explain what it looks like, and how it functions, check out the following video about Pagani and the Huayra’s active aerodynamics.
I highly recommend watching the entire video, but if you only want to watch about the aerodynamics, skip ahead to 17:20.
Pretty awesome eh?! In person the car looks amazing, sounds amazing, and if I could get more for one of my 44 year-old kidneys, I’d love to buy one. While we were not able to meet with Sig. Pagani, I was able to meet Davide (the Test Driver), and I must say he is one lucky guy!
As they only make about 20 or so cars per year (soon to be increased to almost 40), it’s highly unlikely that I will ever see a Zonda or Huayra in the wild. It’s kind of sad, but it also means Lars and I are among the few individuals to see one up close.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend a tour. You can arrange one by contacting Pagani at +39 059 4739 205, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. As they are currently moving facilities, the tour is 18€ (normally 24€), while kids 10 and under are free.
More on our Summer road trip.