history of pagani

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The “piecita”, or the “closet” in his native town in Argentina, is the room where the young creator would disappear to work with balsa wood, drawing and carving those little models that would one day turn to his eyes as the most beautiful cars in the world. That was in Casilda, where, on the 10th of November 1955, Horacio Pagani was born.

As a child, Horacio used to spend his time at the shop of Tito Ispani, a local modeler working on naval and aeronautical projects, trying to learn all the secrets regarding the finishing techniques of the fragile wood and on the mistery of his perfect Duco paint.

Today some of those models that survived the ravages of time and the indifference of many who were at that time unable to appreciate them properly, are exhibited in the new museum of Via Dell’Industria 26, in San Cesario sul Panaro, Modena.


From an early age, Horacio was able to carve out its own intimate place in which he could focus on reading car magazines and sketching, inspired by what he read: just from one of these magazines, he was able to learn about the lives and businesses of the undisputed idol of all Argentinians, Juan Manuel Fangio.

By that time the pilot had just retired from racing, while Horacio used to spend most of his free time reading, drawing, analyzing, modelling and feeding on new technical and artistic know how. Thanks to a special book, called “The Selection of The Reader’s Digest”, he discovers the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, which will have a great influence on his entire work and philosophy to come. He will find out that every object, every piece of creation must be beautiful and functional at the same time. In a dance of art and science, technology and design that will deeply mark all his upcoming work.

Thanks to this daily discipline, which was such a pleasure for him to follow, although practiced by working steadily and silently with a professional accuracy, he was able to confer to his models incomparable beauty and quality finishes.


Horacio Pagani was about fourteen years old when he got a Sachs Televel engine from the 50s as a gift, damaged and out of use. Together with his friend Gustavo Marani, “Gustavito”, they were planning to build a go-kart as they shared the same passion for cars, thus they went to Carcarañà, a small village in the surroundings, to purchase four small wheels. When they realized that with one single go-kart they couldn’t have fun together, they soon gave way to the project of two minibikes.

Gustavo managed to find another engine, a Deem 48 cc, the same one that was mounted at the time on the Italian bikes, in Legnano. The Marani family owned a workshop, which became the place where the two friends used to meet to build their minibikes. The frames were very similar, but the engines were very different: Horacio’s was a 125 cilinders, while his friend’s one was a 48 cilinders.

The two bikes were different not only in size, but also in definition. They built every single detail by hand: the fuel tank, the fenders, the forks, the exhaust pipes. Gustavo’s bike looked more like a chopper model, Horacio’s one was a motocross. Both were great although very different from each other. The two bikes were so original and eye-catching that attracted great attention in the town and time later the owner of a store wanted to display them in his shop window.


Before finishing high school, Horacio had the chance to build with his own hands a four-wheeled vehicle. A company in Mar del Plata in fact offered a plastic body kit, reinforced with fiberglass, to be adapted to the frame of another car: in Argentina, the vehicle was known as Dune-Buggie. Horacio was immediately captured by the new challenge.

He launched himself into the project and wasted no time in buying the bodywork. At a scrapyard he found a Renault Dauphine, in bad condition and with a broken engine. History was repeating again. From that moment on, all his energies were concentrated on his new adventure, which exceeded, in effort and complexity, the one that saw him struggling with the bike.


After five months of hard and patient work, the buggie was finally complete, painted in a bright new livery, registered and ready to be driven as any other vehicle on the streets of Casilda.


In early 1974, at age of 18, Horacio Pagani entered the course of Industrial Design at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the National University of La Plata. He settled in the city, 450 km away from Casilda, in a typical residence for students, with the intention of spending there the next five years of his life. At the time, Argentina was shaken by political unrest. The course attended by Horacio was discontinued during the academic year because of the repeated suspension of the classes.

The year after La Plata opened with the same problems, thus Horacio decided to attend the course of Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Rosario. However, as months passed, a gradual sense of frustration took over his soul: all that he had always been more passionate about seemed now light years away.

He had experienced firsthand the pleasure of starting from a simple sketch, then refine it, identify new aesthetic horizons and harmonize them with the technical possibilities, selecting suitable materials, creating the most exquisite hand work, until finally see the realization of a fascinating object. He realized that theory, however important it was, would eventually steal five of the most creative years of his life. No university faculty could satisfy him fully, no one taught both art and science, as preached by Leonardo. It was then clear that his future was not in the distant university classrooms, but in Casilda, with the intent to continue his apprenticeship as an autodidact.


In the solitude of a city block sparsely populated and far from home, Horacio began to live his days and to develop its works, inviting friends and anyone who wanted to visit the place that, with thinly veiled pride, he used to call “factory”.

The 80-square-meter “Tajer”, made of hollow brick blocks, corrugated iron roof and equipped with basic hand tools, was operating in only four months.

That factory, whose only worker was Horacio, immediately began to produce. The first order he received consisted of a set of high benches for the counter of a new city bar; the benches had to be equipped with footrests, some parts had to be made of naked iron, others had to be chrome-plated or hot-painted, while seats and backs had to be covered in fine leather.


i prefer to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion. however small, the brain will be mine, if anything.

Horacio Pagani

The caravan prototype with which the individual company Horacio Pagani Design made its first appearance on the market, at the Industrial and Commercial Exhibition of Casilda, was named the Alpine.

He obtained an immediate positive outcome and finding buyers was not a problem. As the young Horacio wished, other orders followed from customers looking for particular designs. He was asked to build camper vans and to equip pickup trucks for cargo transport.

He was even asked to equip a vehicle, complete with every comfort, used as a mobile studio commissioned by “Radio Casilda”, a local radio station which broadcasted live sport commentaries.

1979 - the first f2

The job took over a year and something like five thousand hours of work were invested in the project. The vehicle was completed and presented at a dinner that counted over 300 people, including journalists from the specialized press of the city of Rosario, entrepreneurs, technicians and fanatics of the races.

The Pagani F2 was finally a reality and seemed born under a lucky star. Finding a pilot for the new Pagani F2 was not a problem. With Augustín Beamonte, F2 champion, it was love at first sight. They signed a verbal agreement and informed the sports press.

The Pagani F2 made its debut, with number 1, in March 1979 at the Las Parejas Autodrome.


Horacio used to spend the week at his workshop, dealing with special orders. Among the most difficult challenges that he had to face at that time, there was the contract for the construction of two units of a prototype commissioned by the Road Laboratory of the Institute of Research and Development of the National University of Rosario.

The vehicles in question would be the first ever made in Latin America and would represent a first in terms of technical performance. It was a computerized tool, composed of several sensors and mounted on a mobile structure, which, circulating on the roads, would have measured the roughness of the road surface.

In technical jargon, this vehicle was called roughness meter. The proposal was very interesting, as it would give the young Pagani the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge in the field of suspensions and performance of the chassis in the many different height and roughness conditions of the ground, which is a key issue for a successful measurement.

1983 - 1991 - the lamborghini years

The passionate relationship began many years before Horacio Pagani started working for the company based in Sant’Agata. He was fascinated by Bertone’s style: he admired his work and felt a great harmony of style with the designer, father of the most fascinating Lamborghini of all time, the Miura and Countach. The meeting with Alfieri proved successful. The engineer was impressed by the works shown and ended up offering him to join a project that had just started, the LM. Horacio Pagani was the first to believe in the technology of composite materials; against the will of Lamborghini, he bought an autoclave at his own expense to develop, even for the same Lamborghini, new solutions for the body and the chassis.

The P140 was supposed to be a “small” Lamborghini to be launched together with the emerging Diablo which would replace the Countach, as top-of-production model. The Pagani’s P140 anticipates some of the solutions that will be adopted many years later on the Gallardo. In 1985 Horacio Pagani and his team built the very first car entirely made of composite materials, the Countach Evoluzione, which will lay the basis for all future applications of carbon fiber and composite materials in the automotive industry. Two years later, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the company, Lamborghini decided to resume the restyling of the Countach and the project was entrusted to Horacio Pagani and this represented a great opportunity for him. He sketched some solutions for the new parts of the car, which were then realized and had an extraordinary commercial success. In the early 90s Horacio tried his hand in the design of a new car, which should have been produced for the 30th anniversary of the company.

it was all down to the fangio f1 the future zonda

Horacio Pagani

The project, called L30, never saw the light, but the formal research made by Pagani continued until the definition of the 1:15 scale model. In the same period Horacio worked together with the Lamborghini team to carry on with the project of the Diablo 30th Anniversary, for which he designed a certain number of components, including the front bumper. Other restyling projects, such as the Grand Cherokee that had been conceived for the giant Chrysler, were well under way when had to be suspended, since the company was overwhelmed by the terrible economic situation caused by the Gulf War. The impasse created by the war and the overseas crisis convinced Pagani to steer his own research elsewhere. Since very little of his intense project work had seen the light in terms of cars actually produced, he decided to give life to his most ambitious dream: his own supercar. In this creative process he synthesized all the best design elements appeared in previous projects.


it was time to think of a 100 percent pagani car

Horacio Pagani

To finance the Zonda project, Modena Design develops composite materials for many companies of the industry and not, participating in both the construction of prototypes and the manufacture of parts for Formula 1 and for the aerospace industry. During this incessant work the company gets to an always deeper knowledge on carbon fiber, which led to the design and realization of the first 100-percent Pagani car.

Horacio knew about the uphill battle ahead of him, but was determined to see the obstacles he would encounter as the inevitable stages of a way of life that would have allowed the realization of his dream.

iAt that time, Horacio was still working in a building in Sant’Agata and had started to work on a new factory just before the Gulf War plunged the car industry into crisis. He then had to choose between the construction of a new headquarters and the project of the car. He decided to focus on the car. If he failed, the company would sink with it, otherwise the new factory would have provided its own finance.


Horacio Pagani began this adventure with barely any means. Until 1998 he funded the Zonda C12 project exclusively by himself, aware that no one would believe in such a challenge if he himself had doubted. The intention was to create a car so captivating on an emotional level that a customer would buy it without even thinking.

The car was supposed to have the sensual traits. Horacio thought of combining the sinuosity of a curvy woman with the aggressive look of a fighter-bomber, that is, the ultimate expression of speed, technology, exaggeration and engineering, taking as stylistic inspiration the cars of LeMans of the late 80s and early 90s. The choice of the engine was obvious. Fangio wanted it to be Mercedes and Pagani was happy with it; with that twelve-cylinder engine that represents the history of the Italian car.

Carbon fibre is an extraordinary material, which in its raw state suits the most complex form, following refined aesthetic lines, sinuous and harmonious, but which, after a long process, hardens and allow to create rigid or flexible pieces, crushproof or elastic, exceptional for strength and lightness. The Zonda was the first homologated road car to be presented with the fully naked carbon look, and with the unveiling of the Zonda Cinque, it will be the first to have a carbo-titanium frame, witnessing the bold vision Horacio had in believing firmly, since the Lamborghini years, in composite materials.


One year after the exciting debut of the Zonda C12, Pagani Automobili was able to present the Zonda S

Horacio Pagani

One year after the exciting debut of the Zonda C12, Pagani Automobili was able to present the Zonda S, which brought out a massive seven-liter engine. The car, in addition to the enhanced thruster, presented a wide range of technical improvements.

Inspired by the good fortune that invested the Zonda C12, Pagani spent the next two years trying to consolidate the project and starting, in the meantime, a feverish work of promotion of the atelier. The goal was to reassure suppliers and customers about the concreteness of what was likely to be compared to the adventure of many other prototype manufacturers, which were good at creating an exotic car, but then unable to start a production.

By the end of 2001 he had been toying with the possibility of making the next version of the Zonda: the Roadster.


the essence of a dream is the desire to achieve it

Horacio Pagani

The first Zonda Roadster was completed just a few days before leaving for the Geneva Motor Show in 2003. Horacio had been conceiving an open-top version of the Zonda Coupe since the original designs of the ’90s. The Roadster was equipped with an ingenious carbon roof with folding struts and canvas rear window, which could be quickly assembled even by one single person.

The rigidity was preserved thanks to a significant revision of the central cell. This version had an even more obsessive attention to details than the coupe, outlining an exclusive hallmark of the Pagani cars that will be a signature for all future production. The most significant components of the new interior were the roll-bars behind the seats, framing the hi-fi system speakers.

The power button appeared on the gear stick, together with the new 19″ forged aluminum wheels boasting the exclusive design of Modena Design. On the rear bonnet two large windows allowed the view of the engine through Lexan sheets or wire mesh.


Life is a series of races. at the end of each it is good to look back and RECOGNISE the support of those who helped you along the way, because you can only win thanks to a good team.

Juan Manuel Fangio

The F is a sort of philosophical anthology of the ideas of two sensitive people who have developed together simple and practical concepts. Juan Manuel Fangio and Horacio Pagani have dreamed, talked, looked and compared each other. It’s a car, but not as it is usually considered. It ‘a synthesis of ideas, a concentrate of technology contained in an elegant and sinuous shape. o in una forma elegante, sinuosa e sportiva.

Zonda F is handmade by Maurizio, Pirta, Tiziana, Gnacca, Fazio and a few others; by people who put their heart and soul into their work. Also with the help of valuable partners which share our passion. The car is technically a single piece of carbon fibre, aluminum alloys, titanium, avional, chromium-molybdenum, selected leathers. Some of these materials are processed using the best technology, others using the best craftsmanship.

It penetrates the air with minimum effort. It is a very reactive and safe car, with little body roll. With the hands on the steering wheel you can feel the direct contact with the asphalt.


The new version shared with its sister coupe all the finishes and equipments, in order to represent a real alternative to the potential buyer.

The adoption of new triaxial carbon fibre fabrics allowed to redesign the frame and to achieve a car as light as the coupe.

The Pagani Zonda F Roadster was an extraordinary commercial success, so that the chassis provided for the circulation were all immediately sold out, as was the case with the Zonda F.


the intention was to design an extreme car

Horacio Pagani

In 2006 Pagani began designing an extreme car, based on the Zonda F and intended for use on the track. After six months of work, and given the commercial success that the project was receiving, Horacio Pagani decided to start all over again in total creative freedom. The Zonda R was presented in 2009. Besides the racing temper, it sported finishes worthy of an art gallery: a big “clock” made of 3270 new components including the carbo-titanium chassis, ergal and titanium bolts, the blast-proof bars, the extinguishing system, the FIA-approved and HANS-compliant seats and the XTRAC robotized gearbox with shift speed of 20 ms.

Zonda Cinque was presented at the International Motor Show in Geneva in 2009, with the intention of creating the most extreme road-going version of the full range, producing only five cars in addition to the prototype. To get a downforce of 750 kg at 300 km/h, the Cinque was equipped with a new front spoiler, a newly designed adjustable rear wing, flat bottom and modified rear slides. Many aerodynamic features were borrowed from the R, like the air intakes on the bonnets and roof. It was the first road car to have a carbo-titanium central structure and today it is considered the most iconic among the creations of the atelier in San Cesario sul Panaro.

The ergonomic levers behind the steering wheel, as well as the rest of the control instruments, were re-designed in order to offer the highest level of precision and a full immersion in driving pleasure.


Apart from the removable roof, the car had the same features of the Zonda Cinque. In the same year, on the occasion of the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori, Horacio Pagani decides to pay homage to the aerobatic team with a tribute.

The series of road-going Zondas wouldn’t be complete without a Roadster version of the Zonda Cinque. As the name suggests, the Roadster as well was meant for a limited production of five exclusive pieces only, plus the prototype.

At the Geneva Motor Show, the Zonda Cinque Roadster is flanked by another fireball which evokes the lines of the MB-339: the Zonda Tricolore.


ancient aymara legends tell us of huayra tata, god of the wind who commands the breezes, the winds and the snowstorms that invade the mountains , the cliffs and the hills of the andean highlands

Horacio Pagani

In 2003 Horacio Pagani begins to conceive the Huayra project. The study was born when the Zonda, whose design dates back to the early nineties, was likely to leave room for innovative models designed by the competitors. Maximum expression of technology and of the automotive world: these were the ambitious goals Horacio was setting for the creation of a totally new car. The experience acquired through the development of the Zonda family played an important role in the eight years of research and evolution, always looking for the best technical solutions, such as the carbo-titanium frame. The eternity of the element of air. Delicate and pure. While the strength of the wind can consume even the toughest of materials, giving rise to the distinctive features of nature. Elegant and muscular, the Huayra blends together past, present and future in a timeless interpretation of the automotive art. The car’s styling has been perfected over five years to find the beginning and the end of every line.

During this study, eight scale models were created, as well as two 1:1 models, each one as an evolution of the previous version in a never-ending quest for perfection in both form and substance. The bi-xenon headlights are just one of the many precious gifts from the Zonda R, and the LED daytime running lights are perfectly integrated into the elliptical shape of the design. The rear bumper is integrated with the diffuser and dominated by an elliptical frame that surrounds the four pipes of the exhaust, which are now becoming a typical hallmark of Pagani. The central monocoque on the Huayra is entirely new and made of carbo-titanium. The fuel tank is located entirely in the most protected area of the monocoque, behind the driver, and is reinforced by the safety cell, made of several ballistic-derived composite materials. The front and rear CrMo subframes offer exceptional stiffness to weight ratio, allowing the suspension to work better.

Mercedes-AMG provides the heart of the Huayra. The 12-cylinder turbo engine, with a displacement of 5980 cm3, has been developed exclusively for Pagani, not only to meet the most stringent technical and quality requirements, but also to give the car its many faces. The calm and the harmony given by driving one of the world’s most refined GT cars, are interrupted when the Huayra is free to unleash its 730 horsepower and 1000 Nm of torque. To ensure a complete control, Pirelli has developed the P Zero tires, especially made for the Pagani Huayra.


i dedicate the huayra bc to you, from my heart

Horacio Pagani to Benny Caiola

“BC” as the initials of Benny Caiola, the very first customer of Pagani Automobili and great friend of Horacio Pagani. In 2016 Horacio dedicated the Huayra BC to Benny, a dedication from the heart, to the one who had been impressed by the passion and technology unleashed by these cars from the very beginning.

During the development of the Zonda, Horacio Pagani worked in the wind tunnel together with Gian Paolo Dallara, founder of Dallara Automobili, who represented a mentor and a source of inspiration to the young Horacio. For the Huayra BC, Horacio and his team have worked hard on the car’s aerodynamic properties.

Many months of study and CFD simulations have defined a shape that generates the maximum downforce for a car like the Huayra BC, yet maintaining the unmistakable language of the Pagani design.

2017 - Huayra Roadster


Horacio Pagani

The dream of a car like the Huayra Roadster can only be told through the words of Horacio Pagani, the man who more than anyone else has imagined, desired and shaped it, like the great sculptors of the past who had to struggle with shapeless but full of soul marble blocks. “This is the most complicated project we have ever undertaken”. “As we moved forward with the Roadster, we decided to give her a bit more of an edge in order to create a slightly more aggressive shape than the Huayra Coupé…” “We realized the Pagani Huayra BC was an incredible piece of Engineering so all this technology was built into the Pagani Huayra Roadster…”

“From the beginning we set ourselves some pretty ambitious targets. The first, from a technical point of view, was to make a roadster that would be lighter than the coupé, which was already the lightest hypercar on sale at the time…” “Engaging in such a challenge, to make just 100 cars, has meant an impressive effort for a company like ours, from a technical and human point of view.” We hope that this six-year effort can get to touch you, rationally and emotionally.” Horacio Pagani

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