It is going to be hard to avoid more mushy dream cliches seeing as it turns out that my dream was to marvel at another mans dream, ok...that didn't come out quite right.
Horacio Pagani is the son of a baker, born in Calsida in Argentina, not interested in flour and wheat he quickly highlighted himself as an automotive engineer. By the age of twelve he was making model cars from scrap wood and any other material he could find. He built a mini bike at the age of 15 and by the time he was 20 he had built his own racing car to compete in the national F3 championship in Argentina. This flare brought him to the attention of co Argentinian and five times F1 champion Juan Miguel Fangio who then championed Pagani to the Italian auto giants of the time. It was Lamborghini we have to thank for bringing Horatio to Europe and eventually, in the 80's he made it to the design department and was part of the team designing a remodel of the Countach. Following the Countach job Mr Pagani left Lamborghini and set up his own design company, Modena Design, working heavily (sic) with carbon fibre. It was several years later that he eventually released his own complete work in 1999 at the Geneva Motor Show, the C12 Zonda.
Mr Paganis' philosophy is based on Leonardo Davinci's belief (and mine) that science and art go together. Of course I agree and when you see a Pagani up close you forget you are looking at a car, something that you can pop to the supermarket in or go around your parents for Sunday dinner. In fact I'd have to move 300 miles away just to make the drive epic enough for the car. I digress. It's hard to imagine what function a Pagani car has other than physical proof of DaVincis belief. The looks of the cars are something else and when you dig deeper what you understand is how the art and science does come together, all from one man, this is mind blowing and something that has to be appreciated in minute detail, and there are plenty of those. I can go on here about how Pagani has achieved the marriage of science and art yet I find it to be best discussed over a bottle of wine. On with the tour....
The museum is a very personal account of Horacio Pagani with his calculators and original sketchbooks on display this is just another example of how the simple things mean a lot, another renaissance reference. Also on display are the aforementioned models he made as a boy, the bike, F3 car and then the cars. Six Zondas, monetary value is priceless. You are treated to a restoration of the earliest Zonda chassis (#2 as #1 is the crash test), 2xF's, an S, a Cinque roadster (dream car)' and a Revolucion. At the end of the room are the two AMG Mercedes engines used in each model, interesting to learn that even Mercedes have a segregated factory/workshop for Pagani engines only.
As with AMG it is well known that Pagani asked their suppliers for their best parts then proceeded to tell them how it could be improved and that they improve it exclusively for Pagani. Then there's the carbon fibre, Paganis fibrous blood. Every car is made from carbon fibre only the tub is carbotainium but the rest is Carbon fibre and manufactured in house to the highest detail. The finish on completed cars is utterly divine, DaVinci would applaud. Each car has around 250 pieces each with their unique mold which itself has to be replaced after approx 150 uses. The factory is now set to produce maximum forty cars a year, and that is thanks to this impressive new facility.
The factory tour is highly recommended to anyone who loves cars, engineering or beautiful craftsmanship. Arriving at the plant you stand in a light and airy foyer with the smell of new car and leather. At one end is a Zonda behind a net drape, all you can really see is an outline, it's a real tease but it shows the car in a very different, thoughtful way. More affordable Pagani products are located in the foyer, each one just as delightfully crafted as the cars. Everything has been thought of. There is no rush inside the factory unlike others, instead every one is working methodically and peacefully to create these one off bespoke cars. Each car takes between 4 to 6 months to make, however you will be waiting up to 2 years given the size of the order book. The factory has been given its own Renaissance feel and it certainly has an effect on the ambiance. One station was closing for the day and so over his three screens the operator applied the Pagani badged neoprene screen covers, this is the mindful care that is taken, no dust will impede this chap tomorrow, this is the level required to create these works of art. The tour is worth every Euro as you get to see the largest concentration of Paganis in the world and if you are lucky you may see some extremely rare one off models. You get to understand what goes into these cars and feel part of the personal tailoring so much so the factory is referred to as an Atelier (artisan workshop). Of course there is a strict no photo policy but like all the best works of art, no photo does it justice and art is an emotion, something you feel that cannot be captured in a picture, that and all the usual data protection/secret stuff.
I will most likely never own a Pagani, highly doubtful I will drive one either in which case today has been my Pagani zenith. I can get no higher than this on my Pagani mountain as I have reached the summit. These are the dream cars, the cars on the wall of every young petrol head and now another as I purchased a beautiful sketch print of the Huayra for my son.
Thank you Pagani for the tour, the cars and the dream.
Cost = 35 EUR.
Duration :~45 mins.
Frequency : Not everyday
Method: Email and arrange a time with the tour operator.
Notes: Make sure you put in the correct Via dell'industrie.
Value for money: 10/10
Exposure : 9/10