[MotorValley Presents] Horacio Pagani: the car stylist
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
“Start by doing the necessary, then do what you can and, shortly, you’ll find yourself doing the impossible.”
Saint Francis of Assisi
Exclusivity, innovative design and manic detail care have always been the attributes that identify the supercar produced by Pagani. Features that can be found in the heart of Modena Province, where it is the new Pagani Automobili factory of 5800 square meters in San Cesario sul Panaro which represents a real atelier of a luxury car designer in the magical context of the Emilia Romagna’s MotorValley.
The history of Pagani Cars reflects the autobiography of its creator, Horacio Pagani, a lord of Italian origins, born and raise in Casilda a small Argentine country, which immediately shows signs of a precise inclination: the passion for speed and car racing. At the age of 12 the little Horacio begins to become interested in the first naval and aeronautical models, satisfying his passion by devouring piles of automotive magazines and then reproducing their sketches.
It was from one of these magazines that he learned the life of Juan Manuel Fangio, undisputed idol of all the Argentines, who later met in person and who would have such a great influence in his future activities.
But the young Horacio is not only fascinated by the great myths of Formula 1, he reads, studies, analyzes, draws, drinks from new technicians and secret artists. And right here, thanks to the book “Selection of Reader’s Digest”, he discovers the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, who teaches how every object, every creation, must be beautiful and functional at the same time.
Here, in the youth, there was all the elements for a successful story, which is that philosophy that sees art and tech dance together in a single unmistakable movement. Adolescence is the time of challenges, and it is precisely in this decisive generational passage that Horacio still shows his skills.
When he was 14-year-old he start, along with a friend, to build a motorbike starting from a second-hand engine he has had in gift and before the completion of the secondary school he is working on the construction of a Dune-Baggie from a bodywork kit in fiberglass fitted on the body of a Renault Deuphine. After five months of hard and patient work, the buggy was finally finished, vividly painted in a new and bright livery, registered and circulating like any other vehicle along the Casilda roads.
Then came the years of the University in Industrial Design, interesting things for the young Horacio, but far from that construction passion, from the dirt of the workshops where iron become the body of a car. How to compare the style exercises and the study hours with that creative activity that, starting from an idea, from a single obsession leads to the finished shape of a design object?
It is the 1978, Horacio is 23 years old and has his own “factory”, a very small establishment, but here he can be free to build what he wants, to realize all the creations that his passion orders to his hands. Here he starts to build the first prototypes, which procure other orders and buyers looking for special designs. Among the first creations Horacio Pagani makes camper and pick-up for freight, a great start for a young and unknown designer.
In 1979 he create and builded his first Formula 2 track, in 1982 he collaborated with the Research and Development Institute of the National University of Rosario for some prototypes and in the same year he started his collaboration with one of the most famous sports brand of the time, the Lamborghini.
Bertone, the great Italian designer, had long been one of his idols, but now the young Horacio has the opportunity to work in the development team of one of the world’s most famous automakers. The encounter with the Lamborghini engineers was positive and the ideas of the young Argentine are well received by the Lamborghini team, above all the intuition of working with composite materials, which will lead to the creation of the Countach Evolution in 1985, a car which builded the base for all future applications of carbon fiber and composite materials in the automotive industry. The stalemate created by the warfare events of the First Gulf War and the international crisis convinced Pagani to leave the Lamborghini and to direct his research elsewhere. Since few of his project work had seen light in the form of cars actually produced, he began to give life to his most ambitious dream: a supercar of his own which could summarizes all the best design elements that appeared in previous projects. So in 1999, at the Geneva Motor Show, Horacio presented the Zonda C12 his first supercar born entirely from a self-financed project and with the stated goal of creating such an emotionally car that a customer would buy it without even thinking about it.
Here is how Horacio Pagani describes his goddess, the Zonda:
“The shape had to be sensual, the wheel arches should recall a woman’s bosoms, the rear bonnet the hips. Inside, the seats would be shaped like an inverted pyramid to wrap around the shoulders, giving a sense of power to the man, and protection to the woman. A complicated search of simple ideas. In a word: the Zonda.”
The Zonda C12 had sensual traits and combined the sinuousness of a woman with aggressive line, expression of speed, technology, exasperation and engineering par excellence, assuming as inspirational the LeMans cars of the late 80s and 90s. The choice of propulsion was the consequence of two-act: first of all Fangio wanted an AMG Mercedes Engine and, for second, Pagani was happy to use that engine; a V12 with twelve-cylinder which represented the history of cars worldwide. The Zonda was the first road-car approved to be presented with fully-sighted carbon, and will be the first, with the advent of the Zonda Cinque, to have the titanium carbon frame, Horacio’s faithful testimony which worked from years in the use of composite materials in the automotive.
The route along which Horacio Pagani would have met his passion and obsession with the sports cars had been traced, now it was only matter to go straight ahead. To the first Zonda follows the Zonda S, the enhanced car that featured a number of variations on the original project, the Roadster, a capless version, and the legendary Zonda F, a kind of philosophical sum of the ideas of Juan Manuel Fangio and Horacio Pagani .
Today Pagani Automobili is one of the most famous and sought after brands all over the world, its creations are halfway between art, craftsman knowledge and highest technology. Huayra, the last born, is generally considered one of the most innovative, extreme and refined supercars in the world, capable of recalling ancient natural powers, as Horacio would say:
“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.“
The Pagani Showroom
The Pagani Showroom, an exhibition space right next to the Car Factory, is characterized by the elegance and innovative design that make the 5800 square meters builded in San Cesario sul Panaro, Modena, an ideal continuation of the ideas and suggestions of Horacio Pagani’s home. Consisting of a greenhouse, it seems that the inspiration for the project came to Horacio Pagani himself during a visit to the Chateau de la Grenerie, France, when he saw a large greenhouse with large glass windows and Eiffel-style iron supports.
In the space dedicated to both the exhibition and the construction of the cars, Pagani Factory wanted to recreate the typical Italian Piazza where under the arches it is possible to find the area dedicated to the special versions, the bodywork control and the post-sale area. In the new Factory there is also a showroom where you can book personalized tours, admire the rare specimens produced and follow the production line of fantastic Pagani’s hyper-cars.
Pagani Automobili is obviously pleased to receive visitors at its atelier in San Cesario sul Panaro (Modena Province) and offers guided tour both in the showroom and in the production area for a duration of about 45 minutes.
It is required to book in advance of 3 working days, writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to reach the Pagani Factory
Pagani Automobili S.P.A. is located in Via dell’Industria, 24, 41018 in Graziosa, Modena and it could be reached:
From Bologna take the road SS9 Via Emilia towards Modena, get to Castelfranco Emilia and take direction to Via dell’Industria in the hamlet of Graziosa.
Regional ticket available at Trenitalia
From Castelfranco Station, take bus 760 for Modena Bus Station and get off at Madonna degli Angeli. Continue on Via Emilia to Modena for about 20 minutes
By guided tours
Please check on Modena Tour website