We were expecting something spectacular, and we weren't disappointed.
I'd been meaning to check out the new Pagani factory ever since the doors were opened. So while holidaying in Italy this summer, a 2,000-kilometer road trip that included a ride in a Mazzanti Evantra near Pisa, I managed to squeeze in a brief stop in Modena. Despite Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani being just a few miles apart, a tight schedule meant there was time for just one. After showing my kids a picture of each, there was a clear winner: we left Florence and headed to San Cesario Sul Panaro Pagani, Modena, to check out some Zondas.
The gleaming facade of the striking building is all glass and iron structures that appear riveted but are instead held together using chrome-plated screws and bolts, a technique Horacio Pagani developed himself. Obviously. You have to walk across a cobblestone pavement to reach the building, a nod to the Romans and Italian tradition of the area, while also providing a beautiful contrast to the ultra-modern architecture. The roof is said to reflect the design of a Zonda suspension arm. The tailor-made steel ribs that support the wooden roof of the museum are obviously meant to resemble coilover springs, to my mind at least.
The combination of modern and traditional continues inside, with arches and walls built from bricks replicating old Emilian stones specially-made for Mr. Pagani, carbon-fiber sinks in the toilets (no joke) and door handles made from leather straps. And then there are the cars. For 15 Euros, you can enter the facility and check out the museum, which houses a collection of spectacular Zondas, all of which Mr. Pagani has spent the past few years buying back from customers (no doubt for considerably more than what he initially sold them for). The display starts with Horacio's cars he built as a kid in Argentina, followed by a Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary that he designed when working down the road in Sant'Agata.
The first Pagani proper on display is the La Nonna, which has clocked over 500,000 kilometers having acted as the test bed for every Zonda from the C12 to the 760. An exposed carbon-fiber C12 S is followed by a red Zonda F coupe and orange Zonda F Roadster, surely every Pagani fan's favorite. With a 650-hp 7.3-liter naturally aspirated V12, manual transmission and no roof, it doesn't get much better. But then it does. The Cinque, limited to five coupes and five convertibles is represented by the final Cinque Roadster, another personal favorite, with the final Zonda in the lineup being the record-breaking track-only Revolucion.
Breaking the Nurburgring and Top Gear track records, only five of these were ever made. At the time of its release, this was the most extreme iteration of the Zonda and the last to be made. Thankfully, Pagani has continued to build more, the outrageously beautiful Zonda HP Barchetta was just unveiled at Pebble Beach, while custom one-offs like the Pagani Pearl will doubtless continue to be made if people want them. At the front of the factory, there's a 1:1 scale model of the Huayra that Horacio used to perfect his creation, next to a gorgeous example of the finished product. Pouring over the various Pagani paraphernalia and watching a short movie of the great man's story in a small theatre were other highlights of the tour.
For a few more Euros you can also check out the production area. And trust me, you should. Resembling a typical Italian piazza, complete with cobbled floors, street lamps and a clock tower that chimes on the hour, here is where the magic really happens. The first thing that strikes you is the lack of machinery. Four cars were in various stages of assembly, while finishing touches were being made to the first customer Huayra Roadster. Each car is hand assembled, and thanks to the new space, Pagani can now churn out almost one car per week. Several completed models, each totally unique, were waiting to be delivered to all corners of the globe, while an arched room is reserved for the very special, totally bespoke models.
The beautifully lit production room also doubled up as a garage for Mr. Pagani's Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari F12 tdf. We weren't permitted to take pictures here, but we've grabbed a couple of screenshots from the video Pagani released of the factory's construction, which you can check out in full here.