Ho­ra­cio Pa­gani

He went from small-time dreamer to su­per­car em­pre­sario

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Car Culture - WORDS BY JA­soN Tulio IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS BY ViNCENT AsEo

Imag­ine the wildest, cra­zi­est, most out­landish-look­ing car you’ve ever seen. Think of ev­ery su­per­car de­sign trope plas­tered to a sin­gle body. For many pun­dits, the cars made by Ho­ra­cio Pa­gani and his up­start brand fit that de­scrip­tion to a tee.

Though the name ‘Pa­gani’ sounds Ital­ian to its very core, this Pa­gani is ac­tu­ally from Ar­gentina. He was born to Ital­ian im­mi­grants in a town called Casilda, which, today, has about 30,000 in­hab­i­tants. It’s not ex­actly the sto­ry­book be­gin­ning for an au­to­mo­tive le­gend. But de­spite this, he was smit­ten by the gear­head bug from an early age, and went on to study en­gi­neer­ing be­fore set­ting up his own small shop.

Pa­gani’s tal­ents were rec­og­nized by Re­nault, who tasked him to re-body a for­mula car. In

1983, he left his home coun­try and moved to Italy to work for Lam­borgh­ini. He was a big be­liever in the use of com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als, and this heav­ily in­flu­enced the de­sign of the Countach Evoluzione pro­to­type. He de­cided to strike out on his own in 1991 with Mo­dena De­sign, a firm fo­cused on car­bon­fiber com­pos­ites; the fol­low­ing year, Pa­gani Au­to­mo­bili was born.

It wasn’t un­til 1999, how­ever, that Pa­gani un­veiled his com­pany’s first car, the Zonda. Pow­ered by a mid-mounted V12 en­gine from Mercedes-AMG, it was in­spired by jet fight­ers—af­ter all, to com­pete with Lam­borgh­ini and Fer­rari, you need some­thing over the top as your peg. If you’ve never seen a Zonda, imag­ine a fic­tional car­toon car com­ing to life, com­plete with a quad-ex­haust setup in mid­dle, un­der­neath a big spoiler.

Pa­gani’s next cre­ation, the Huayra, ar­rived in 2011. Its de­sign is sub­dued com­pared to the Zonda’s (but what isn’t?), shy­ing away from the

’90s styling and mov­ing to­ward a more modern in­ter­pre­ta­tion. This one has a twin-turbo V12 also courtesy of Mercedes-AMG, and can reach speeds of almost 400kph. It is fit­ted with a ‘car­b­ota­nium’ body to en­sure light­ness. With ac­tive aero­dy­nam­ics, it can achieve min­i­mal drag or max­i­mum down­force as needed.

From hum­ble be­gin­nings, Ho­ra­cio Pa­gani has emerged as one of the world’s lead­ing names in su­per­cars, able to duke it out with other leg­endary com­pa­nies with much more sto­ried back­grounds. He has ex­pressed his de­sire to con­tinue pro­duc­ing cars in low vol­ume to en­sure ex­clu­siv­ity and pre­serve the ar­ti­sanal process. De­spite his knack for de­sign­ing some of the world’s most cut­tingedge ma­chines, he has once said that one bit of tech­nol­ogy he can never live without is a pen— be­cause that’s the tool that brings his ideas and dreams to pa­per and, even­tu­ally, to life.

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