The remarkable story behind Pagani’s birth from Lamborghini’s questionable decision

Pagani's founder saw a different future for high-performance supercars.

  • While both are incredible feats of Italian engineering, Pagani was born out of a decision made by Lamborghini’s bosses
  • Pagani is currently the only Italian automotive manufacturer still making their supercars as an independent company
  • But the reason why might just surprise you

Published on Jan 5, 2024 at 9:07PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Jan 22, 2024 at 7:46PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis
Pagani hero image

Pagani supercars are incredible feats of Italian engineering and art, but the story of how they were born out of a decision made by Lamborghini’s bosses is just as impressive.

The luxury brand’s Hermes Edition Pagani Huayra  has annual service costs that are hard to believe and the ‘Tempesta Package’ costing as much as a new supercar.

But this is in part because Pagani’s currently the only Italian automotive manufacturer still making their supercars as an independent company.

READ MORE! There’s one hilarious feature of the Pagani Utopia people just can’t get over

Pagani’s creative and design direction is still under the control of its founder, Horacio Pagani.

Lamborghini’s higher ups, on the other hand, sold out to become a publicly traded company.

While there are still rare models, Lamborghini upped production numbers to make money for their shareholders, Pagani’s production is still restricted limited to 50 a year.

One example is this 1-of-10 Pagani Zonda R which was expected to fetch $6.5m at auction last year.

Driving rarity, demand – and prices – skyward.

Born 10 November, 1955, Horacio Pagani is an Argentine-Italian businessman and automotive engineer.

He worked at Lamborghini, working his way up from sweeping floors to becoming the head engineer.

Pagani saw carbon fiber as the future of high-performance supercars after it was first utilized in car making in 1981, per Carbon Touch.

He began experimenting with the material before Formula One cultivated the lightweight polymer.

Realizing that carbon fiber was the future, Pagani tried to convince Lamborghini’s decision-makers to invest in an autoclave to expand its production of carbon fiber components for the Countach Evoluzione.

However, to their later chagrin, Lamborghini’s bosses didn’t listen.

It’s thought that this is because their rivals at Ferrari, didn’t have an autoclave yet.

Determined that carbon fiber-bodied, lightweight cars, were the future, Mr Pagani took a bank loan and bought an autoclave himself in 1987.

In 1988, Mr Pagani founded Pagani Composite Research and worked on many Lamborghini projects, including the restyled Countach 25th Anniversary Edition. 

Horacio Pagani began designing his own car in the late 1980s as part of the ‘C8 Project’.

He’d later rename the prototype ‘Fangio F1’ in honor of the Argentinean five-time F1 winner, Juan Manuel Fangio.

Having become a respected name in the world of automotive engineering and design, he was able to establish his own company: Modena Design.

Modena Design met the new demand for carbon fiber composites used in F1 cars by automakers such as Ferrari, Daimler, and Aprilia.

His company later morphed into small-factory, Pagani Automobili.

There he was able to oversee the creation of a hand-built supercars.

Construction began in 1992 of the Fangio F1 prototype – later renamed the Pagani Zonda.

Seven years later, Pagani unveiled the $2.3 million Zonda C12 at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show.

Now, alongside next-gen hypercars, Pagani is developing an all-new naturally breathing V12 for the Huayra R in partnership with HWA AG, the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR’s builders.

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