The Pagani Huayra is one of the most talked about supercars with a $1.6 million pricetag.
By Richard Kollins
Horacio Pagani hand built model cars made of balsa wood as a child. They are on display at the headquarters of Pagani Automobili S.p.A. in San Cesario sul Panaro, Modena, Italy. Passionate about designing cars, the young Argentinean migrated to Italy with a personal letter of recommendation by none other than Juan Manuel Fangio — the Formula 1 ace of yesteryear. Pagani’s personal dream was to build a supercar (hypercar) bearing his name.
By the age of 20, Pagnani had built his own Formula3 racer. He moved on to become a chief engineer at Lamborghini, where he collaborated to build the Countach Evoluzione concept car — the first car with a carbon fiber frame. Dissatisfied with status quo, he borrowed the capital to purchase an autoclave for making large carbon fiber pieces. At this time, not even Ferrari or Lamborghini owned one. In 1991, he went out on his own and formed his own company, Modena Design, which later became Pagani Automobili.
Pagani’s first production car, the Zonda, is history, and like the Zonda, his latest creation, Huayra, leaves your soul breathless. Huayra is quite a fitting moniker — its namesake is Huayra Tata, an Andean wind god.
The Huayra is a designer’s dream come true. Not encumbered by mega-corporate policies, Pagani focused on its pure functional beauty. The bi-xenon headlamps, which incorporate LED daytime running lamps, bring your eyes over the front wheel arches. The functional rearward vent removes unwanted air from the wheelhouse. Stepping back, you see the almost wedge shape opening up to allow cool air in for the engine. The elongated rear deck not only covers the powerful V12 engine, but directs the air for active automatic adjustment on the wings for stability at current speeds. Rearward, the four exhaust outlets are centrally mounted in traditional Pagani fashion, with the chassis aerodynamic venturis beneath, flanking both sides.
The interior is raw carbon fiber, polished metal, and leather. The detail finish is jeweler’s quality — most striking is the transmission shifting mechanism. Unbelievably retro, this hypercar has a good old-fashioned stick shift. Nice touch. Best of all, the mechanism is exposed so you can appreciate all 67 crafted pieces. The mechanical feel is weapons grade for that pure driving experience. Also included is the standard hypercar paddle shifters that maximize performance by reducing shift times to milliseconds.
Pagani wisely chose to focus on design and find an engine supplier. But this isn’t just any engine; it’s a Mercedes-AMG 6.0 liter bi-turbo V12, upgraded to Pagani specifications to provide over 700 hp. Orchestrated with the seven-speed transmission, speeds of 231 mph are obtained using a simple pure rear wheel drive layout and ultra-lightweight components. The transmission weighs only 211 pounds. Pagani even reverted to a single-plate clutch that saves some 154 pounds over a dual-clutch system. Even the exhaust system is a smooth flowing hydro-formed titanium for optimum weight saving and gas flow.
Less weight means better handling. The body/chassis construction is basic carbon fiber, but woven with titanium for stiffer shatter-resistant strength. This robust structure is connected to forged-aluminum suspension. Combined with the Brembo 4-piston brake calipers and carbon ceramic brake disks that are interconnected with the ABS (Antilock Brake System), hard braking and cornering is stable and controlled.
The result here is a very impressive dry weight of 2,980 pounds. Overall weight is delicately balanced with 44 percent at the front and 56 percent at the rear. The final touch to this masterpiece is the use of unique Pirelli P Zero Rosso tires. The Italian-manufactured tires are specially produced to withstand the immense power and road-holding abilities at speeds over 200 mph.
On Feb. 11, 2015, it was reported that the Pagani Huayra production run was sold out completely. The cars shown on display at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March were actually customer cars. Production was limited to just 100 units, as agreed with Mercedes–AMG, the engine supplier. That is just part of the treasure hunt for collecting a truly exclusive masterpiece with an estimated price of $1.6 million.
Good news, though, was also reported on that date. Pagani confirmed that a roadster version will be unveiled at the upcoming 2016 Geneva Motor Show.