And it was absolutely incredible. And I saw Horacio Pagani. And I took a creep shot.
I’m out touring Europe at the moment, and one of the stops was quiet Modena to do some car stuff. Situated in motor valley, otherwise known as supercar valley, the area is home to Lamborghini, Ferrari, Pagani et al.
The tour I did was just a plain old factory tour for about 50 euros. The biggest problem was getting there without a hire car, ended up taking a bus and walking half an hour in intense Italian summer heat.
At this point I’d never seen a Pagani. Unless you count the Huayra in Melbourne that’s in the second floor of a dealership such that you can only see the top of its open door. As I was walking down this road to the factory though, I heard it. An otherworldly screaming that, given the location, could only be one thing. Seconds later a Zonda rolls past just casually. Then another. I don’t know what all these Zondas are doing since the car has been out of production for years, but oh my god.
The factory itself is a big artsy building in an industrial estate. It has a merch shop, a museum featuring roughly one of every model (only one Huayra), all attached to the factory itself. Seeing those cars in the flesh all lined up and exposed was fantastic, but the factory tour was next level.
First thing’s first, I have no pics. We had to lock up our phones before hand. Very cool. To start with we walked in a hallway past the final inspection room, where a blue Huayra was in a number of pieces being inspected for perfection prior to delivery. Then onto the main factory, which is sort of a big clean modern warehouse.
It was like walking into heaven. You’re surrounded by cars in various states of assembly, from completely new roadsters and coupes to partial cars on stands, to raw unpainted carbon fibre panels hanging around. I can spy a BC in camouflage, test mule I suppose. There are a few customer cars there just for storage, and a full size wooden Huayra with handwriting on it, used for finalising the car’s design. It’s right next to Horacio’s personal bicycle which he apparently loves.
We move on past rolls of fresh carbon fibre, we’re given some cf and carbo-titanium to play with, as well as an unfinished Huayra mirror straight out of the mould, and a finished polished one as well to hold. They’re light as plastic but with no flex whatsoever. We get to see the finishing room where they trim down the cf pieces to something pretty, all the while we’re surrounded by Italian dudes going about the business of building million dollar cars.
At one stage our guide points out the foliage and the big brick Bell tower that lives inside the factory. It’s all there to convey a feel of Modena and of Italy, to emphasise where the company comes from. As she’s talking the bell tower chines loudly several times to report the hour. It actually is an old bell, manufactured in Italy.
Its hard to convey how magical it felt. These are cars I’ve been driving in video games and watching on TV for decades, but never seen. To be just dropped in the middle of the factory, where every Pagani that exists was built. Magic.
In case you’re wondering, I’d always fancied a Zonda C12S 7.3. None of the carbon fibre tackiness, just a clean design with the big engine and the sweet double wing. Not sure if roadster or not. But the Huayra pulled me in in person, it’s such a beautiful yet brawny car.
Also I got a sighting of the big dog, Horacio Pagani himself. Here are some pics.