The Pagani history


The inception of Pagani Automobili as we know it today, dates from the year 1991 in a company called Modena Design, founded by a 36 years old Argentinian man called Horacio Pagani in the small town of San Cesario sul Panaro, in the province of Modena (Italy).

Modena Design dedicated to the manufacturing and research of composite materials, specially carbon fiber. Their main customer was Lamborghini, where Horacio had worked previously.
During 1991 and 1992, Modena Design was immersed in a collaboration with Lamborghini to build the L30, a cutting edge prototype built entirely from carbon fiber to celebrate the brand's 30th anniversary, which was unfortunately cancelled in 1992 due to the brake out of the Gulf War two years before, which sank the automobile sector in a crisis it took a few years to recover from.

Due to this setback, Horacio decided to risk it all and in 1993 definitely began building the supercar he had been envisioning since his youth.
This car had to be, most importantly, light and nimble, therefore Horacio set himself a limit of 1300 kg (2866 lb) dry. It also had to be extremely sporty, but at the same time it had to be docile and condescending with the driving skills of an amateur driver.

Initially the project was going to be called Fangio F1, due to the great friendship Horacio had established throughout the years with the Argentinian Formula 1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio, whom Horacio had met during his youth in Argentina, and who supposed a personal reference for him, but due to Fangio's death in 1995, Horacio decided to baptize his creation as Zonda, like the powerful wind that blows in the the Andes mountains and that crosses a big portion of South America.

Before his death though, Fangio made his disciple one last gift that consisted in introducing him to doctor Dieter Zietsche, head engineer at Mercedes, who months later would agree to supply the V12 that would power his prototype.

Since the beginnings of the project, Horacio was certain the car would be built with as much carbon fiber as possible due to its lightness and extreme resistance, properties that make it a perfect material for any vehicle, even more so for a supersports car.
The years he had spent studying and perfecting the manufacturing process of this material, specially during his time in Lamborghini, had made Horacio one of the most proficient person in the world in the matter.

Horacio began to envision and draw the different aspects of the car taking the work and ideas he had been working on years back when he dreamed of building the best supercar in the world as a starting point. One of these sources of inspiration is the Sauber Mercedes C9 that dominated the 1988 C Group season.

The development of the project lasted for about five years during which Modena Design had to keep attending other third party projects to maintain a level of income that would allow them to stay afloat, since Horacio decided to embark himself in the project of giving his surname to the best supercar in the world without any external investments, either private or public, which meant both him and his team had to sharpen their ingenuity to work with very limited means, which, on the other hand only increased his dedication and thirst for success.

Around the summer of 1993 once Horacio had finished the Zonda sketches, the next step was to build a 1:5 scale model of them to take it to his friend the race cars builder Gian Paolo Dallara's wind tunnel in order to submit it to some aerodynamic tests.
The relationship between Horacio and Dallara began around 1984 while Horacio was in Lamborghini and went to perform some aerodynamic tests on a scale model of a prototype he was developing. This relationship turned very prolific through the years, Dallara would demand carbon fiber pieces to Modena Design and they would use Dallara's wind tunnel to fine-tune the aerodynamic of their prototypes.
The wind resistance and aerodynamic load results on the Zonda were more than satisfactory, hence only a handful of changes were applied to the final model. This proves Horacio's great talent and intuition, since both the design and technical solutions he had envisioned though the years were practically perfect without the aid of any machine. His youth years in Argentina during which he built all sorts of vehicles, from a mini bike to a Formula 2 car and even agricultural equipment and his time in Lamborghini had given him such a deep understanding of the physical laws of dynamics, grip, braking etc. and that he could finally put to work to create the supercar of his dreams.

Once the design was finished, it was time to begin building the first Pagani. Thanks to the mastery Horacio had acquired through the years with carbon fiber and other exotic materials, it was going to be possible for him to build a very light car despite having a central V12.
Horacio designed a complex chassis with a carbon fiber cell, like in F1 cars, along with a a steel structure that would give the body a huge torsional rigidity of 26.000 Nm/deg, much higher than any other road car seen to date (the 1992 McLaren F1 had 13.500 Nm/deg) and that was mounted on a steel tubular frame.
Safety was an obsession for Horacio, so he decided to add a roll-bar to the upper part of the chassis. When in 1999 the Zonda was submitted to the crash tests in order to be homologated, the results were extraordinary, which confirmed his vision and know-how.

The design process of the Zonda was meticulous, nearly obsessive, Horacio and his team designed each part individually, and he would never accept the first solution, he always wanted to redesign it in order to make it lighter, more functional and more durable.
Horacio Pagani is a person of a privileged taste and sensibility, but at the same time with such outstanding technical insight, thanks to this was he able to join art and science like no one else had before.
Each individual element of the Zonda is a little piece of jewelery, even those which, once the car assembled, would never see the light until the day it's completely disassembled to be restored. This sense of responsibility and obsession to detail that he so well has managed to transmit to his team and that has always kept him from leaving anything to chance or unfinished, knowing that he could have done better is what has made his cars the most desired and respected.

In 1997 and once the project was about 75% completed, Horacio made a very important injection of capital in Modena Design to acquire the industrial machinery needed to build some components and perform mathematical calculations and verifications. This was the no return point for Pagani. The Zonda was going to be built.

In January 1999, the Zonda C12 was finished and ready to be unveiled to the world, therefore we can say this is also the date Pagani Automobili was born.

Horacio decided to stun the world in the 1999 Geneva (Switzerland) motor show, one of the most important and prestigious dates of the automobile world, where he introduced the silver C12 we see in the picture next to his wife Cristina, whom had supported him so much during the long years the development of the project had lasted, and could finally see the fruit of the efforts of both his husband and his team.

He chose that silver grey colour, which would eventually become the signature colour for the brand as a tribute to the Mercedes "silver arrow" cars from back in the day in which his hero Fangio achieved his multiple victories.

We must understand that in this time the internet wasn't part of the daily life like it is nowadays, hence leaks and spy pictures of development mules were something testimonial and to which very few people had access to, therefore unveilings were for the most part genuine surprises for the big public, like it was Pagani's presentation, who entered the world of high luxury automobiles willing to give names the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or Aston Martin a tough time.

In 2010, Pagani launched the Huayra, the first completely new model since the Zonda. The Huayra supposed a big leap forward for the brand, since it obtained global homologation to be sold globally. This allowed Pagani to enter markets such as USA, China, Hong Kong, Singapur, Japan etc. where the Zonda had to be imported, an arduous and slow process in the best case. Thanks to this it became a globally established brand, being able to compete with names like Bugatti, Koenigsegg or Ferrari in these markets, which greatly increased the demand and desirability of the already built Zondas and the 100 Huayras projected, which in many cases have sold for up to three times their original price on the second hand market.

Around 1995, Horacio began the construction of a modern and bright new factory he designed himself in the outskirts of San Cesario sul Panaro to be able to scale up Modena Design's operations and later on would hold Pagani Automobili's showroom and office space.

This factory perfectly satisfied the production needs until 2008, when Horacio started to think about creating a bigger and more modern space to be able to ramp up production to about 50 cars per year and specially to have a better research and development premises for composite materials and technical innovations.
This new factory is about 5800 square meters (62000 sq ft) and has capacity to produce up to 300 cars per year if necessary and Horacio took inspiration from a greenhouse he saw during his visit to the Chateau de la Grenerie, a French castle owned by one of his customers for its design, which was led by his sons Leonardo and Christopher.
The interior has an area called the Piazza, where mechanics can perform basic maintenance tasks on cars and where customers can unveil their treasures for the first time that recreates a typical Italian square, with a clock tower included.






Pagani Raduno


In 2004, Horacio decided to start Vanishing Point or Pagani Raduno (Italian for rally), a reunion that begins every summer at the Pagani factory in Cesario sul Panaro and in which fortunate Pagani owners drive through Italy for several days staying in the most wonderful and sophisticated hotels.





In November 2016, the Pagani Raduno extended to Japan for 5 days, with several highlights such as a night drive though the streets of Tokio, an Initial D-style Touge run at Hakone Turnpike or an incredible trackday at Fuji Speedway.






In April 2017, the rally crossed the Atlantic to drive through the states of Utah and Arizona, in USA.



Horacio Pagani (1955 - present)


Horacio Raul Pagani was born in Casilda, a small Argentinian town in the Santa Fé region in a middle class family of Italian ascendance. The Pagani family arrived in Argentina in the end of the 19th century, where Pietro, Horacio's great-grandfather founded Panificación Pagani, a bakery that to this day remains the family business.

In the 50's , the core of the Pagani family was formed by Mario and Martha Pagani and their three sons Norah, Horacio and Alejandro. Since a very young age, young Horacio started leaving his imagination fly with the little means an Argentinian kid of the time had at disposal, this way he would carve scale sport cars models out of pieces of balsa wood. Is during this time Horacio starts to develop a profound feeling of admiration towards the national hero Juan Manuel Fangio from reading about his achievements in the Argentinian sports news.

Horacio and his best friend Gustavo Marani "Gustavito" used to alternate between football matches and some faraway place in Casilda and digging their own race track so they could race their toy cars. This allowed Horacio to start putting to practice the techniques and skills he had acquired carving his balsa models. Horacio started instructing the other kids about how to increase the performance of their cars by altering the aerodynamics using cardboard pieces secured with celotape, adding strategically placed lead weights to the cars in order to increase their stability, etc.
Horacio and Gustavito used to read and exchange automotive Argentinian publications like "Mecánica Popular" or "Automundo", and used to take advantage of every chance to acquire more and better publications to enlarge their insatiable thirst for knowledge with, like so they would volunteer to run family errands so they could go to the nearby city of Rosario to buy more special European and American magazines. It was in one of these publications where Horatio discovered what he was going to dedicate his life to.
The boys discovered the car designer profession when they read about Pininfarina, Bertone and the revelation of the time, a young designer named Giorgetto Giugiaro. A profound sentiment of conviction grew within the young Horacio after he saw a design center of the time, with people working surrounded by drawings and sketches of innovative technical solutions they would apply on their cars and from that moment on he realized that was what he wanted to do in his life.


Until that day arrived though, Horacio would keep feeding his thirst for knowledge and perfectionist obsession with the scale models. In 1966, an electric scale model track installed in Casilda, the Scalextric track of the time. Such technological feat raised great expectation among the people of the town, and obviously Horacio and Gustavito weren't going to miss the chance to emulate their hero Fangio and perform such epic battles om the track. Soon the two friends began modifying their cars like they had done with the ones they used in their dirt track, only this time they faced a more sophisticated and technical environment composed by engines, pinions and crowns, rim and tyre combinations, chassis etc.
Tito Ispani, the owner of a well-known scale boat and plane models shop in Casilda, with whom Horacio would spend endless hours learning the different techniques, materials and tools, would be the master and mentor of the two amigos when it came to perfecting their machines and increasing their portfolio of skills and technical knowledge.

In 1968 Horacio was already fully submerged into the automobile, design and racing world, but that 12 year old lad was still greedy for knowledge, he had to resolve all the pieces of the puzzle that was forming in his head. One day, the guy who delivered newspapers and magazines to the Paganis asked them if they wanted to subscribe to a new publication called "Autorama", a weekly encyclopedia dedicated to the car industry, the history of every model and design projects the world around. Horacio obviously wanted it, he had to have it, but his father answered to him that money could be better spent in mundane necessities such as food and clothes for the family. But young Horacio wasn't going to allow for this little setback to stop him, instead, he secretly got to an agreement with the delivery man by which he would pay him a full year's subscription fee upfront in monthly fees and he would collect the issues directly at his house. To be able to afford the payments, Horacio would work in his father Mario's bakery, and in his mother Martha's show, in which she sold baby clothes and other garments designed and knitted by her. Horacio, alike his siblings, had always helped with tasks such as cleaning and tidying the bakery's warehouse, help his father with the deliveries or prepare the Christmas wicker baskets the owners of the companies that formed the buoyant Argentinian metallurgical industry would reward their workers with.

The fruit of his work didn't take long to collect and Horacio added Autorama to his growing library of automotive publications, big part of which he carefully kept under his bed and every night before going to sleep he would scrutinize it pages searching for knowledge about mechanics and the industry.

At this point in his learning, Horacio had already internalized that the most important skills a good designer should have were both technical and aesthetic equally. Leonardo da Vinci was his biggest referent in this regard since he was a kid, and some years later he received a biography about his life, work and inventions. Little by little he started collecting publications about his life until he became a true connoisseur of Leonardo.

Parallel to the study of his favourite inventor, Horacio began a different type of more hands-on learning. He already had the basic notions about industrial manufacturing processes, he knew how to work metal, wood, how to isolate a complex issue and design a solution for it, etc. And it was now time to start joining all these pieces that composed the puzzle of industrial manufacturing.
Casilda in the 60s was a swarm of activity thanks to the buoyant Argentinian heavy industry of the time, more specifically metallurgic, the fathers of some of his close friends were the owners of some of these factories, therefore Horacio wouldn't miss a chance to enter them with the most improbable of excuses and spend the afternoon interrogating the workers about the manufacturing processes or how the different machinery worked. Horacio was in very good terms with most of them and used to reward their patience and kindness with sweets and pastries from his father's bakery like the good diplomat he's always been. From these visits Horacio used to leave with discontinued or broken parts he would then restore, paint, buff etc. so he could then thoroughly study them and understand their workings, the logical and design processes that had led to that shape and functionality, all to the vociferous outrage of his mother Martha, since Horacio kept filling the shelves of his bedroom with these objects that scratched the furniture and broke the aesthetics she so meticulously had created through the years.

One afternoon as he walked out of the house he was marveled by what he saw, a Mercedes-Benz 250 the father of his neighbour friend, Dante Gherardi, the owner of one of the factories, had just bought. A car like that was something unattainable for most people at the time, an incredible finding. Horacio got closer and started inspecting it while walking around. Miss Dante's Gherardi noticed and came out and offered him to go for a spin in it, and our young Horacio's reply left her speechless, he asked her if he could open and close the doors and sit inside to operate the levers and buttons. And so he did: the began processing every detail of the car, every mechanism, the interactions between the different components, the interior fit and finish of such engineering marvel, educating his touch and hearing like a good pianist millimetrically tunes a delicate piano or a surgeon performs a perfect cut to his patients. From that day against the question of what was the best car he had seen he would not hesitate and reply it were Mercedes-Benz.

By 1970 Horacio was a 15 year old teenager ready to do what it took in order to make his dream come true, so he decided to begin his first combustion engine-powered project restoring a motorbike, so he purchased a Legnano which, even though had certainly seen better days, it adjusted to his limited budget and was a perfect base for his first full size adventure.
So he started disassembling it little by little, restoring the parts he could and searching for the rest in scrape yards and garage shops. And for the tasks that were too complicated for him or required specific machinery, he would reach for friends of his that owned repair shops and that were always happy to give him a hand. This way the restoration work was completed in just a few weeks. Horacio enjoyed the process so much, the planning, working the materials, etc. that little after finishing it, he sold it to be able to begin another similar project, this time on an Alpino. The result was equally spectacular for having being executed by a 15 year old teenager with such limited economic and material means.

The next project he embarked himself into, however, was not as successful in its final result but it was another source Horacio extracted experience, knowledge and resiliency against failure from. Horacio had always felt a special fondness for the IKA(Industrias Kaiser Argentina)-Renault Torino, which was originally a AMC (American Motors Corp) Rambler, that was initially sold in Argentina as IKA Torino and years later as Renault Torino. He liked it so much that 3 years before he convinced his father to purchase one. Horacio then embarked in the adventure of building a glass fiber piece that would completely substitute the C pillars from the roof to the tail to convert it into a fastback. In order to be able to successfully completing this task, the first thing he did was enrolling a course in the neighbour city of Rosario, where he would be taught how to work glass fiber. And there he was, the only underage lad surrounded by technicians and engineers with dozens of years of experience. Unfortunately the teacher vanished with the students' money after two lessons. But he wasn't discouraged by this setback, and Horacio found a materials supplier that would teach him the basic notions to be able to begin. First he designed a metal structure with an interwoven steel wire framework that would act as a chassis over which he could apply the fiber. Horacio worked for weeks until he got to the conclusion that with no one to go to and without the knowledge required he would never reach the level of finish he demanded, so he abandoned the project.
This little disappointment was nothing but the chance to redeem himself and take on the next project even stronger and more enthusiastic than ever. Little after he embarked with Gustavito on the build from scratch of a pair of minibikes. The two friends had studied the different phases of the process from their issues of Mecánica Popular. The first thing they did was to gather all the parts they could digging in scrape yards and garage shops with the low budget they had access to.
Gustavito managed for three workers of his father's factory to help them with the project. Every day after they finished their shift, they would stay in the factory to help the lads on their adventure. Every day after school, they would go straight to the factory and would get to work until the workers finished their shift at 6 pm to aid them on the more complex tasks that required such skills the boys hadn't mastered yet like welding, lathing, etc. until 9 when the 5 of them would have a delicious "asado", the typical Argentinian barbecue, animated by jokes and anecdotes of the adults from their long years working.
After six long and intense months, the minibikes were ready and looking brilliant. The result was so good indeed, that the owner of a toy shop in Casilda had them displayed in his shop window for a few days for all the neighbours to admire the result of the meticulous work the boys had put on.

The last project Horacio made while he was in high-school was building a buggie. He found a company that built a glass fiber body kit for it to be mounted on top of a donor car's chassis to build what's known as a kit car. Horacio used a very deteriorated Renault Dauphine he found on a scrape yard as a donor car.
The process was similar to the ones before, he completely disassembled the Renault, and then restored and fixed the parts he could, and the rest he would find in scrape yards and garage shops, although the complexity and precision required had increased from the previous projects. The construction lasted for five long and exhausting months, but the result was well worth it, and a 17 year-old Horacio could be seen driving down the streets of Casilda y his tailor-made unique vehicle he had designed and built himself.

By 1974 Horacio was already 18 years old and it was time to make a decision when it came to his academic future, after considering the options available, he decided to enroll industrial engineering in the Faculty of Fine Arts in La Plata, province of Buenos Aires, about 450 km away from Casilda where he would live in a student residence.
During that time, Argentina was going through turbulent political and social times. The General Juan Perón raised to power in 1973 after a 20 exile abroad of Argentina, and a lot of this violence took place in La Plata. Like it usually happens during these kind of political situations, the public university becomes an ideological target for governments and activists, which, for students with no political inclinations like Horacio who are there solely to study, it can potentially become a big demoralizing element since it avoids for the normal development of the course. This ended up happening in 1975 after the death of General Perón due to the constant miss of course hours and the impossibility of concluding the year normally, therefore the university canceled the year and all the students were sent home.
The following year the situation remained similar, therefore Horacio decided to enroll the Faculty of Engineering of the National University of Rosario, much closer to Casilda and away from the political epicenter. Over there he spent the entire course of 1975, but as months went by, a profound sentiment if frustration and dishearten installed in Horacio. University was not what he had expected. He craved to dive himself into projects like the ones he had developed during his teenage years, working the materials, perfecting design techniques, being able to exploit his creativity etc. Instead he was faced with long hours of theoretical concepts and exams. So against such reality, Horacio decided to follow his instinct that so well had guided him so far and before the end of the year he abandoned university and returned to Casilda to continue with his self-taught apprenticeship.

Finding his own path


The news obviously weren't welcome among the Paganis, since for his parents, who hadn't had the chance to study, seeing their children go to university was the highest pride they could aim for. And it only got worse when Horacio announced he had no intention to get involved with the bakery, but to start his own garage where he would build his vehicles.
Nobody in his circle could understand how a young and intelligent Horacio rejected the comforts of a perfectly established and prosperous business to embark himself in such a risky venture and with such little warranties. But to Horacio's eyes the situation could not be more transparent. So his father Mario decided to give him a piece of land in the outskirts of Casilda he had purchased years prior so that he could lift the headquarters of Horacio Pagani Design.

He sold his buggie and other personal belongings to be able to construct the 80 square meters (860 sq ft) and acquire the machinery needed to develop the orders, which didn't take long to arrive. The first one was to build some high stools for a new bar that was opening in Casilda. These should have integrated footrests and the seat mus be upholstered in leather. Horacio took just two weeks to finish them.
Orders kept coming in and just a few months after starting his entrepreneurial adventure he had recovered his investment, paid off his debts and even saved a small sum.

Against such success, and with morale through the roof, Horacio decided he had acquired the mastery needed to take on more stimulating projects, so he decided to build a caravan, an idea he had been toying around for some time. After six months of hard work the caravan was ready. He called it Alpine and it proudly displayed a "Trailers Pagani" logo.
In September 1976 and about to turn 21, he displayed the Alpine in a commercial expo that was held every year in Casilda, where it had no trouble finding a buyer. As expected the public acknowledged his talent and he received several orders after the expo, ranging from building more caravans to modifying pick-up trucks to hold bigger loads and even equipping a caravan as a rolling studio for Radio Casilda, the town's local radio station.
The recipe for success was a tailored treatment with his customers, Horacio would arrange a meeting with all the members of the family that were to use the vehicle in order to fully understand their likings and needs, then he would present them a preliminary blueprint over which they would agree the pertinent changes to finally seal the project and begin with the development. This way of working supposed a great added value for the customers, something Horario has kept in the most profound of his business until today, 40 years later.

Things were going well for our young (and rightfully) designer, during this time he focused on mastering the fabrication of glass fiber pieces that years before escaped to his knowledge. This technique offered much more flexibility when it came to designing pieces than sheet metal molding, apart from being a much faster and cheaper a procedure, therefore it became a basic resource among his portfolio of skills.
Things were going well for our young (and rightfully) designer, during this time he focused on mastering the fabrication of glass fiber pieces that years before escaped to his knowledge. This technique offered much more flexibility when it came to designing pieces than sheet metal molding, apart from being a much faster and cheaper a procedure, therefore it became a basic resource among his portfolio of skills.
Horacio decided to put his initial savings into building a 50 square meter (538 sq ft) extension for the shed for a total of 130 (1400) he would use as a dedicated design area. As any creator and innovator, Horacio is a highly sensitive person avid of inspiration, hence he needed an space where he could find it, that's why he created a space filled with light and coziness, he installed a floor tiled with mosaics with the initials of H.P., he filled the shelves with the motor books and publications he had accumulated through the years, he also included a piano, a portrait of da Vinci's La Mona Lisa and a big draughtsman's table in which to spend hours drawing and planning his creations. Along with La Mona Lisa, he framed one of his favourite quotes from Leonardo "Those who do not love life do not deserve it". All of these details along with his little canary's cage, conformed the right atmosphere to maximize his creativity and productivity through the long hours he spent designing and building his projects, since he practically lived there. Horacio has always had such a high sense of responsibility and mental resilience, which took him to incrementally increase the difficulty and technical load of his projects to make sure he walked towards reaching mastery in every area that composed design and industrial manufacturing in general and automotive in particular. This lead him to develop projects of very different nature, from agriculture gear, tho the caravans mentioned above or to collaborate with Gustavito, whom by now had started his own venture of beds and orthopedic equipment design and fabrication. All those years of innocent childish curiosity, perseverance and sacrifice had culminated in such highly productive and profitable entrepreneurial activities for both friends, each one in a different field.

The racing bug


Horacio had always wanted to enter the racing world, and an opportunity arose when young driver of the Limitada Santafesina category Alberto Gentili, son of an important Argentinian entrepreneur of the time, came to him to improve his car, which suffered from great reliability and lack of performance issues, which was ruining him championship.
This job was especially interesting since it would allow him to perfect his knowledge about automobile dynamics. Limitada Santafesina cars were small one-seaters with rear-mounted 4 cylinder engines mounted on top of a tubular chassis, they were simple cars that required a far smaller budget compared to more important categories, although not for that lacking of sophistication and technical innovations. Horacio worked tirelessly for twenty one days during which he performed deep improvements to the chassis, making some parts lighter and reinforcing others.
Upon returning, Gentili finished second, which evidenced our young designer's incredible intuition, who took a problematic car of which he knew nothing about and completely overhauled it in a short period of time and without being able to perform any dynamic tests during that process.

When it came to designing the car, they introduced a number of very advanced an innovative solutions, some inspired by Formula 1 like the suspension arms, the center lock wheels instead of 4-lug ones, more common at the time or the brakes, designed by themselves, which forced them to build specific spanners for them. Horacio would meticulously inspect every detail like when he was a child, and started taking pieces home again to continue thinking about them through the night.

The team worked for a year to have the car ready, although with a provisional engine, which they unveiled in a dinner with over 300 guests, including journalists, investors and members of the industry. The press unanimously praised the goodness of the Pagani F2, one of them wrote: "Never in a career spanning almost twenty years, I have seen anything so well made, well finished and well presented". Now they needed a driver and an engine. They received an offer for driver and engine together, but it finally did not materialise. The tension and anguish were falling over the team as weeks went by and they couldn't find an engine. One night, while they were gathered in the workshop, Horacio announced: "The Pagani F2 will have a Renault engine and will be part of the official team". And so he lifted the car in a trailer he had built himself and left to Buenos Aires to meet with the board of Renault Argentina. He talked to them about the car and the team to the general indifference of the audience, which replayed they saw proposals like that every day, to which Horacio replayed by inviting them to go down to the parking lot to see it in person.
An hour later they went down to inspect it an make him a few technical questions about it ad then they returned to their office to deliberate. A few minutes later they came back down and the chairman shook his hand and congratulated him for his youth and the car he had built from scratch and told him Renault would supply the engine and support they needed through the season.

Now they just needed a driver. They got in touch with Agustín Beamonte, previous season's champion, whom apparently was looking for a car, and he went to Casilda to meet them and the car. Beamonte immediately fell in love with the car so they signed the contract right then and there.

In 1979, a 24 year-old Horacio Pagani witnessed Beamonte's debut in the Pagani F2. On the first race the car had to retire early due to a brake issue. The rest of the season was marked by the overwhelming contrast in terms of equipment and resources between the rest of the teams and Pagani-Renault. They finally surrounded to the evidence and gave their adventure as concluded.
But none of them hold as small as a disappointment or frustration feeling doing so, they had got there starting from zero and with very limited means, they had earned the respect of the industry, they had learned a lot and had lived an experience that would stay with them for the rest of their lives, in their own way they were the champions.

The racing adventure had finally lasted for three years, and now Horacio had to re-conduct his business once again. The country's political and economical situation was appalling at the time. The military dictatorship Argentina was submitted to had dismantled the country's industry almost completely.
Horacio began to realise that the country that saw him grow up might not be able to provide him and his business the environment they needed.
During that time Horacio was in love with Cristina, an 18 year old young woman that dreamed with becoming an English teacher. Together they started to envision a future far from Argentina.
His eyes were set on Italy, the country of his ancestors and Leonardo da Vinci and the promised land for the motor industry.
One of the most special orders he had received to date came from the Roads Laboratory of Rosario research and development department and consisted of building two prototype vehicles to measure the roughness of the road through a series of sensors. It was a high tech job and they'd become the first vehicles of this nature in all of Latin America. Horacio recurred to Oreste Berta, a famed Argentinian engineer of the racing world and Horacio's personal child hero for the needed computer equipment in order to perform some mathematical calculations. During the process he mentioned him about his idea of leaving Argentina and asked him of he could arrange a meeting with some Italian manufacturers thanks to his connections in the industry. Oreste proposed him to reach for Gordon Murray, the successful Formula 1 car designer, who was working for Brabham at the time, but Horacio was more akin towards sports cars rather than the racing world, so he sent him to Juan Manuel Fangio, who had a better insight of the European market thanks to his position at Mercedes-Benz, for whom he had driven in the Formula 1.

Horacio arranged a meeting with Fangio in the Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Buenos Aires. In it he showed him pictures of all of his projects, from the balsa wood models, the bikes, the buggie, the caravans, the agricultural machinery, the beds and orthopaedic devices, the roughness meter and finally the Pagani F2 while he explained each one of them. Horacio was impressed by the humble and tranquil nature of Fangio, to whom he explained his intentions of moving to Italy. He was impressed by the projects Horacio had embarked himself into, further confirming all the grueling sleepless nights and all the effort and sacrifice he had made all of these years.
The both of them agreed in seeing each other the next week to prepare some recommendation letters.
The following week Horacio and Cristina returned to the offices to meet with Fangio again, he dictated his secretary five identical letters, each one issued to a different executive of an Italian manufacturer: Enzo Osella, founder of the Osella Formula 1 team, Carlo Chiti from Alfa Romeo, Giulio Alfieri from Lamborghini, Alejandro De Tomaso and Enzo Ferrari. Fangio confessed he had written many presentation letters through the years, but just two recommendation ones, and the first one was for an engineer who had succeed in Maserati.

Horacio finished all his standing orders and in November 1982 he flew to Milan with the intentions of visiting these five men for two weeks. Once there he stayed with the members of the Pagani family residing in Italy in the little town of Appiano Gentile, in the province of Como in northern Italy.

Purely by chance, Horacio discovered that the Bologna Motor Show was being held that weekend, which he didn't know since at that time it was still an unknown event outside of Italy. So he decided to go without knowing exactly what to expect, but to his surprise he discovered Lamborghini had a stand there, so he went to ask for Giulio Alfieri, to which he was responded he would be happy to receive him on Monday after the event.
That day he had scheduled interviews with Mauro Forghieri, technical head of the motorsport division in Ferrari and Alfieri in Lamborghini.

During his interview in Ferrari, Forghieri praised his talent and youth, but unfortunately he could only offer him a position in the Formula 1 team, since the design of their street cars were outsourced mostly with Pininfarina in Turin. This option was not what Horacio looked for, since what he loved was exactly designing sports cars.
Horacio realised Lamborghini aligned better with his character and his way to see things. And yet again his intuition was accurate, the interview with Alfieri went well and he finally offered him a position in the company starting in the middle of the following year to join the development team for the LM, a military-based all terrain vehicle they were working on.

The rest of the interviews developed with a similar pattern: The executives would praise the projects Horacio showed them, acknowledging his talent and worthiness; then they would state the need for multi disciplinary profiles like his in the industry to them regret the delicate economic situation the automobile industry was going through and the impossibility of hiring new young talents like him.

Horacio returned to Casilda euphoric and with very clear ideas. He asked Cristina to marry him for them to begin a new life in the old continent, to which she immediately accepted.
Three months after, 19th of March 1383, the young couple were married to then spend their honey moon in Argentina before traveling to Italy to begin their adventure together. During the weeks prior to the wedding, Horacio liquidated his last standing orders and the bills of Horadio Pagani Design, he sold the possessions he could not take with him like his car, which allowed him to gather a small sum of money that would maintain them during the initial time in Italy until their new life over there started to roll.
However, not all was going to be as rosy as they had thought, since on May 11th 1983, a letter signed by Giulio Alfieri forwarded from Sant'Agata Bolognese arrived to the Pagani residency. In it he explained that due to the financial crisis that was punishing the global economy and the delay on the development of new models, Lamborghini had frozen new hirings indefinitely, therefore Horacio would have to await more prosperous times to join the company.
Against such setback, Horacio instinctively hid the letter and carried on acting like nothing happened, he only confessed it to Cristina and Hugo Racca, a close friend of his.

A new life in Italy


And the day to depart to Italy finally arrived. Once there they would stay in Appiano Gentile with their family for a few weeks and later on they would look for a house. They worked in the artisan workshop of one of the members of the family, always with the firm conviction that soon he would find a job in the automobile sector.
A soon as he could, he went back to Lamborghini to meet Alfieri again, who was very surprised to see him there again. Horacio insisted in transmitting him his determination and conviction he had gone to Italy to build the most beautiful car in the world, and that he would start cleaning the floors of the factory if necessary. Alfieri smiled and asked him for a little bit more patience so he could do the movement he had in mind.

During the summer, Horacio and Cristina moved to a camping, since it was the cheapest solution and they didn't want to spend their savings too quickly, since, although Horacio was fully confident that the situation will eventually resolve itself, they couldn't know when. They spent the summer travelling in the cheapest way possible and enjoying their new life in Italy, they event went to visit Leonardo's house in the Tuscany.

Finally in September 1983, Lamborghini offered him a position as a third-level manual worker (the lowest tier). He was 27 by the time he entered a team of five people in the body shop under the lead of a man who was about to retire soon. Thanks to his multidisciplinary knowledge, he was able to work on several aspects of the LM project, from the body to the mechanics going through designing the interior and the air conditioning system. The job was stimulating and he loved it.

Anyway, his first steps within the company weren't easy. Six months after starting, Alfieri offered him to be in charge of the body department due to his outstanding projection and work, but Horacio rejected it because that position legitimately belonged to the worker he was supposed to replace due to an early retirement pushed by Alfieri, whom he didn't have a good relationship with; but he had no intention of retiring anytime soon, so Horacio chose to step aside. Because of this, dr. Alfieri and him got to an agreement by which he would provide him with small tasks out of the normal workflow of the rest of the team that were stimulating for him since these were jobs that required an investigation process before getting to the design and construction phases, so Horacio could execute the entire process from start to end. And as a compensation he only asked to be granted complete freedom to enter and leave the factory anytime he wanted, since Horacio would wake up at 5 in the morning, cycle to work and wouldn't leave until after 8 at night, and this was an issue because at the time Lamborghini was a highly unionized company, so it was forbidden for workers to extend their day after 5; and to be able to take a nap between 1 and 2 pm, a habit he loved.

During that time, Lamborghini setup a division for researching composite materials, although it didn't have much success initially due to the reticence to change of the older workers, whom preferred aluminium when it came to building a chassis like it had always been done.
This pressure ended up getting to the engineer in charge of the project, who finally ended up quitting. Horacio had a different vision about these materials, which offered some unique characteristics such as extreme lightness and resistance, as well as great easiness to be moulded like glass fiber he so much liked. And so after some to-ing and fro-ing he ended up in front of the project leading a small team of engineers that in 1985 gave birth to the Countach Evoluzione, a prototype with a big mid-mounted V12 that weighed just 1050 kg (2310 lb), some 450 (990) less than the Countach QV5000 (1490 kg, 3300 lb) that was for sale at the time that became the first car with a carbon fiber chassis.
When they tested it at the oval circuit of Nardò, it reached a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), a really impressive figure at the time. But from Lamborghini's management they wouldn't see the potential of this technology, so it went pretty unnoticed and there weren't any more improvements on that field until a few years later.

Horacio is 32 when his second child, Leonardo, was born in 1987, and he becomes chief designer of the brand. He's put in charge of the P140, a prototype to replace the Jalpa as the entry-level car that finally didn't get the green light but served as a base for the Lamborghini Calà, the predecessor of the Gallardo that was launched in 2003 already under the Audi umbrella and that would become the best selling model of the history of Lamborghini.


In 1988 he took lead of the Countach Anniversary, a project to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the brand, and in just four months he performed the design and they built the prototype. This time around they allowed him to use carbon fiber for some body panels, but management refused buying an autoclave, a machine specifically designed for applying pressure and temperature to carbon fiber pieces during the manufacturing process, due to its high cost and, under their point of view, a low return of investment in the short term, even saying that if Ferrari hadn't purchased one yet, they had no need to do it either, hence Horacio only had a rudimentary industrial oven available. Anyhow the car was a commercial success, among other reasons because with the new design, the Countach became homologated in USA, a market they had barely penetrated until that moment. This allowed them a much needed financial solvency until the arrival of the Diablo in 1990. Apart from that the managed to industrialize and streamline the manufacturing process in such a way it allowed them to practically double the production with the same number of workers.

One day, fed up with his bosses' denial to purchase an autoclave, he decided to go to the bank to ask for a loan to acquire one himself and start working for Lamborghini as an official supplier. Once again Horacio assumed a great risk to his personal development and showed going several steps ahead of the industry. This way, he could work on his own way without the boundaries a big company like Lamborghini imposed on certain matters.

The first project that was developed at Modena Design's new workshop was the Countach's front bonnet entirely made of carbon fiber; once finished he showed it in Lamborghini with great success, the finish was so good and the piece so light, that they asked him to build as many carbon fiber parts as possible for the prototype of the Diablo that was to be unveiled in 1990. After analysing every detail, Horacio decided to build the bumpers, front bonnet, door sills and some parts of the interior in carbon fiber.
When Lamborghini finally grasped all of the benefits this new technology offered, they assigned him setting up an internal division identical to his.
The next project they offered him in 1991 was building a car entirely of composite materials to celebrate the 30 years of the brand known internally as L30. During that time Horacio was immerse in other projects such as the restyling of the Lamborghini Diablo VT and was planning recruiting a large number of employees in order to move to a bigger factory since the plan was to build the chassis of the 300 L30 planned at Modena Design.


Unfortunately these plans were truncated due to the contraction of the global economy due to the explosion of the Gulf War in 1990. Chrysler, who owned Lamborghini at the time, cancelled all new projects and froze the ones under development, including the L30 Horacio was working on; in the 30th anniversary of the brand, Lamborghini finally unveiled a restyling of the Diablo in 1994 instead of a new model.
This fact provoked the relationship between Modena Design and Lamborghini to cool down, hence Horacio began to look for other clients in different areas in order to diversify his business, since until then, Lamborghini had been his sole customer. The most notorious projects from this period are collaborations with Aprilia, Dallara or Daihatsu along with items such as a pair of ski boots, a racing horse sulky or saddles for race bikes.


Building the most beautiful car in the world


Around 1993, Horacio was 38 when he began seriously working in a project he had been dreaming about since he was a teenager: building his own supercar. The design of the car started in 1988 as a tribute to Fangio, with whom he had agreed that if he ever built a car in his honour, it would have to have a Mercedes engine. For years he worked in the car parallel to his daily activity at Modena Design. First on the design and the different aspects of the car, and then building a 1:5 scale model on which to perform aerodynamic tests on Dallara's wind tunnel.
Once finished, he built a full scale model of the prototype with dismountable pieces that would later serve as moulds to produce the carbon fiber pieces from due to financial limitations. As Horacio got more involved in the project, the reality became obvious that this was the culmination of his entire life until then, everything he had learnt fused into this car. Because of this, at some point he would have to make a decision to put everything else aside and focus on it, exposing himself, his family and his business to a great risk in case it finally didn't succeed.

By 1997, the sector's financial situation was beginning to show evident signs of improvement, and in the House of the Raging Bull they were preparing a restyling of the Diablo, the VT that would be unveiled the following year. Among the executive they weren't completely happy with the designs proposed, so Ubaldo Sgarzi, the marketing director at the time, introduced the prototype for the Zonda, the Pagani C8 to the rest of the executives proposing transforming it into a Lamborghini and sell it as a completely new model. Modena Design would be in charge of the design and chassis construction, and Lamborghini would supply the mechanical components.
Accepting this would have made Horacio a 42 year-old rich man, but would end up with his dream of building a supercar with his name. Against such disjunctive, Horacio gathered Cristina and his sons in order to treat the matter together. At the time, Modena Design didn't have the financial resources needed to finish the Zonda, so the option of selling made sense. Leonardo, the younger one of the brothers, and who was 10 at the time, asked his father: "Dad, how many Lamborghini cars do you see on the streets? And how many Mercedes? You have been dreaming about building this car all your life and now your dream is coming true. But what if you lose it? Do you think you could cope?".

There was no coming back, so Horacio decided to make the biggest financial investment for the project which was setting up a technical office at Modena Design to be able to perform a number of mathematical calculations and verifications.
In 1998, a group of investors makes an injection of capital to perform the homologation tests and build the first units. Until then Horacio had been able to self-finance, under the conviction that if he didn't believe in the success of the project, others weren't going to do it either.

Bibliography