First launched 20 years at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show, Pagani Automobili S.p.A. was a new name on the exotica scene with an amazing debut model; the breath-taking Zonda hypercar. The Zonda was originally to be called ‘Fangio F1’ after Formula One Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, who assisted with the car’s early development, however, following his death in 1995, it was renamed Zonda, the name given to the hot air current that runs above Argentina.
From the very first 1999 Zonda C12 to the final incarnation of the Zonda, less than 150 examples of the model have been built over the last 20 years, split over a dozen or more different derivatives. All have been powered by a mid-mounted V12 engine, handmade by AMG and ranging in size from 6-litres to 7.3-litres, with power ranging from 444 bhp to a thumping 789 bhp enabling that particular model to achieve a top speed of 221 mph (355 km/h) maximum speed.
On display in the video are the following:
- Zonda C12 (2000): The car that launched the company and Horacio Pagani’s first production supercar. It was an absolute game-changer with its distinctive styling and hand-built Mercedes-AMG 6 Litre V12 engine which then produced 444 bhp, enough to propel the C12 to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
- Zonda F Roadster (2005): The Zonda F (F for Fangio) on display is one of just 25 Roadster examples built. The Zonda F was a substantially re-engineered Zonda, using the hand-crafted 7.3-litre Mercedes-AMG V12, developing 641 bhp. Announced at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show in coupe form, the Zonda F was equipped with extra headlights and different fog lights at the sides, plus new bodywork that improved the car’s aerodynamics. Further enhancements centred on optional carbon/ceramic brakes (measuring 380 mm) and a redesigned “Z preg” weave in the all-carbon fibre crash structure to improve rigidity and reduce weight.
- Zonda Cinque Roadster (2009): As its name suggests, Pagani built just five examples of the Zonda Cinque Roadster which was a 669 bhp road-legal version of the track-only Zonda R. The Zonda Cinque was developed at the request of the Pagani dealer in Hong Kong, with the model intended to be the last iteration of the Zonda. The differences over other Zonda variants were a new three-mode six-speed sequential gearbox, resulting in shifts taking less than 100 milliseconds, dropping the 0–100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time down to just 3.4 seconds. The Cinque also had a revised form of carbon fibre called “carbo-titanium” which incorporated titanium in the weave to increase strength and rigidity, mated to magnesium and titanium suspension components. It also featured revised bodywork, included a longer front splitter, new side skirts, rear diffuser, bumper canards and a flatter underside, as well as a roof-mounted air intake scoop, enabled the Cinque to generate 750 kg (1,653 lb) of down-force at 355 km/h (221 mph) and 1.45 G of cornering force.
- Zonda Tricolore (2010): Just three Tricolore models were built making it one of the rarest of them all. Originally conceived as a one-off, Horacio Pagani decided to make three as a tribute to the Frecce Tricoloi, Italy’s aerobatic team answer to the British Red Arrows. The Tricolore carried much of the body from the Zonda Cinque, the model being unpainted, except for a clear blue lacquer, and red, white, and green stripes from the nose along the top of the car’s surface. Unique to this car was a small wing placed behind the cockpit which reflected the tail wing of Frecce Tricolori’s Aermacchi MB-339 stunt aircraft. The three Tricolores were priced at £1.2 million when new, but are now worth considerably more, as are all Pagani Zondas.
- Zonda 760 Oliver Edition (2016): An exclusive one-off edition of the Pagani Zonda, the unique 760 ‘Oliver’ model was built in 2016 for one of Pagani’s biggest collectors and was based on the 760 RS model. Unlike other special edition Zondas, this 760 has a uniquely designed rear spoiler and was engineered by one of the world GT champions to generate the maximum downforce to give the ultimate grip on the circuit. The car was tested by the Toyota factory driver and GT500 champion Akira Iida on Fuji Speedway during the Pagani Raduno in Japan, with Mr. Iida commenting that the Zonda Oliver Evolution was the best handling and closest to the Zonda Evolution R road car he had ever driven.