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Supercars

Pagani: we will always build special one-off projects

Plus: artificial intelligence won’t be used in the foreseeable future

Published: 09 Jun 2023

Like an indefatigable, end-of-level videogame boss, the Pagani Zonda was a car that refused to give up. Ditto the Huayra, which in its swansong morphed into the ultimate baddie, the unhinged V12 ‘R’. For Pagani, having these two models still swimming in hypercar waters for years was a deliberate tactic.

“We believe that having a car in production for this amount of time helps create a strong attachment for that specific car,” Christopher Pagani – son of Pagani founder Horacio – recently told TopGear.com. “And at the end of the day, we listen to what the clients want.”

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And the clients want something bespoke, one-off, rare and unique to them. “They want something like the Huayra R. They always want a special project, and we will always keep working on that.”

Which means we’ll continue to see bespoke builds and more exotica in the guise of the astonishing Codalunga; the long-tailed, V12-engined Huayra that gets a manual gearbox. That car exists because of a client request – two clients, in fact. Both kicked off the idea, and then worked virtually with Pagani’s studio in tandem going back and forth on the shape and silhouette until everyone was happy.

“The idea with the Codalunga was taking the Huayra that was first unveiled in 2011 – a very clean car, very simple shape, no wings, not a lot of craziness in the design – and elevating that design into something with a long tail.

“We don’t use a lot of exposed carbon for this car, it’s mainly fully painted, so you can see the shapes of it. It [recalls] the cars of the Sixties. It’s about creating something that looks back at the past, but projects it into the future, because we still have to homologate these cars. We still have to crash test them.”

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The inclusion of a manual gearbox? Another customer request. “We had a lot of requests [for a manual] after the Zonda. With the Huayra it wasn’t possible to add a manual transmission. The problem we faced with the Utopia is the torque – more than 1,100NM (811lb ft).” He notes how this monster torque figure necessitated a lot of testing, a lot of back and forth, experience and of course, time. But out of that emerged a seven-speed manual developed in house (with a little help from Xtrac).

Pagani also notes how both manual and automatic gearboxes will continue to be offered on the Utopia, at least for the foreseeable. "If you look at what Zonda and Huayra have done, we want to do the same,” he said, referring to their long lives. And we know they’re working hard on keeping the V12 too – as important a part of Pagani as Leonardo da Vinci is to their design philosophy.

And speaking of Leo, when asked about a potential use of artificial intelligence, Pagani told TG: “Generally speaking, we are more tactile. Our cars are designed by people, by hands. And they’re built by hands. If you look at Pagani and how we do things, we have an approach into studying what’s going to happen in the next car without really looking at what the data can find.

“We find inspiration from things that are different from other cars. We look at nature, at different elements, not just an evolution of the existing car. The knowledge that we’ve taken in the last 30 years is the word of Leonardo da Vinci, the combination of art and science, and we still believe in those things and approach our products in that way.”

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About future products, Pagani once more reiterated the importance of customer feedback. “Listening to our customers is the most amazing thing we have. My father has always said ‘this is not a car I'm designing for me, this is a car I'm designing for the enthusiast out there’. So you have to read their passion.

“If you keep yourself very open to your public, you will understand what the future is going to look like. Maybe flying cars!”

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