Car Builder>> Pagani Factory Tour Pt.1

It's just over a month ago now that Dino and I parted ways in Italy to return to our respective countries. In relative terms, it wasn't that long ago, but for me it seems like a lifetime away. A lot has happened since then… So it's a bit strange now to be staring at these photos of the Pagani factory, trying to bring myself back to the immediate experience of the place….Hmmm… perhaps I didn't get enough sleep last night… blech…

Anyway… let's get this story going… Our main purpose in visiting Italy last month was to shoot a film with the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12 at the FIA GT Adria race… but I figured that it would be a good idea to massage the rather extensive Need for Speed automotive rolodex and set up some Speedhunting stories too. Pagani have always been rather friendly and collaborative with us and with one email we were in the door. Amazingly enough, they agreed to give fellow Speedhunter Dino Dalle Carbonare and I an extensive four hour tour of the factory along with complete open photographic access. Crazy!

The Pagani facility is situated in a small, non-descript industrial park… On initial approach, it's nothing particularly interesting, but as soon as you arrive at the factory and peer through the security gate, you can see this is no ordinary setup. What goes on inside the Pagani building is truly special.

Navigating past the gate, we found ourselves in the main showroom. Now, this is the first time I've ever had the pleasure of seeing a Zonda in real life. I've seen the cars many times on Top Gear and have also sampled the car in pre-release versions of Need for Speed SHIFT.

So you can imagine my delight at being greeted by not one but two of these hardcore supercars….

As I watched a customer car coming through the gates, our Pagani host arrived and we were taken into the factory area.

The first port of call was the main assembly area.

This is basically a large, open room in which each car is hand-assembled by a small group of technicians. Here we have Zonda R chassis number two taking shape.

On the other end of the room was this new model Zonda Cinque in an early stage of assembly. The Cinque is an extremely limited run of five chassis, said to be a street-legal cross between the Zonda R and F models.

Pagani is quite proud of the new carbon fiber weave developed for this car. It includes a layer of titanium strands imbedded into the material, resulting in greater strength and reduced weight. The material looks pretty difficult to work with, as the titanium threads are sharp. I poked my finger just holding this piece of dry weave!

This Cinque has a pretty long road ahead of it before it will be ready to drive. Each car takes several months to hand assemble, with approximately ten cars completed per year.

This shot shows how the Zonda is comprised of a center carbon fiber monocoque mated to a rear tube chassis assembly.

It's quite incredible that Pagani have allowed us to photograph these unfinished cars, isn't it? Hats off to them for being so open.

Looks like the car is still in a preliminary stage of wiring.

BTW, both Dino and myself made a point of dressing a little more formally for this appointment. We had to look reasonably professional for such an important photo shoot!

Check out the design on the valve cover…. beautiful.

Here's the AMG Mercedes sourced V12 engine. 

A nice close-up shot of the engine's headers… Dino and I were looking at each other during the whole factory tour as if to say "OMG I can't beleive they are letting us photograph this!"

Mind you, I was doing my best not to come across like an over-enthusiastic school boy… It was pretty hard to contain myself when looking at the Zonda R though. Just look at this thing!

The rims are forged magnesium. Trick.

May this car ever be free of paint.

A nice detail shot of the Zonda R's engine bay.

The cockpit. Although similar in looks to the normal Zonda, the R model only shares around 10% of its parts with the road legal version of the car.

Together with the Ferrari FXX this is probably one of the most extreme track day cars in the world. I do wonder what kind of mechanical support would be needed to run one of these beasts at a private track day… would you need a team of engineers just to keep it running? Ferrari's approach with the FXX is to not let you keep your machine — you show up and drive it with their technicians on hand to keep the car going. With the Zonda R, this is not the case — it's up to you (one of ten lucky people to buy one of these cars) to tune and maintain the car. I suppose if you can afford one of these rare cars, then this wouldn't be an issue.

Let's just hope these cars get used on the tracks and don't just end up stored in warehouses as investment opportunities.

Part of the Pagani philosophy is that every single part of the car must be a work of art. This modus operandi is nowhere more evident than in the R's mirrors.

We asked the mechanics to mock up the rear body on the R to get a sense of the overall lines of the car. I just love this machine. It looks like a Group C racer.

Here we can examine the tail lamp assembly.

A shelving unit behind the Zonda R houses parts for it.

These are the shifter paddles for the steering wheel. They weigh almost nothing…

Beside the car, all the necessary nuts and bolts for assembly are housed…

… and engine bay and suspension parts stand ready for final assembly.

Each car has has an assembly book attached to it. It contains a record of each step necessary for the buildup of each car. As the builders proceed through each section of the car's assembly they check and sign off each step. This ensures that each car is assembled to a clear cut, exacting standard. This hand-built process is how super cars used to be built in the Modena area at such factories as Lamborghini and Ferrari… these companies have moved on to assembly line processes, but Pagani still carries on with the traditional method; a blend of the high tech and the hand crafted.

K I hope you Speedhunters readers appreciate having this kind of access… I still can't beleive that we were allowed to shoot these photos! Perhaps it was all a dream?


Part two coming soon.


Speedhunting in Italy Stories

Exotics & Luxury Features on Speedhunters



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

OMG, amazing job on the story and photo's. I wish I had dreams like this....


Bring on part two!! Dare I say I dream of this car more than my beloved Ferrari F430.


Man I wish I could go there. It's amazing how much a relatively new auto company can accomplish. Waiting for more!


desktops of the second and third picture!


that's awesome.... Zonda....


pictures 2 and 11 from the bottom intreague me, this makes me want to know more about inboard suspension systems, o and btw the Zonda R might be one of the most impressive works of detail and perfection in track car history


Indeed, 4 thumbs up for this superb article as well as the people at Pagani! :D

Now to await part deux! ;)


By far, this is one of my Fave Write Ups, hands down!!! OH MY GOSH, this stuff is orgasmic. brings the nerd out of me. Thank you Rod & Dino.


Amazing pics and great article guys. I really can't wait to see part 2.


IMO Pagani makes some of the few supercars left in the world. Supercar is a term thrown around a lot these days but few cars really live up to it in all regards. Pagani makes sure to not only have supercar performance but like the days of old when Lambo released the Countache, the car itself is wild and crazy unlike anything else found on the road. Real supercar styling is still around but not upheld by many and thankfully Zonda is one of those few still keeping the tradition of supercar building the way it was originally thought out. Great story Rod and Dino keep it up!


Dino, you're one of the luckiest fvckers on earth.

You know that right?!..






looks like a great place to work...doesnt look like the shop i work at! thats for sure....always loved these cars and to see them in such raw form of their birth is awesome. thanks alot!


Wow, seriously, I'd never expected to see such detailed pics of the cars while building in progress, truly an invaluable opportunity, thanks for the effort guys!


simply stunning wow i was waiting for this and i must say great great job .... need some high res wallpapers of the zonda r like close wallpapers that be really kool or maybe 2 wallpapers into one with photo shop or something etcc.... but great job


@ Rod:

It's Horacio not Haracio.


absolutely brilliant. looking forward to part 2.


Tx Alex... fixed!


Great great great post. Zonda is my favorite, always has been and perhaps always will be. Every little detail is indeed art. Great feature.



u know

im getting my mechanical engineering degree

hopefully in a couple of years ill be working for Pagani


I want to work there!


Beautiful !


thankyou for posting this. amazing! what beautiful photos and what a fantastic company. thumbs up for pagani!


i've said it before, but this car the real life version of the black devil car in the ridge racer games. same black with yellow trim scheme, same menacing presence. that car showed up at the end of the game and was way faster and better looking than anything you had, kicks your ass and taunts you too.


Man even the parts shelves are beautiful! I was hypnotized by the headers for about ten minutes before i continued scrolling downwards


great stuff as usual Rod! keep it up


@ Rod

The engine you pointed out is actually the 6.0L V12 from the Zonda R, which is pretty much the engine used in the Mercedes CLK GTR racers, and that bad boy churns out over 700 hp!!

Great story and great pics BTW. Did the people at Pagani drop any hints on the Zonda replacement?!


is that 24-105mm f/4 IS USM lens?


This is an AMAZING post


Holy ****




It took me 30 minutes to go through this post.

My ambitions to be a Porsche Technician have taken back seat.

I aspire to someday be able to work in that Pagani Factory, Honestly, How would i be able to get this 'job'?

Reading this was truly inspiring


amazing piece of motorvehicle engineering i wish i had your jobs respect


That's an awesome post, thanks for the pics!!!


is there any job vacancy at Pagani? i like to apply....


halo halo halo halo halo halo..............................


I'm sure you all have already repeatedly thanked the folks at Pagani for the tour and the access but, after reading the story and looking at the pictures, I can't encourage y'all enough to continue to thank them and let them know how incredibly cool it is/was of them to allow such access. I can't think of any other manufacturer/race team/etc that would even consider giving anyone, much less journalists, such access. When the pictures that were taken are added into the equation...well, now my mind is just blown.

Awesome story. Incredible photos. Über-kudos to Pagani Automobili S.p.A. and Keep up the outstanding work!!!


And now for the final category of the 2009 Speedhunters Awards, Speed Demon of the Year. As the name


"Chi non ama la vita non la merit" are the words written in a nondescript picture frame hanging