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A supercar legend visits Manila

It’s been twenty years since the Zonda was released, and Horacio Pagani is celebrating.

It’s 2019, and Horacio Pagani is in the mood to celebrate. The occasion? The 20th anniversary of the brand’s first ever commercial release, the Zonda C12.

Debuting at the 1999 Geneva International Motor Show, it was unlike any other car at the time it was introduced. The Zonda used F1 technology and the science of space rocketry, rightfully earning the status of hypercar and outclassing all other supercars.

There was more to the Zonda than its specs. What truly set it apart was the extreme attention that Pagani himself put into every detail. A self-taught car designer, the founder of Pagani Automibili took seven years to develop the Zonda, combining emotion and functionality, art and science at each step of the way.

Twenty years later, the Zonda remains one of the most iconic cars ever made, and at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, Pagani presented the completely restored chassis of the very first Zonda ever made.

Speaking to a small crowd of motoring journalists and enthusiasts at the presidential suite of the Manila Hotel, Argentinian-born Pagani shared his memories of the Zonda, recounting his struggles and learnings over the years, especially the relationships he’s developed with the people he has worked with over the past two decades. Alberto Giovanelli, the Global Sales Manager of Pagani Limited, was on hand to help with translating for Pagani.

“His role model could be anyone he comes across every day of his life,” Giovanelli explained to Mantle. “He’s very curious, he likes to talk to people, he likes to learn something from everybody. Basically, working with his mind and hands open because he believes that there’s something special in everybody.”

Pagani’s eyes were bright and animated as he responded to Mantle Magazine’s questions with aplomb, which Giovanelli was more than happy to reiterate. “Most of the people around him really give him the motivation, give him inspiration, give him a different angle on matters and things that he comes across every day.”

The Zonda ended its production run in 2017, but Pagani’s follow-up offering, the Huayra, has found just as much success, and is likewise a celebrated piece of hypercar history.

From the dream of a single man, and with the help of a few collaborators, Pagani Automibili has since grown to include 177 enthusiasts and artisans, all driven by the same passion that birthed the Zonda. Each car to come out of the Modena-based atelier is a hand-built work of art, combining the science of speed with the artistry of the human soul—a testament to the original spirit of the very first Zonda.