After successfully marketing the Zonda for three years, Pagani of Italy has upgraded the Zonda to include a new 7.3-liter V12. Horacio Pagani is the man behind the Zonda. With experience gained by working at Lamborghini, he brought the Zonda C12 into fruition. The first prototype was seen at the 1999 Geneva Auto Show.
As a newcomer to the super car market, Pagani is taking on the top manufacturers. They completed this remarkable car in 1999 and will continue to sell it against the Ferrari Enzo, Porsche Carrera GT and Koenigsegg CC.
Zonda entered the super car market with Pagani’s extended knowledge of carbon fiber construction. Before the car, Pagani manufactured carbon fiber components for third party manufacturers. They now use the Zonda to showcase their high level of carbon fiber craftsmanship and work it to make top flite supercar.
Each Zonda is a carbon fiber masterpiece, with every layer of fiber being carefully lined up. Indeed, the Zonda eclipses Ferrari when it comes to carbon fiber construction. Much of the car sports unpainted, carbon fiber components, reminding the owner of what lies under the glossy paint.
The car is styled by Horacio himself. Early styling assistance comes from the great Juan Manuel Fangio. I have heard that motivation for the car’s lines comes from Mr. Pagani’s wife.
At the center of the Zonda is a Mercedes-Benz, AMG V12. New for 2002 is the 7.3 liter unit found in the 1995 SL 7.3 AMG. This is one of the largest V12s ever used in a road-going car. With increased displacement, no additional horsepower is realized. What the increased displacement offers is more torque earlier in the rpm band.
To cope with the additional torque, the Zonda now equipped with traction control. This is a new feature of the 7.3.
When considering the Zonda, it is hard not to compare it to the Ferrari Enzo. Both cars have a carbon fiber monocoque with a mid ship, V12 driving the rear wheels. Easily, the Ferrari still has many advantages. It wins in shifting, braking, aerodynamics and handling. Remember, these are the most important aspects concerning a race car. Despite that, the Zonda wins based on price and build quality (especially in the carbon fiber department). Both exclusive cars sprint to 60 mph in roughly the same time so you 0-60 junkies can call the cars ‘even’.
The most remarkable fact behind the Zonda is that, as newcomer to the super car market, it still competes with likes of Ferrari and Porsche. The Ferrari Enzo has benefited from fifty years of Ferrari racing while Pagani is entirely new. Horacio Pagani has done a job very few people in the world could do, and that is take on Ferrari with his first product.