“The purchase price was $2.3 million and I believe this is the last Zonda R that Pagani produced.” – Peter Klutt
What the heck's a Panini, err, Pagani?
With the great Italian marques now being mass-produced as subsidiaries of manufacturing behemoths - Ferrari and Maserati by FIAT, Lamborghini by Volkswagen - Horacio Pagani, creator and namesake of the Modena-based company, set out to build a car that met his vision of an exotic.
"Every supercar has its own identity and it's difficult to make comparisons," Pagani told us via e-mail in his native Spanish. "Personally, I am very passionate about cars and I love the other makes, especially when they create vehicles with strong emotional content. Although today, it's a bit more difficult to appreciate this characteristic when thousands of vehicles are being produced."
Pagani, an Argentinean engineer transplanted into the heart of Italian exotic car country, worked for a time at Lamborghini before branching out on his own. In 1999, at the Geneva Auto Show, the then-unknown Pagani Automobili S.p.A. introduced its first complete car, the stunning Zonda C12.
It was groundbreaking for the time, because of its hand-built construction, bespoke style, incredible quality and Mercedes-Benz AMG V12 powerplant (That last detail is rather un-Italian, but most people forget all about it when they heard the engine fire up...)
Eleven years later, with the Zonda line nearing the end of its lifecycle, Pagani decided to send the car out with a bang by producing a handful of special racetrack-only models. Hence, the Zonda R you see here.
Some facts: 740 horsepower via a 6.0-litre Mercedes-Benz AMG V12 engine, a bespoke sequential gearbox, Ohlins adjustable dampers and bodywork made of carbotanium (not a relative of kryptonite, but a real blend of carbon and titanium fibres). The result is a machine that tips the scales at just over 1,000
kilograms (2,200 lbs.). A basic Toyota Corolla's 500 lbs.
heavier. Zero to 100 km/h takes just 2.7 seconds. This is the supercar stratosphere.
A roll-cage, fire suppression system and fuel cell are standard and there's no turn signals, which means this Zonda R's not fit for legal road use on any street on planet earth. On the flipside, this car's seats, harnesses and treaded Pirelli P Zero tires won't meet modern racing rules.
This then, is the world's most expensive private trackday toy.
The attention to detail is mind-blowing.
How'd it get here?
And so you can imagine our surprise when we heard this example of automotive unobtainium turned up in, of all places, Milton.
Peter Klutt and his team at Legendary Motorcar Company (LMC), a firm whose reputation is strongly tied to American muscle cars, are the caretakers of this hand-made machine. Klutt told us he's been with this Zonda R from the beginning. With just 16 examples in the world, he said this is perhaps the only one of its kind in North America.
The adventure started when a client approached Klutt to purchase one of these Zonda Rs on his behalf. In fact, this client is so secretive, all we've been able to glean from LMC is his gender."The order process took a full year, from the time we placed the order until the time we received the car," Klutt said.
"The purchase price was $2.3 million and I believe this is the last Zonda R that Pagani produced." It's also the only one with a glossy carbon-fibre finish, where the other Rs all have a matte finish, according to Klutt.
Of course, when you buy a bespoke exotic, there's more to taking ownership than just picking up the car at your dealer and driving off. For Pagani's customers, it's a hands-on process. "We flew over to Italy and test drove it first at a race track just outside Modena," Klutt explained. "From there, they put it in a container and flew it over to us."
LMC's role as caretaker includes, among other things, taking the vehicle to the track for the owner, preparing it for circuit use and performing basic maintenance between events. I asked if any special equipment was required and Klutt chuckled: "Pagani sent over a crate—one of those crates that Formula One teams use—full of tools! There's about $15,000 worth of tools between the computer, stands, pneumatic jacks and the special impact gun for the wheel nuts."
Klutt told me that his client plans to enjoy just three to four track days a year with this car. With a cost-per-lap that rivals Formula One racing, this mysterious owner must be a true enthusiast.