Words and photos by Ulysses Ang

ON ITS 20th anniversary, the Autohub Group announces that they have been appointed as the exclusive selling agent of Pagani in the Philippines. The deal was formalized by the arrival of Horacio Pagani, the founder of Pagani Automobili. This comes a year after the Autohub Group announced its plans to bring in the ultra-exclusive Italian hypercar brand.

Since every Pagani automobile is bespoke, the Autohub Group is in the process of setting up a Pagani Lounge in Bonifacio Global City where interested buyers are given the chance to explore various customization options. If the buyer has specific requirements, the Autohub Group can make those arrangements.

“We first met Horacio Pagani back in 2015 in Shanghai, China and then we visited the Pagani factory in Modena, Italy in the same year,” reveals Willy Tee Ten, Autohub Group president. “He’s a really humble guy considering what he did for the whole automobile industry. Now that he’s in Manila, I’m looking forward to seeing his creations on our roads very soon.”

Mr. Tee Ten reveals that several people have already expressed interest in acquiring a Pagani, but he cannot elaborate further citing customer privacy. He did offer hints that pricing for the standard model starts at €1.056 million (approximately P62.67 million). Looking through the options list, some bespoke features can quickly escalate the price. The “Full Carbon Bodywork,” for example will set owners back €112,500 (P6.67 million). It won’t be an exaggeration to expect a Pagani to cost something north of P100 million apiece.

To that end, Mr. Pagani sees purchasing his hypercar as the ultimate dream.

Born in Argentina, Mr. Pagani came from a family of bakers. Yet, at an early age, he showed a keen interest in the mechanical. A self-taught car designer, he moved to Italy to pursue his passion. He ended up working at Lamborghini where he built the Countach Evoluzione — a one-off prototype used by the Italian supercar maker as a testbed. It was here when he toyed with the idea of building cars using carbon fiber composites. Unfortunately, when he approached Lamborghini’s management at the time, they refused. Eventually, Pagani broke off, forming the car company that bears his name in 1992.

Despite the company growing to 177 artisans, Mr. Pagani remains in charge of everything. He has a hand in every part of the design and engineering, and even personally meets every new owner as they accept delivery of their new car.

As Mr. Pagani set foot in Manila, he does so in the wake of an important milestone. Coinciding with the Autohub Group’s 20th anniversary, Pagani is also celebrating the 20th year since the brand’s first commercial release, the Zonda C12. Debuting at the 1999 Geneva International Motor Show, it took Pagani seven years to build and it fused Formula One technology with the science of space rocketry, rightfully earning it the status of “the hypercar.”

Mr. Pagani says his cars are inspired by objects that are imbued with art and science, design and engineering, emotion and functionality. He considers jet fighters and endurance racers as some of his inspirations. He also likens the making of his hypercar to putting together a high-end Swiss watch like a Patek Philippe.

“When I got to see Patek Philippe watches being made, I realized that they combine the precision of machine-made parts with the warmth of human craftsmanship. It’s the same feeling we have at Pagani Automobili. The parts are all precision-made by machines, but the way each of them are designed and assembled, it’s imbued with the unmistakable human touch,” Mr. Pagani says.

Today, the Zonda’s successor, the Huayra is just as celebrated as its predecessor. It has helped Pagani grow from the dream of a single man to a company with 177 artisans, all driven by the same passion that birthed the Zonda. Each car that comes out of the Modena-based atelier is a hand-built work of art, continuing the original spirit that defined the first Zonda.