Pagani, the pantomime horse of supercar manufacturers has done it again.  It has built a machine that not only pushes the boundaries of what a supercar can be, but one that continues the momentum made by Pagani to become an automobile manufacturer with a proper heritage.   The car is called the Huayra, pronounced who-wire-ra, and it has the almost impossible job of replacing the amazing Pagani Zonda.

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Pagani, and the Zonda are relatively new to the automotive world.  Born around the turn of this century, Pagani aimed straight for such venerable marques as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche.  Unlike others who tried and failed, Pagani did not rely entirely on technology, or performance.  They wanted to be Farrah Fawcett.  Their goal was to replace the Lamborghini Countach as a boyhood pinup poster icon.  And, they did. 

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Simply put, the Zonda was the embodiment of a supercar.  It didn’t have the grace and élan of an Aston Martin, or the panache of a Bugatti, it had something entirely different.  Where Mercedes-Benz  is Susan Boyle, the Pagani is Lady Gaga in her meat dress, riding Marilyn Manson through a crowd of nuns. 

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Huayra, named after a Andean wind god, is a friend of the wind.  Where the Zonda just tore it a new one, the Huayra is more subtle.  The carbon fiber and carbon-titanium shell has four flaps designed to morph the body and change the airflow, all working independently and automatically.  Front ride height is adjustable to also manage airflow, and even raises during hard braking.  Of course, the car is a study in the beauty of carbon fiber, with lines that accentuate the massively wide rear end and tapered nose.  The look is more like a Group C race car made for the street, and is finished with a set of with AMG style gull wing doors.

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Inside the car looks like Hermes meets steampunk.  The finest leather is accented by more carbon fiber and massive amounts of aluminum.  Think Spyker, without the 1940’s influence.  Gadgetry includes a beautiful center console and instrument panel bathed in crystal blue lighting, with GPS and a flashy infotainment center.  Milled aluminum abounds, with oversized switches that appear to be lifted from a WWII fighter.  Everything is hand crafted, purposeful, and perfectly weighted.  Glass all around gives the interior an airy feeling of a larger car.  Even the key is a block of milled aluminum, designed to impress anyone who sees it. 

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Underneath the car is all Pagani, thanks to the folks at Mercedes-Benz AMG.  The engine is a 6.0 liter twin turbo V12, able to generate a massive 700+ horsepower, and 730 pound-feet of torque.  The gearbox is a quick shifting, single clutch, automated manual transmission system taken from the Zonda F.  Built by UK race specialist XTRAK, it sports both a manual style shifter and paddles on the wheel.  Brakes will be air-assisted, and massive.  There are plans for a sport version that will boast 730 horses, and 811 pound-feet of torque, hopefully available soon.  Top speed is estimated at 230mph, with 0-62 times of around 3.3 seconds..so far. 

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Most of us will never need to remember any of these details, because none of us will ever see the car in the flesh.  At approximately 1.4 million dollars, you won’t have to worry about your neighbor rolling one out on the weekends.  This car will only inhabit the internet, and the occasional Top Gear episode. 

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Finally, though the car has been panned by automotive critics for looking like a catfish, I disagree.  I think the styling updates the Zonda shape into a more refined road car.  Of course, blogs like Jalopnik and Motor Authority are geared to the edgy “tween” reader, and are required to snark about almost everything…which is why I ignore their drivel.  Just as the XJS had trouble following the E-type, the Huayra will have some growing pains with the Zonda as its daddy.  Given some time, I think the shape will age quite nicely.

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Photos courtesy of paganiautomobili.it

Article courtesy of Chris Raymond

 

 

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