Cars

Philippines, Meet Pagani, the Car Brand Even the Richest Car Collectors Dream About

Its cars have a P74-million price tag. Need we say more?
IMAGE Pagani
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Supercars are “relatively” common nowadays. You see Ferraris or even Lamborghinis on Edsa on Sundays and in exclusive villages on a daily basis. But hypercars? Now that’s a whole other level of “what-the-hell-is-that?” And one of the best is finally coming to our shores.

Philippines, meet Pagani.

Haven’t heard of it? You’re not alone. But among the most ardent (and richest) car enthusiasts, Pagani is in rarified air in terms of heritage, performance, and brand marquee. And to celebrate its 20th anniversary and official entry to the Philippine market, exclusive local distributor Autohub Group flew in Pagani’s legendary designer and founder, Horacio Pagani, for a meet-and-greet with the motoring media at the presidential suite of the iconic Manila Hotel, no less.

Rarest of the rare

To give you an understanding of just how exclusive the brand is, Pagani actually only has two car models with just a few versions: the Zonda which launched the brand in 1999, and the Huayra, which was released in 2016. The brand has also been reported to produce just 40 cars each year. But what makes it stand out from other supercar brands is its out-of-the-box design and use of unique materials.

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The Pagani Zonda HP


The Zonda, in particular, is generally regarded as the car that started the carbon fiber trend, with Horacio Pagani being the pioneer of using composite materials in cars. The design was also ahead of its time, mixing sensual curves with angular lines based on fighter jets. It features a flow that, according to Horacio himself, was designed to mimic a woman’s body when viewed from the top.

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Born in Argentina, Horacio loved car design even when he was just a boy, so much so that he built his first vehicle when he was just in high school. He followed that passion all the way to Italy, where he became one of Lamborghini’s top designers in the ‘80s.

But in the early ’90s, Horacio’s design ideas started deviating from the raging bull’s, so he decided to move on to start his own brand from scratch.

“Lamborghini saw my (carbon fiber) project was going well, but they still didn’t believe in this technology. My work area was disappearing because there was no support from the management of Lamborghini,” said Horacio, as translated by Pagani Global Sales Manager Alberto Giovanelli.

Horacio Pagani flew to the Philippines to mark Pagani's official entry to the Philippines

IMAGE: Cyrian Agujo
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Nowadays, Pagani the brand is almost an anti-thesis to the automation of the car industry. Each car is meticulously and almost entirely handmade, which makes it the ultimate bespoke hypercar. But it’s not all show with no go. A base-model Huayra has a V12 twin-turbo Mercedes AMG engine with 700 hp which gives you zero to 100kph in about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of about 370 kph. Good luck to MMDA officers trying to chase an overspeeding Huayra owner.

But more so than performance, the focus has always been the design.

“They shouldn’t just have a very long commercial life, but every car should also have a time-tested design, something that won’t age very quickly like most of the items we have today,” said Horacio.

A hypercar for the new generation

With such a rich history and hyper-exclusivity, there are definite roadblocks when it comes to introducing the Pagani to the newer generation that’s more into tech and even electric vehicles. But the company seems to be doing well in spite of this.

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“It’s a completely different approach for the new generation and we recognize that. But since recently opening the Pagani North America and offering Huayra, we have started getting a number of much younger individuals buying Pagani, especially from Silicon Valley,” said Horacio.

Mr. Pagani signing diecast models for members of the media


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They are also aware of the electric car trend, but Horacio sees this as a much longer process than what others expect, and not something that can replace hypercars anytime soon.

“For Mr. Pagani, he sees an electric car as a small unit that can go around the metropolitan area like Manila or New York, a transportation for short-range (travels) that’s a good solution (to traffic problems) rather than something that will replace all our cars,” said Giovanelli.

Buying a piece of history

The Pagani Huayra BC

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So what about the price? How much does a car of this level cost? Well, both the Autohub Group and Pagani were understandably and expectedly mum about it, but a quick online search will reveal that a new Huayra reportedly costs somewhere in the neighborhood of a mind-melting $1.4 million or roughly P74 million. Will this thing even sell in the Philippines? You’d be surprised.

“We already have a few customers (here in the Philippines) interested in the Pagani,” shares Willy Tee Ten, president of the Autohub Group. “They’ve been to Modena (Italy) to take a look at the Huayra and some of them are still deciding, and hopefully (they decide to buy) very, very soon.”

At this level of luxury and performance, the price starts to matter less and less. What customers are paying for now isn’t just for a car that is incredibly beautiful and outrageously powerful, but they are now paying to have a piece of history, akin to people buying art pieces worth millions. And with Pagani, they’ll get a moving piece of art that’s designed to last for generations to come.

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Cyrian Agujo
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