It seems like we are awash with super, hyper, and megacars today, with some new record-smashing land rocket released every month. But 20 years ago, as the 20th Century became the 21st, the top echelon of road cars was still recovering from the worldwide recession of the early 1990s. But the Pagani Zonda changed this at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show.
Plenty of supercar start-ups have come and gone through the ages, but the Zonda C12, named after a hot air current above Argentina, was different. Built around a carbon-fibre frame and powered by a Mercedes V12 it was the wildest supercar seen in years, and it scored rave reviews for its driving dynamics.
All up 140 Zondas have been built over the model’s 18-year production run, with updates in engine size and power, and interior and bodywork options.
The C12 was replaced by the faster, more powerful C12S, which was then superseded by a faster Zonda S 7.3 in 2002, which also added traction control and ABS as standard. For 2003 Pagani debuted a Roadster model, of which they built 40 examples.
The 2005 Zonda F saw significant upgrades to the Zonda platform, though only 25 of the 443kW twin-turbo V12 brutes were built, followed by 25 Zonda F Roadsters making 478kW. Several other special editions were built, including the Cinque, Cinque Roadster and Tricolore, though only in very limited numbers.
While the original C12 listed for US$280,000, and the C12S US$350,000, the later special-edition models rapidly increased in price. A Zonda F listed at US$1,400,000 new, while the three Zonda HP Barchettas sold in 2017, the last Zonda-based vehicles Pagani made, were snapped up for US$17,500,000 each.
Australia has been home to a yellow Zonda Roadster for several years now, with that car reported to be valued around the $3,000,000 mark. Anyone looking to bring a Zonda into Australia should budget having to shell out more than $1,000,000 in import taxes and duties, before they attempt to register the car.
Is the Zonda cooler than any Lamborghini or Ferrari? Let us know in the comments.