Rich Pickings: When Money Is No Object – The Big Picture

#hashtags: #Fitzgerald #Pagani Automobili #Britain #Zonda #Paganis #Huayra #Middle East #Pagani

The very rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed, are different from you and me. The man from Pagani Automobili was explaining that Britain had been the biggest market in the world for the original Zonda when I asked how many Paganis there were in the country. He paused. “It’s difficult to say,” he shrugged. “The owners often take their cars with them when they travel.” He nodded at a white Huayra parked nearby. “That car,” he said, “came in from the Middle East a few days ago. The owner wanted to drive it while he was here.” We were inside an anonymous building in the middle of a quiet, nondescript industrial park just off London’s traffic-choked North Circular Road. There’s a small Pagani Automobili sign outside above the large roller door, the only clue that a handful of the hand-built Italian hypercars—two Zondas and four Huayras, collectively worth about $10 million—are parked behind it. There’s war in Syria, economic jitters in China, and a clown car circus on Capitol Hill, but in the rarified world of Pagani Automobili, where customers routinely spend $2 million or more on a car, business is humming along nicely, thank you. The United States is now Pagani’s single largest market, accounting for 60 percent of sales of the 720-hp, twin-turbo V-12-powered Huayra coupe. You’re not likely to trip over one in your local Wal-Mart parking lot anytime soon, though: Only 100 are being built, and chassis number 91 has just rolled off the assembly line. Huayra production started in 2011; time marches to a different beat in Horacio Pagani’s tiny atelier near Modena. The London office, where five full-time staff will look after sales and service, hints at changes ahead for Pagani. A new factory, five times bigger than the current facility, is nearing completion in Italy. It’s been under construction for several years, and, true to form, Horacio Pagani himself is obsessing over every tiny detail of the design and construction. Beyond that, though, the impending completion of the Huayra coupe’s production run raises an obvious question: What next? To them a Pagani is not just a car but a rolling work of art, the singular product of one man’s singular passion, painstakingly created and beautifully rendered. If the Zonda’s evolution is any guide, we’ll see some special-edition Huayras, plus an open-top version, in the coming years. Insiders remain tight-lipped, but the Geneva show has long been a favored venue for unveiling new Paganis—both the original Zonda C12 and Huayra were first shown there—so a special-edition Huayra might appear in Switzerland in March. And with a burgeoning customer base now here in the U.S., Monterey Car Week in August would make the perfect target-rich environment for launching a Huayra Roadster. That new factory means Horacio Pagani is clearly thinking beyond 2021, when, if the Huayra follows the Zonda’s trajectory, an all-new Pagani hypercar is due to make its debut. But it also means he’ll soon have the room to make good on rumors a second model will be added to the Pagani portfolio. The Pagani Huayra is fast, powerful, and extreme. But that’s not why cashed-up aficionados buy it. That there might be faster, more powerful, more extreme hypercars, some of which don’t cost as much money, is entirely beside the point: To them a Pagani is not just a car but a rolling work of art, the singular product of one man’s singular passion, painstakingly created and beautifully rendered. And like all wealthy art collectors, they want more from their favorite artist. So if Horacio Pagani creates a second model, what sort of car will it be? A track-focused sports car? A four-door? An ultra-luxe SUV? (That’s not as far-fetched as you might think; while at Lamborghini Horacio worked on the LM002 off-roader.) Whatever it is, count on it being fast, powerful, and extreme. But it may also be highly customizable, to the point of offering bespoke body panels. And it most likely will cost more than a Huayra. Because the very rich are different from you and me.