Pagani Comes to America…at Long Last!

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Anyone who has ever seen Mel Gibson’s love-it-or-hate-it 2006 film Apocalypto will surely recall the movie’s thrilling climax.  As the villainous Mayan warrior from an invading rival tribe bears down on our hero, a nice-guy Mayan hunter, both are suddenly frozen into awed indifference by the sight of a Spanish conquistador galleon landing on the coast, in what is clearly the natives’ first encounter with modern European technology.  I could only imagine their reaction if faced with the Huayra, the new exotic supercar from Italian boutique manufacturer Pagani.

Admittedly, the correlation between a modern Italian sports car and fictitious Mayan rivals from centuries ago is not obvious, so allow me to elaborate.  Like the conquistador invasion, the Huayra is a bit of a game changer, being the first Pagani ever to be marketed and sold in the United States.  That’s right supercar geeks, as clarified in a press release yesterday, Pagani is finally coming to America.  Of course, U.S. sports car aficionados have long coveted an in-person glimpse of any of Pagani’s previous limited production cars, almost all of which are named Zonda.  But unless you either happened to be working on the 2006 Jay Z music video for the single “Show Me What You Got” (in which pro driver Danica Patrick races the rapper while driving a Zonda), or are a collector willing to invest in a gray market car that can never be legally driven under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations (nothing like paying a million dollars for a brand new supercar that just sits in your garage), there’s little chance that you’ve seen a Pagani in the flesh…or the carbon fiber, as it were.

The Huayra will change all that, as well as the balance of power in the highly competitive American supercar market.  Still being meticulously perfected after five years of development, the Huayra features a carbo-titanium monocoque and gullwing doors, and is powered by a turbocharged V-12 capable of 700 horsepower and a staggering 737 lb-ft of torque!  To boot, Pagani boasts that full power will be available throughout the tachometer range, with no turbo lag at lower rpm.  Bold words, indeed.  And, the manufacturer claims that at 2,976 lbs, the Huayra will be the lightest car in its class (weighing in at about 66 lbs less than a Ferrari 458 Italia).  Specifics of an official North American unveiling and future pricing and distribution are to be announced in the coming weeks, but expect well over half a million dollars and a long wait list.

There’s one more, far stronger connection between pre-Columbian South American culture and the new American-bound Pagani.  The Huayra is actually named for Huayra Tata, a two-headed god wrapped in snakes that took the form of hurricane whirlwinds.  Seems fairly apropos, considering the dual air intakes that sandwich the cockpit’s rear end, and the car’s aerodynamic silhouette and expectedly wind-like performance.  So what culture, exactly, worshipped this Huayra Tata?  You guessed it…pre-Columbian indigenous tribes of South America.  Which also sort of makes sense considering that Pagani’s principle designer and namesake, Horacio Pagani, is a native of Argentina.  Who would have ever thought that notions of the windswept Patagonia would so seamlessly lend themselves to a breathtaking new hyper-exotic supercar?

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