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Zonda C12
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1999 - 2000
Numbers built:5
Introduced at:1999 Geneva Motor Show
Designed by:Horacio Pagani
Successor:Pagani Zonda C12 S
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 25, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionHoracio Pagani stunned the world at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show with the introduction of his Zonda C12 supercar. In relative secrecy the Argentinean born designer had managed to design, build and develop the high-performance sports car. This allowed Pagani to present to the world a complete car, creating both supplier and most importantly customer confidence.

Nearly a decade in the making, the Zonda was the culmination of Pagani's extensive work with carbon-fibre composites. As a designer at Lamborghini, he had bought one of the first autoclaves in Italy back in the 1980s. Before the Chrysler buy-out, Pagani was working on an all-carbon Lamborghini but that project was canned. In the following years he continued to perfect his skills, which eventually enabled to create all carbon-fibre parts for the Zonda in-house.

Considering, Pagani's background, it was no surprise that the core of the Zonda was formed by a carbon-fibre monocoque. Although by 1999 the composite material was already relatively common, Pagani raised its execution to new levels. On each side of the car the weave of the carbon fibres ran in the same direction, resulting a V-shape running from the nose back. All carbon-fibre parts were created in this fashion, creating a stunning uniformity of design.

On each end of the carbon-fibre monocoque, aluminium subframes were fitted on which the suspension parts, engine and gearbox were bolted. Suspension was by double wishbones on each corner. The coil springs and damper units were actuated by pull-rods at the front and push-rods at the rear. Stopping power was provided by massive, perforated and ventilated disc brakes.

The engine was an AMG tweaked Mercedes-Benz V12 engine that displaced just under six litres and produced 394 bhp in its initial guise. Pagani was introduced to the German manufacturer by compatriot and former Mercedes Formula 1 driver, Juan Manuel Fangio. In his honour, Pagani had originally planned to call the car 'Fangio F1'. He, commendably, changed his mind after Fangio's death in 1995. Pagani eventually settled for Zonda C12, which is a dry wind or foehn found in the Andes.

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  Article Image gallery (32) Chassis (2) Specifications