Our Editors Reflect On Their Favorite Rides From 2014
As the year comes to a close, our editors are all taking time to reflect on the machinery that made 2014 so special, with one simple, open-ended question as the guide: "What's the best car you drove this year?"
Earlier today, we brought you west coast editor Michael Harley's review of the absolutely stunning Pagani Huayra – a "fascinating, imperfect machine" that our author sums up with one word: "intoxicating." And now that you've read his text and ogled the gorgeous accompanying photos shot by our own Drew Phillips, we've got one more treat for you: video.
With production numbering in the hundreds, not thousands, the prospect of seeing any Pagani on the road or track is a rare one, to be sure. But even in such rarified company, some Paganis are rarer than others. Like the Zonda Revolucion.
As big as the North American market is, it's hard for a small-scale European automaker to make it over here. The cost of pursuing certification both in Europe and in the United States is just too high for a small outfit to absorb. That's why Pagani, for example, never brought the Zonda to North America. But when it came to the newer Huayra, the Modenese automaker made EPA, CARB and NHTSA certification a priority - making Pagani the only automaker producing less than 100 vehicles per year to have
When Pagani introduced the Huayra in 2011, it was supposed to supplant the Zonda entirely. But two and a half years later, we're still seeing new versions of the Zonda rolling out of the factory in Modena, like the latest 760 X edition recently circulating the web. And we can hardly blame Pagani. After all, would you turn down a paying customer – especially one willing to pay as much as it costs to have a special one-off Zonda built to their specifications? Of course not. But we're left wo
Over the course of fourteen years of production, Pagani made more special editions and versions of the Zonda than we would care to count. But over the past three years since its debut, we've only seen the one version of the Huayra.
The $1.2-million, rear-wheel-drive Pagani Huayra is fitted with a twin-turbocharged V12, rated at 720 horsepower, which is capable of launching its 3,100-pound curb weight to 60 miles per hour in about three seconds flat. Hold its oval aluminum accelerator pedal to its stops on a proper stretch of pavement and it won't run out of steam until it touches 230 mph. It is, by all measures, a handful for all but the most skilled drivers.
Remember when Pagani rolled out its final special-edition Zonda? It's happened about six times now. Not that we're complaining – it's hard to tire of supercars, especially weapons-grade devices like the entire Zonda franchise. This new Revolucion moves the game on even more, with its AMG-sourced, 800-horsepower, 6.0-liter V12 bolted to a carbon-titanium monocoque. Weighing just 2,358 pounds – about the same heft as a Mazda2 – it figures to be a highly entertaining drive.
You'd imagine that as the founder of Pagani, Horacio Pagani would be in the most ridiculous car his company produces. A new Huayra, or perhaps a Zonda F Roadster, right? Nope. Instead, Mr. Pagani's personal car is a Zonda S 7.3, one of the brand's older models, which debuted way back in 2002 with a mere 547 horsepower (for comparison, the Zonda F produces 594 hp, while the Huayra hits the road with 720 ponies).
If you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of someone that builds hypercars for a living, or what inspired them to get into that line of work in the first place, you'll want to watch this video from XCar. It's a long one, at 30 minutes, and it's exclusively in Italian so you'll be reading subtitles, but this interview with Pagani founder Horatio Pagani is a must-watch for anyone interested in his brand's ultra-performance vehicles.
Since Evo first got its hands on a Pagani Huayra for testing, about a year after the hypercar debuted, Horacio Pagani's pride and joy has made a few video appearances – once in the hands of Chris Harris and once with a man who compared his new Huayra with an older Zonda on track. But access to the 900,000-euro ($1.22 million) hypercar has been limited, making XCar's recent drive a real treat.
It's not often that you'll find a Pagani Zonda and a Pagani Huayra in the same place, at the same time - much less on a racetrack. Pagani makes incredibly rare supercars. But Peter Read owns both a 2005 Zonda Roadster and a new Huayra, so he decided to bring them to Goodwood Circuit for a little comparison test. While the wet weather didn't allow too much wide open throttle, it's still an interesting comparison of two very different beasts.
Anyone who has ever bought a new car knows that the base price is just that: the base price. Start checking off boxes on the options list and the price will quickly skyrocket. And if that's true of ordinary cars that people like us would buy, it's that much more so with six- and seven-figure exotics.
Our friends at Top Gear (the magazine, not the TV show) are currently celebrating the publication's twentieth birthday. In honor of that milestone, the BBC-owned book is naming what it thinks are the 50 greatest cars from the past 20 years. Now, this is TG's list, which means it's a bit more focused on European brands and models.
To promote Grid 2, Codemasters is releasing a set of three videos that feature Chris Harris. The second one has just been thrown all over the Internet, but it won't make much sense unless you watch the first video, which was released in January. In that video, Harris attempts to beat McLaren test driver Mat Jackson in a two-lap race of the UK's Brands Hatch circuit driving the MP4-12C. Midway through, Harris pauses the race to get tips from a Codemaster employee who tells him, essentially, "Stop
Pebble Beach is an outstanding event if you're interested in pre-war classics, but outside of the parking lots, it's a bit light on more modern stuff. The Quail, now in its eleventh year, leans far more towards the present day, and has become one of the must-attend events of the Monterey car week.