Pagani Zonda C12 S 7.3 Roadster

Pagani, who was a composites engineer with Lamborghini during the 1980s, left that storied manufacturer in 1991 and translated his high-tech expertise into his own Modena Design firm, which produced carbon-fibre components for Formula 1 teams and such marques as Daimler, Ferrari and motorcycle-maker Aprilia. In 1992, Pagani Automobili Modena was established, with seven years of development culminating in the debut of the Zonda, its first product, at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show. Immediately hailed for its radical styling, stunning performance and almost inconceivable technical sophistication, the Zonda was clearly the physical realisation of Mr. Pagani’s relentless pursuit to create “Una Macchina con Anima”—a car with a soul.

In creating the Zonda’s sleek bodywork, safety was a paramount consideration from the outset, with its steel front and rear space-frames and rigid carbon-fibre central monocoque structure. Downforce was enhanced by the Zonda’s massive snout, flanked by as many air-diffusers and spoilers as any car will likely ever see, and at the rear the highly adjustable rear wing and menacing quad tailpipes left little doubt as to the Zonda’s serious intent.

Unparalleled refinement and exclusivity were also key design objectives. Accordingly, the Zonda is perhaps the ultimate limited-production bespoke supercar today, entirely handcrafted in Modena, Italy with its custom-designed Mercedes-AMG powerplant and extraordinary attention to detail, rendering the Zonda nothing less than a true masterpiece of contemporary automobile design.

Introduced at the 2003 Geneva Show, the exquisite Zonda Roadster incorporated an enlarged, hand-built AMG 7.3-litre V-12 engine, a removable carbon-fibre roof panel and forged aluminium, 19-inch alloy wheels and ultra low-profile tyres measuring 255 mm front and 335 mm rear in width, which were specially designed by Michelin for this magnificent machine. The Roadster-specific central monocoque structure achieved new levels of strength and torsional rigidity, and the elliptical rollbar was tied to the rear chassis and constructed of carbon-fibre and chrome-molybdenum alloy. Aerodynamics were revised slightly with a pair of efficient NACA air ducts added to the rear engine cover.

Powered by a 7,291-cc DOHC Mercedes-Benz AMG E73 60º Alloy V-12 with Bosch Motronic ME7 sequential electronic fuel injection, the 7.3 C12 Zonda Roadster produces 555 bhp at 5,900 engine revolutions. With a svelte 1,280-kg dry weight, the car can accelerate from rest to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and is capable of top speeds up to 220 mph (350 km/h).

Like the Zondas that came before, the Roadster was built in extremely limited numbers. 40 Roadsters were to be built, and only 25 were completed. An intoxicating mix of hand-selected leather upholstery, aluminium and carbon fibre, all hand-fitted by master artisans, the Zonda Roadster is in short a sensory delight combining the latest in materials, engineering and design with traditional Italian craftsmanship and character.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

555 bhp, 7.3-litre, mid-mounted Mercedes-Benz M120 E73 60-degree DOHC light-alloy V-12 with four valves per cylinder and Bosch Motronic ME7 sequential electronic fuel injection, six-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension with double wishbones, coil-over hydraulic dampers and anti-roll bars, and hydraulic four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS. Wheelbase: 2,730 mm.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood

Gallery: Pagani Zonda C12 S 7.3 Roadster