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The Best of the Best 2003: Undiscovered Bests – Pagani Zonda C12 S

The long road of automotive history is littered with the carcasses of supercar wanna-bes. Although some of these models possessed individual elements of brilliance, the manufacturers were unable to present a cogent, reliable car that could challenge the offerings from the established automakers.

Now, Italy’s Pagani Automobili has entered the fray with a 550-hp salvo. The Pagani Zonda C12 S is a glorious package of carbon fiber, outrageous looks, superb detailing, and the kind of craftsmanship unseen in first-time supercar efforts.

While its F-16-like appearance may shoo away the meek, the Zonda’s performance will wow any skeptic. A 7.0-liter V-12 Mercedes-Benz AMG engine powers the racer, giving it 553 ft lbs of neck-bending torque. Combine the marvelous motor with the Pagani’s 2,750-pound carbon fiber body, and the results are superior handling, split-second responsiveness, and a downright frightening ability to pile on speed (3.7 seconds to sprint from zero to 62).


The company builds only 25 of the $350,000 cars each year, and some current owners are already placing deposits on their second Paganis. After all, who wouldn’t want a 220-mph running mate?

Pagani Automobili, +39.059.952811, www.modena-design.it

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