Pagani

Argentine-born Horacio Pagani got involved with racing and race-car design in his twenties, and then got a job with Lamborghini. He rose to head Lamborghini's composite-materials department, and worked with the design team on several new models. Since 1999, Pagani Automobili of Italy has hand-built a few dozen coupe and roadster variants of its Zonda supercar, which was named for a warm, dry wind that blows across the Andes. Powered by a large-displacement Mercedes-Benz/AMG V12, this mid-engined, carbon-fiber exotic provides acceleration, speed, and handling to match most cars in its rarified class. For around half a million dollars, the original 6-liter Zonda C12 surrounded its lucky owner in a luxurious custom cockpit while rapidly accelerating to 185 mph. The C12-S added a liter of displacement, $100,000 in price, and an additional 35 mph in top speed. Introduced in 2006, the Zonda F is a lighter and even more aerodynamic competition version of the C12-S. Its 7.3-liter V12 accelerates the GR from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. In 2006, Pagani debuted the Zonda Roadster F, a lighter and extremely aerodynamic road version. Its 7.3-liter V12, for a 650 horsepower in Clubsport version, accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. In 2009, the Zonda Cinque was introduced, of which only five were produced. The Zonda combines the highest performance with wildly good looks, luxury, and owner customization to make each of the few built a unique automobile.

Read MoreRead Less