The Italian Junkyard

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

9.2 Up close and personal with yet another Pagani Zonda at the Museum of Ceramics, Faenza

Back to cars again, and what a car.
What you are looking at, surrounded by darkness and highlighted by reflections is the first Pagani Zonda S 7.3 ever made. The third evolution of the Zonda was unveiled in Geneva back in 2002, sporting a new and bespoke 7.3 liters V12 engine provided by Mercedes-Benz and adequately tuned by AMG, a new 6 speed gearbox, which cost about 700.000 € to develop and a few more tricks here and there.
If you ever tried to get the aesthetic differences between the Zonda S 7.0 and the 7.3, I suppose you already find them, but it's not that easy.
Follow me to know more.

While the 7.0 liters version had a circular air vent right on top of the engine, the 7.3 has just a “C12” badge. Funny trivia, the C12 moniker, originally adopted for the 6.0 liters Zonda C12, comes from the name of Horacio Pagani's wife, Christina, and of course the number of cylinders of the engine.
Moving to the back of the car, if you look to the double rear wing, you'll see that on the S 7.0 this part was made with two pillars integrated in the bonnet in a single piece, plus the two actual wings, which were available both in raw carbon fiber finish or with the same color of the body. On the outer side, there are two polished metallic pillars.
On the S 7.3 model, the wings are now made in a single piece with the inner pillar which isn't integrated in the bonnet anymore. The outer pillars are now moved a bit more towards the inner side.
For as regard the front end, the two variants are identical.

When the Zonda S 7.3 was unveiled, this specific car had the rear wings in exposed carbon fiber, probably to underline the new design, and standard silver wheels.
However, by the time it reached the stage of the 2002 Geneva auto show, the rear wings were painted of the same lovely blue which covers the car, and even the wheels were painted with the same color in some inner parts. I can't say if it was a request made by the owner, but here is another interesting trivia about this Zonda.

The car was also showcased at the 2002 Paris auto show, but for a few days it wasn't exhibited, because film director and producer Luc Besson needed the car for some scenes of the Michel Vaillant movie, where the car is featured as the personal drive of the famous character.
Considering the French nationality (and proud) of the whole production, I wouldn't be surprised knowing it was actually painted blue to better fulfill its role in the movie.
Talking about the original owner, it should be a certain “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Saiman Abdulaziz Alsaud”. As far as I know, the correct name should be “Mohammad bin Saiman Abdul Aziz Al Saud”, but that's what is written on the plate between the seats, where there is usually some sort of indication on the owner or the car itself.
Now the car should be a piece of the Panini Collection, and should be viewable at the Panini Museum just outside of Modena.

Regardless of all of this, it's just gorgeous.
This specific shade of blue is surely enough interesting to catch your attention while browsing images and web pages, but it's definitely much much better in the flesh. Of all the Zondas I saw to date, something like 10 completed cars I guess, I think this has the best color so far.
The way it reflects the light and underlines the soft curves of the car is just amazing, and let me appreciate a couple more details I didn't notice before.
That's the case with a sort of channel which deploys it self all around the windscreen before being flattened right after the front wheel arches on the upper surface of the doors.
I always knew it was there, it's a pretty obvious component of its look, but I never really appreciated it until now. At the same time, this gave me the occasion to consider how on the inside, the same wrapping, or rather embracing function is performed by the air diffusers, which create two arches, one per each occupant, starting from the center console and the two main diffusers shaped like periscopes.

Then there is the rear bonnet, which in this S trim isn't perturbed by any sort of window showing the engine. Even if I like that solution, especially when it's done with the carbon fiber grilles which resemble a couple of lungs, in this plain solution you can really appreciate the soft surfaces, like a slightly rough sea in the middle of the ocean, while the sun enlightens the crests and the abysses darkens the bottom of each wave.

Oh, so poetic..

The only thing that I don't really like in this car is the color of the interior, it's a bit too understated and simple, while the whole cockpit's design is pretty futuristic and detailed. I'm glad this car wasn't updated as many others featuring the usual red leather pack though.
That's the problem with the Zonda, there are too many of them with an exposed carbon fiber body and a red leather interior. That's a big problem, isn't it?

Oh, for those keeping record on this kind of stuff, this blue Zonda S 7.3 is the chassis #76020.
A few bonus shots:

Coming next: Zonda R bits and bites.

All Images Copyright: Damiano Garro

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