In 1998, the name of Horacio Pagani is still unknown, it now evokes for the public a brand of cars. But in the meantime very few people know what really happened; and only a few remember it today ...

We were there and we were direct actors.

The Zonda C12 number  03


Autodrome acquired the first production Pagani: this Zonda C12, chassis number 03 was our demonstration car.

The 01 Chassis was used for the crash-test, and the 02 as a dévelopment base.


Afterwards, we sometimes gave it to our customers as a test car before they ordered their own Zonda. This very first Pagani 03 was still a preliminary version, with an AMG 6.L engine. and ZF gearbox; it is linked to our history and that of the brand.

We sold it, then bought it back, several times, including once to a very important Ferrari dealership in Germany, a particular satisfaction, especially at that time, then we sold it to an amateur established in Switzerland.

We therefore first confronted the Zonda with "real life" and Autodrome, will remain associated with the real debut of Pagani with the public.

The Zonda C12 "03" from AUTODROME in 2000, during its demonstration period and customer tests.


At the beginning of 2000, AUTODROME became the 1st historical Distributor of PAGANI Automobiles.

At that time, Pagani was in anonymity. It was still a matter of craftsmanship, the small workshop of San Cesario sul Panaro, could at that time only assemble a few cars in the year. AUTODROME and Pagani decide to collaborate; by officially becoming its first representative and distributor, we are selling its first models and undertaking to make Pagani known as a brand.

Specialists in Classic cars for decades, we knew that in the past many artisanal creations, some very ambitious, were only built in a few copies, before disappearing into oblivion. But the Pagani Zonda captivated us with its overall design and build quality.

At its beginnings, the future of the small builder was not written, far from it: like so many others it could have faded little by little in anonymity or indifference, for lack of notoriety, recognition and mostly customers.

That was the object of the challenge in which we participated.


Paris Motor Show, 2000, the public discovers the Zonda S, presented by Autodrome.

The beginnings were modest, it was not easy to convince customers of great experience or very privileged, who turned almost exclusively and naturally to Ferrari or Lamborghini. The Zonda had arguments, but at these levels, particularly in terms of price, the image of the Brand, or its absence, is crucial.



Each order obtained one by one, customer by customer, was a step taken and a satisfaction; we tirelessly showed, we tested, a lot, we explained in detail the technical choices and the design of these still unknown cars, we also often made the trip to Emilia-Romagna to the small workshop where they were assembled, to accompany a future owner and show him how he could fully customize his car which was still a new concept in those years.

At that time when pure passion reigned, Pagani really needed customers and no question of a waiting list, of "limited" series sold before being manufactured. Today, it is different: we are arguing for the so-called "privilege" of obtaining a purchase order at an insane price; displaying this supposed favor, and the anticipation of a financial gain are often the first motivations to buy.

In the early days of Pagani, it was another era, so different, the passion for this kind of car was fervently shared, the price was simply a fact to be taken into account. Stronger than reason was the desire to get drunk with pleasure at the wheel. Potential customers were connoisseurs with a Mc Laren F1, Ferrari F50 and other mechanical myths in their garage.

We had to be persuasive with these very demanding interlocutors. It is often after weeks of meetings, discussions, friendly exchanges between connoisseurs that the decision was finally taken on a surge of confidence: because it was a question of acquiring a car of the most expensive from a manufacturer just born. It was through this journey of patience, will and conviction, supported by exciting demonstrations, that the way was opened and mapped out.

Until then confined to his lands in Emilia-Romagna, the Italian craftsman, still in his infancy, gradually became a brand and then gradually took its international development, with the active and decisive contribution of Autodrome and its Creator.


At the start of the journey, showing the Zonda to everyone, meeting the general public, the shows were essential. .


Direct contacts with potential customers and the press were essential, but notoriety and the image of a brand are built with the general public; It is therefore also at the time of the biggest events, that AUTODROME presents and makes known the PAGANI Zonda in particular at the Mondial de l'Automobile from 2000, then in 2002 and 2004; for this edition, it is the major attraction, three exceptional cars are delivered to the curiosity of enthusiasts.

Never since the brand has been represented by such an important stand at an International Motorshow.

It was a lot of emotions, to light and collect the interest, the curiosity of amateurs for these machines they were discovering. The intense pleasure shared when a customer, proud to dare to think outside the box, happy to participate in this new adventure, decides to order his own Zonda.
These years were exhilarating, not only a unique experience of living and helping the emergence of a new, innovative brand, and showing how successful these automobiles were, but also these times of exchanges with Horacio Pagani, discussing specific points of design or style, evolution of models, or directions for the future.

This road that we have traveled with confidence and so much determination was fascinating. 

With a million and a half visitors, the Mondial de Paris is in these years, the largest Motor Show in the world and the largest existing commercial event. .


The exchanges between Horacio Pagani and Claude LEVY went well beyond the commercial framework, the passionate enthusiasm for the definition and the design of automobiles was shared. The collaboration was very close and constructive, as long as the creative passion predominated in the motivations of the Argentinian designer.

The adventure of those early years was captivating. .
Autodrome is proud to have been there at the beginning, the first exclusive distributor of Pagani, to have acquired its first production car, then made known and sold in France and abroad, the very first examples of Pagani Zonda.

We have not counted our efforts, lived extraordinary moments, with all of this small team from the beginnings that we have not forgotten, and we retain the indelible satisfaction of a task accomplished: having helped to overcome the first step.







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