The Argentine-Italian entrepreneur and automotive engineer Horacio Pagani, is probably best known for founding the Italian carbon fiber components and hypercars manufacturer, Pagani Automobili S.p.A.
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
Horacio Pagani hails from Casilda, Santa Fe, Argentina, and was born under the Scorpio zodiac sign on 10 November 1955, which makes him 67 years old as of mid-2023. He is the son of Maria Pagani, who was an artist, and her husband, Luca Pagani, who was an Italian baker. Pagani has revealed that, ‘Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a great passion for the car. I made my models with balsa wood and all the materials that a kid could find and use, and from that moment on I was convinced that those were my cars.’ His art later evolved into designing and building motorcycles.
When he was 14, Pagani and his childhood friend, Gustavo ‘Gustavito’ Mirani, who also had a strong interest in automobiles, acquired two engines: Sachs Televel and Deem 48cc, which they used to design minibikes. Before he completed high school, Pagani made a dune buggy using an old and rusty Renault Dauphine engine.
Pagani joined the University of La Plata’s Faculty of Fine Arts to study Industrial Design when he was 18 years old in 1974. At the time, Argentina was facing serious political unrest, and his course was discontinued before the end of the 1974 academic year. He thereafter joined the National University of Rosario, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Although he was born in Argentina, Horacio has spent most of his life in Italy, and so speaks fluent Italian.
He previously recalled during an interview how he once chased a 1963 Jaguar E-Type automobile on his bike when he was eight years old; his obsession with automobiles made him sit down and stare at the parked car for hours when he eventually caught up with it.
Horacio grew up a very big fan of the late acclaimed racing car driver, Juan Manuel Fangio, who was nicknamed El Maestro or El Chueco. He drew inspiration from Fangio, who won five F1 racing championships, and broke numerous records.
— Motor1.com Argentina (@Motor1argentina) December 29, 2020
In his early days, the Santa Fe native enjoyed reading car magazines and books, including “The Selection of the Reader’s Digest,” in which he learned about Leonardo da Vinci, who inspired him to continue the art of creating automobiles.
During his youth, Horacio opened a shop near his hometown, where he began his projects. One of Pagani’s early career-defining moments came when he successfully designed and built a Formula 2 racer, spending more than 12 months on the project, then unveiling the F2 racer at a dinner party that had around 300 attendees, including journalists, technicians, entrepreneurs, and race fanatics, all of whom were very impressed with his creation. Pagani’s F2 racer won various races at the national level.
Renault and Lamborghini Days
Horacio made his career breakthrough when he was hired by the Renault automobile firm to improve the bodies of their racing cars. He met his childhood hero, Juan Fangio, shortly after he retired from auto racing, and took the chance to show him his creations, which fascinated the retired car racer. Fangio introduced him to various elite automotive businesses such as Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche. Pagani was pleased with what he saw, and as a result, asked Fagio to write him a recommendation letter, which he took with him when he flew off to Italy in the early ‘80s to pursue his dream.
While in Italy, Horacio approached Lamborghini’s senior engineer, Giulio Alfieri, who saw his talent but denied him a higher position in the firm because he was deemed too young to work as a designer in the company. Instead, he was offered a job as a third-level employee – he accepted, hoping to rise through the ranks in the future. After several months, Pagani was promoted to the position of chief engineer, and was tasked with building the Lamborghini Countach Evoluzione concept. In 1987, he applied for a loan to begin his company.
Modena Design and Pagani Automobili S.p.A
In 1991, Pagani left Lamborghini and opened the firm Modena Design, which started making Formula 1 race car carbon fiber composites for various clients, including Ferrari, Aprilia and Daimler. In 1992, Horacio founded the Pagani Automobili Modena company, and produced his first car, the Pagani Zonda in 1998. Throughout the 2000s, Pagani’s company created various Zonda vehicles, including the Zonda S which debuted in Geneva in 2000, Zonda Roadster, Zonda F, and Zonda Tricolore, among others. His next creation was the Pagani Huayra which was commercialized in 2011. He later released various other versions of the Huayra, including Huayra BC (2016) and Huayra Roadster (2017). His company’s following models were Honoris Causa, Huayra Tricolore, Huayra Codalunga, and UTOP among others.
Social Media Presence
Pagani is active on Instagram (@horaciopaganimuseo) with over 30,000 followers. In November 2011, he opened a Twitter account, @OfficialPagani, on which he updates his followers about new models and his recent career endeavors; the account has over 140,000 followers.
Pagani was previously married to Cristina – they left South America and relocated to Europe when they were 19 and 26 years old. At one point, Pagani lived in a tent, and only had a bicycle to his name. The duo worked several odd jobs together at Lamborghini, where they wiped the floor. The former couple was fond of making public appearances together, and were spotted at the Birthday Celebrations for the late Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, in Rome, on 4 July 2017. They divorced in late 2017, but Pagani is a father of three: Christopher, Dino and Leonardo Pagani. All of Horacio’s children are involved in their dad’s work and serve in his company in various capacities.
Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance
Horacio is of White ethnicity, has a pair of brown eyes and gray hair. He’s 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall, and weighs approximately 175lbs (79kgs).
From holding menial jobs at Lamborghini to creating his supercar firm, Pagani is undoubtedly a good example of business magnates who have risen from rags to riches. He’s accumulated most of his net worth from the sales of various models of luxury cars produced by his firm, and is estimated to be worth a whopping $100 million, as of 2023.