THE PROS & CONS
- Love it: Everything, including membership in the most exclusive car club in the world.
- Leave it: Nothing, except those membership dues.
It’s not often in my road test schedule that swapping a Lamborghini for another car would be considered an upgrade.
But when you swap a quarter-million dollar car for one that costs over 10 times as much — yes, you read that right — well, it has never happened before, and it will never happen again.
But thanks to Pfaff Auto Group in Woodbridge, I got an hour in a Pagani Huayra BC.
That’s pronounced ‘WHY-ra,’ approximately, and is the name of a wind god from pre-Columbian South America.
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As a young man, Argentinian Horacio Pagani was a designer and engineer who worked on projects as diverse as furniture and camper conversions for pickup trucks.
But he always dreamed of building supersports cars. Inspired and influenced by Argentine racing great Juan Manuel Fangio, he moved to Italy, worked with Lamborghini for a time, then set up his own factory just north of Milano.
His first car, the Zonda, offered outrageous styling, massive performance and uniqueness. It rapidly became the must-have car for the vastly affluent.
His second model, the Huayra, was even wilder, yet it meets global safety and emissions standards, and is the first Pagani to be offered in North America.
The base model — yes, there is a ‘base’ Huayra — has a specially tuned 700-plus horsepower twin-turbo dry-sumped V12 engine from AMG, driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual transmission.
Pagani chose the single-clutch unit rather than the more common dual-clutch because it saved something like 70 kg, and he felt his customers would put up with the harsher shift quality in return for more performance.
As if 700-plus horsepower wouldn’t be enough under any circumstances …
Then there’s the ‘BC’ model.
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‘BC’ stands for Benny Caiola, who was Pagani’s first customer and an early investor in his company. Senor Caiola passed away in 2010, and this car is a tribute to his memory.
Unlike most ‘specialty’ models, the Pagani Huayra BC differs significantly from the ‘base’ car, with an even more powerful engine, new transmission and electronic locking differential.
The car is a visual knockout, extreme beyond credibility.
It incorporates active aerodynamics — there’s the ‘wind god’ connection.
In addition to the semiconventional rear wing, a series of flaps at front and rear deploy as needed under computer control to keep the car from becoming a low-orbit satellite.
A lovely old-world contrast to this space-age construction are little leather straps holding the front and rear hatches in place.
The carbon fibre/titanium tub has a chrome-molybdenum-vanadium steel tube structure to support the go-faster bits.
The entire thing weighs in at just over 1,200 kilograms.
The interior is even more dramatic than the exterior, if that’s possible to imagine. You fold yourself in through the gullwing doors, and it’s actually quite comfortable.
In the short time available to me, I didn’t begin to get a sense of how to make everything work. I’m sure I could find some time in my schedule to work on that. Jes’ sayin’ …
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Only 10 examples of the BC will ever be built, along with two prototypes. My test car was one of the latter, and was actually Pagani’s Geneva Auto Show display car last spring.
It is making the rounds of Pagani outlets in North America to give prospects a chance to see it and drooling scribes a chance to drive something that costs more than our collective net worth.
Just toodling around Woodbridge, it was easy enough to drive. The occasional and very brief stab of the loud pedal gave hints of the car’s massive performance.
No, I didn’t test the limits of its race-car suspension or its monstrously powerful engine. Apparently, two Huayras have been toasted during press test drives, and I had no intention of proving the adage that good/bad things come in threes.
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Still, it was a treat just to drive this car at all.
Of course, you have to ask.
Roughly $2.5 million (U.S.).
Is it worth it?
‘Worth’ in any conventional sense has nothing to do with it.
You don’t hang a Picasso on your wall to hide a nasty stain that’s lying there; you don’t buy a Pagani as a way to get to work.
You want it. You can afford it. You buy it.
If only every purchase decision we have to make were that easy.
Pagani Huayra BC
Body Style: 2-door, 2-seat super sports coupe. Rear-wheel drive.
Price: $2.5 million (U.S.)
Engine: 6.0-litre V12, dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, twin-turbocharged.
Power/torque: horsepower / lb-ft: 750 @ 6,200 r.p.m. / 740 @ 1,000 — 4,000 r.p.m.
Transmission: 7-speed single-clutch automatic-manual
Transport Canada Fuel Consumption City / Highway (L/100 km): N/a
Competitors: Bugatti Veyron; medium-size house in Moore Park; smallish cottage in Muskoka.
Score: 10.0 / 10
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