Monday, May 20, 2019

Finding Inspiration - Zonda 760 Kiryu

So, what else happened over Golden Week? Besides picking up my GT-R (post coming up on June 1st) I just had to get up and close with what I consider the ultimate expression of automotive craftsmanship: the Pagani Zonda.

The R34 might have stolen my heart forever, but putting sentimental value aside for a moment, nothing quite compares to the share presence and sculpture of this car.

Long term readers of this blog will be familiar with my passion/obsession for hand-made, and the ethos behind Pagani is the perfect embodiment of all the things I love when it comes to craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The imperceptible irregularities, the hand stitching, the small variations on one-off parts never produced before are not to be mistaken with flaws in any way. Quite the opposite, they blow life into what would otherwise be a rather unanimated object.

Cars like these exude an aura of their own and they have to be seen in real life to be truly appreciated.

Owned by Pagani Japan, this particular model is the Zonda Kiryu (“Kiryu - 希竜” roughly translates as “rare dragon” in Japanese); a complete bespoke project based on the 760 series, which is the final, most extreme evolution of the Zonda. The car was unveiled during a special event at Fuji Speedway in 2016.

It’s said that Horacio Pagani personally specced this car himself, choosing a combination of naked and blue tinted carbon highlighted by matte anodized details all over the body. 

At a time when everybody seems to endlessly chase Nürburgring lap times and claims for the title of “fastest this” and “lightest that”, Pagani preferred to take a less travelled route, and a way more fascinating one in my opinion.

While these cars are incredibly sound from an engineering and mechanical point of view, Pagani was never interested by outright performances. However, he was rather intrigued by Leonardo Da Vinci’s quote that say “Art and science can walk hand in hand”. The smallest part, down to every single nut and bolt had to be not only functional to the highest standard, but also beautiful.

Today the Zonda is a 20 years old car that, even in 760 spec, is likely outperformed by entry-level supercars at a fraction of the (multi-million dollar) cost. However, owners appreciate them for delivering the ultimate driving and ownership experience. Numbers are not everything after all.

In 2016 I was able to meet the Mr. Pagani himself during the very first owner’s meeting in Japan. The event culminated with his birthday party held at Gonpachi in Nishiazabu and, believe it or not, we are born on the same day! How many people can say that they crashed Horacio Pagani’s birthday on their own birthday? That was actually the line I used to introduce myself.

My interest for the Zonda dates as back as my passion for the R34, and while many might laugh at the comparison, I think they share a few things in common. Albeit in their own distinct universes they are both cars that, 20 years on, just seem to keep endlessly evolving and living on.

Sure, you won’t find any blue ostrich-leather in the interior, or tinted carbon fiber air snorkel on the roof of my GT-R, but the Zonda was that one car that more then others inspired and influenced the ethos behind my build. Actually, now that I think about it, they do share one very similar component: can you guess which one?

Until next time.


  1. Another great posts!

    I also like this Zonda Kiryu. look so stunning and incredible made

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. If its not the colour then it will be the carbon hood which both cars are sharing :)
    I guess i need to wait till 1st of June to get the answer :P

  3. Cool car, but still GT-R for me. Maybe you can spot a Z-tune too next time?
    BTW man, where's Aki? �� Checking his, but all those LED bulbs OCD topics were the last post. LOL. He very busy?