Sunday, July 31, 2011

Supercar Sunday - 7/31/11: Ferrari v Lamborghini upstaged by Zonda R

Lured by the Ferrari v Lamborghini showdown planned for this last Sunday in July, I decided it had been way too long since I had made the drive up to Woodland Hills for Supercar Sunday and got my butt outta bed for the first time in almost a year. It was a wise decision.

Not only did I get to see about 1,000 interesting collector cars on display, I also had a chance to catch up with at least a dozen friends I hadn't seen in a long time. That alone made the trip worthwhile, but the surprise unveiling of a Pagani Zonda R made it incredibly fortunate.

The Pagani Zonda needs little introduction, but these amazing boutique supercars are extremely rare here in the States. Never officially imported, a couple have found their way into private collections, and a few have been displayed at various shows and races around the country. I consider myself lucky indeed to have seen a handful of them between SEMA, SCS and Goodwood, the impression they leave in person akin to meeting Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher - that sudden thrill you get from realizing you are in the presence of a legend.

Auto Gallery, who generously underwrites SCS, has been named an official Pagani dealer, allowing it the privilege to sell the Zonda's replacement, the Huayra when it goes on sale soon. As if seeing a Zonda isn't enough to make friends who weren't there hate your guts, the Zonda they helped bring to the show this weekend was actually a Zonda R, the race version that holds the lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife for production based cars. Its 6:47.5 time bested the Ferrari 599XX by eleven seconds and the new production car record holder the Porsche GT2 RS by...wait for it...thirty seconds.

Horacio only built a few of these race cars so not everyone will get to see one in their lifetime. Without DrivenWorld publisher and SCS organizer, Dustin Troyan, I may have missed my chance. Dusty's hard work, along with the generosity of the car's owner, Auto Gallery and Century Towing allowed me to cross another vehicle off my bucket list.

Seeing the car up close reveals why Pagani has such an aura about it. The shape is alien yet beautiful and the engineering prowess of the company is immediately evident. The carbon fiber is laid perfectly, and close inspection reveals the titanium threads woven into the cloth to add flexibility to this normally brittle substance. Every detail is not only functional, but designed in such a way that you feel there must be some artists in the engineering department. Why can't every carmaker make their vehicles this beautiful and capable?

If you click the link above to view the gallery, you'll notice that at least half of my photos are of the Zonda R, but pry yourself away from those and you'll also see why shows like Supercar Sunday are so much fun. How's this for eclectic? When was the last time you saw a Toyota Crown Deluxe coupe? Never? How about a Kurtis Kraft 500? There were at least three there today. A Ram Air GTO Judge wagon? Maybe not factory, but a really cool sight. Other rare and wonderful sightings included a Renault R5 Turbo, Ford RS200, '73 Carrera RS, Continental Mark II, Morgan Aero, Hurst Camaro, Maserati 3500GT, Riley Elf, two yellow Ultimas, three BMW Z8s, Qvale Mangusta, and a few Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

The marque of the Bull was represented by dozens of Gallardo variations, a few Murcis, a pair of Miuras and a handful of Countaches. Prancing horse lovers were treated to scores of 3X8s, Maranellos, 355s, Modenas, 430s, 458s, Stradales, Scuderias, and Testarossas. Favorites included the 330 GTS, 550 Barchetta, 575 Superamerica, and a lone F40. Not a bad turnout by any stretch of the imagination, but overcast skies and a few scattered showers may have kept some of the even more exotic stuff at home. We're not greedy though, so an F40, two Miuras and a Zonda R were just fine with me.

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