The Huayra, the second supercar from the barely teenage Pagani Automobili, is a thing of wonder — good, old-fashioned, wide-eyed wonder. It’s not easy to out-do Ferrari, or even former employers Lamborghini, and arguably 59-year-old Horacio Pagani hasn’t tried to.
Maybe, and especially in the case of Ferrari, it’s because they don’t have to look back, so celebrated are their histories. Yet every part of every new Ferrari or Lamborghini celebrates that car’s ‘nowness’. There’s no slacking on the job, no time for wistfulness.
Not so the Huayra (the name, by the way, is derived from an Inca word meaning “God of the Wind”), which demands a close inspection before starting it up and driving it away more than almost any other supercar.
From the outside, although the form might be familiar, the details most certainly are not. The doors aren’t of the fashionable Lamborghini scissor design, where the leading edge slices the air directly ahead as it opens, nor the more contemporary dihedral doors pioneered by McLaren which sweep up and away from the occupant. Nope. The Huayra has good old-fashioned gullwing doors. Yup, like the Mercedes SL from the 1950s. Appropriately. They open up an interior our grandparents might have imagined the insides of flying cars would one day look as they meandered, enchanted from sight to sight at the New York and Chicago World Fairs or London’s Festival of Britain.
One part Norman Bel Geddes to two-parts Jules Verne — this is retro-futurism at its finest; every single switch, rotor, button or dial… totally unnecessarily machined from a solid billet of aluminium. And the car is all the more wonderful for it. If the insides of cars ever looked like this before, they did so only in the innocence of our childhood imaginations.