Horacio Pagani, who formerly headed Lamborghini’s composite materials department, founded Pagani Composite Research in 1988. This new company worked with Lamborghini on numerous projects. Worth to mention above all the restyling of the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition. Furthermore the Lamborghini LM002, the P140 design concept and the Diablo. In the late 1980s, Pagani began designing its own car, then called the “C8 Project”. Pagani planned to rename the C8 the “Fangio F1”. The idea was to honor his friend, Argentine five-time Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
Pagani founded Modena Design in 1991 to meet the growing demand for his design, engineering and prototyping services. In 1992, he began building a Fangio F1 prototype. And in 1993 the car was tested in the Dallara wind tunnel with positive results. In 1994, Mercedes-Benz agreed to supply Pagani with V12 engines. The cost of these cars totaled $2.3 million.
The final car was called the Zonda C12, the first of the Zonda range. It was first unveiled at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show.