A look back at the superb 2018 Pagani Zonda 760 Aether roadster


We know you can’t wait to dive inside and under the hood of the 2018 Pagani Zonda 760 Aether Roadster, but how about a brief primer on this bespoke hypercar? If you hear about Pagani for the first time we are pleased to present the last man standing, the last independent Italian supercar brand not yet bought out as Audi did for Lamborghini and Stellantis for Maserati. The natural question is then to know who owns the Pagani brand?

His name is Horacio Pagani, an Argentinian-Italian businessman and automotive engineer. Horacio founded and introduced the world to Pagani SpA with the launch of the first Pagani Zonda in 1999. As evidenced by the high caliber of automobiles rolling out of the Pagani factory, Horacio is no newcomer to the world of automotive manufacturing, having worked at Renault and Lamborghini.

With the company remaining under his control, Horacio was free to build the cars of his dreams, such as the 2018 Aether Roadster and several others that bear the marque’s badge. You could say the Zonda nameplate rebounded from retirement as the one-of-a-kind, bespoke marvel that Zonda called the Aether. It took about a year to build and was unveiled at the Pagani Raduno event in Italy. Now, let’s dive inside and under the hood of this collectible hypercar.

Related: 8 Insane Hypercars We’re Looking Forward To In The Next 5 Years

The Zonda with a Mercedes heart, beastly power and a nice body

The Zonda Aether is a perfect blend of beauty and beast. Its name is carefully chosen to distill the two words of beasts and beauty into a single hypercar. In chemistry, ether (also spelled “ether”) refers to a highly volatile and flammable liquid. In literary terms, the word refers to the pure, clean air in the upper regions beyond the clouds. You’ll soon see what makes Aether one of the most bestial and stunningly beautiful (in a literary and poetic way) Pagani Zonda ever built.

A disclaimer; Ether is beautiful, not pretty unless you consider a sinister profile to be pretty (we actually do).

As mentioned earlier, Horacio built the cars of his dreams, and you can tell that from the looks and power of the cars he built, including the Pagani Zonda 760RS that the Aether is modeled after. The 760RS is perhaps the wildest and most powerful road-legal Zonda to come from the Pagani manufacturing facility. Although we are not here to talk about the Zonda 760RS, this little background information is meant to reveal what the Aether is made of as it contains the mechanical features of the 760RS.

With the 760RS mechanical package under the hood, Aether bore a striking resemblance to the 5-piece Zonda Cinque (Cinque is Italian for five) designed as a road-going version of the Zonda R track car. Wearing the bodywork of the Cinque roadster, the Aether is a handsome but beastly car marked by a roof that stows in front of the car and an engine air intake located above the passenger compartment.

However, Aether has strayed slightly from the Cinque clique via redesigned front and rear aero, a hefty rear spoiler, oversized rear diffuser, lightweight forged black alloy wheels, modified taillights, modified door handles ( door handles were replaced with door straps), red headlight surrounds and a redesigned driver’s headrest.

Ever since the very first Pagani Zonda, the founder has always built them with a Mercedes-sourced engine, making them Italian speed machines with a German heart. Thus, the Aether roadster was equipped with an AMG 7.3-liter V12 naturally aspirated engine capable of developing 760 horsepower, which was 235 horsepower more than the engine could handle at Mercedes. SL73AMG. The V12 engine was mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, something you don’t see every day in modern hypercars. This power is transmitted to the road via the rear wheels of Aether.

This powertrain comprised of a 3-pedal setup and 6-speed shifting transmission gives the Aether the feel and handling of the unicorn it really is, a far more fun beast than your hypercar typical.

Like previous Zonda models, the 2018 Aether had a mostly carbon fiber body, enhancing its lightweight quality marked by fantastic curb weight and power-to-weight ratio. We dare say that the handcrafted gloss and matte carbon fiber body will retain its quality forever.

Related: 10 surprising facts about Pagani and his cars

Conclusion on the Pagani Zonda Aether 2018

When the Pagani Zonda 760 Aether Roadster was unveiled, experts groaned that the Zonda simply refused to die. To a large extent, that’s true. Aether is a defiant Zonda in more ways than one. The Zonda is death-dealing, considering we were supposed to see its end in 2013 when Pagani cut the model from the production line.

Four years later, a bespoke Zonda was back in the showroom bearing a tag reading Pagani Zonda Fantasma Evo, a one-off model the automaker made for a “very special friend.” The world sighed and wrote Fantasma as nothing more than a myoclonic jerk of a dying nameplate. But we were barely back in our tents when Aether called from Pagani Raduno where we learned he had been brought back from the dead by the same person, Ronnie Kessel, who ordered the also bespoke Ferrari SP38.

We concluded that the Zonda simply lives to die another day. Kessel no longer owns Aether after it was auctioned off for $6,812,000 during the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix auction block. However, the Zonda lives on, not just as a bespoke model for Pagani’s “very special friend”, but as Pagani Huayra, Zonda’s true successor. If you have $2.6 million to spend, you might be able to pick up one of the very limited production Huayra, that is, if you’re quick on the print run.


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