Into the aether with this evil one-off Pagani Zonda Roadster

Horacio Pagani might have ‘officially’ discontinued the Zonda and replaced it with the Huayra, but he’s currently building the last and most extreme versions for his closest friends and customers. And this, the sinister Aether, is probably the most glorious yet…

Christened the Aether after the clean and pure air above the clouds, this is one of the final and most potent Zondas to have emerged from the Pagani factory in Modena. Beneath the aggressive satin and gloss carbon bodywork, which takes cues from both the Cinqué and the track-only including the gorgeous snorkel roof scoop and the vast rear diffuser, resides the naturally aspirated V12 developing almost 800bhp, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Throw in the fact the Aether is a convertible, and you’ve got one hell of an unadulterated and analogue driving experience – a characteristic that completely contrasts with the car’s cutting-edge Carbotanium construction. 

There’s not a single inch on this car that isn’t an artistic and tactile triumph in itself. The way each and every strand of the flawless carbon strands lines up to the next with millimetric precision is nothing short of breathtaking. And the experience is elevated once you’re strapped into the snug bucket seats and venture out onto the road. 

When the beautifully intricate throttle pedal is slowly pushed towards its stop, the Aether’s naturally-aspirated V12 shrieks to life and we’re thumped back into our seats with all the force of a freight train. The sonorous, spine-tingling howl of the engine continues to rise towards its crescendo, causing every single nerve ending to spasm uncontrollably. The volume is such that anyone within 10 square miles will have raised their head and wondered where on earth this devilish noise is coming from. It’s pure ecstasy. Forget your hybrid hypercar ‘holy trinity’ – this Zonda is on a different level of special in every single discernible way. And with Pagani continuing to develop cars with sensory overload at the fore, it looks like the future is bright for the Huayra, too. 

Photos: Tom Shaxson for Classic Driver © 2018