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The Making of Pagani Zonda R model - 9 Feb, 2011

The Making of Pagani Zonda R model

The Pagani Zonda R model is by far the most sophisticated die cast model Autoart has produced to date in 1/18 scale.  It consists of 658 components (323 pieces of metal parts, 226 pieces of plastic parts, 69 pieces of photo-etched parts, 34 pieces of chrome plated parts and last but not lease, 6 pieces of die cast body and underchassis parts).

One of the many special features of this model is the exact reproduction of the fully functional pushrod suspension.  The Pushrod suspension is inspired by Formula-1 technology and applied in very few super sport cars such as the Koenigsegg, the Pagani and the Porsche Carrera GT.  The dampers and springs are not located on the wheel mounts, but connected inboard to the centre of the body shell under the front windscreen and close to the engine in the rear.  Pushrods and relay lever/rockers transmit the forces from the wheel mounts to compress the spring/damper elements.  To replicate the actuation of pushrod suspension in 1/18 scale, all the rods, levers and linkages of this model have to be made in metal and connected  with metal bolts to increase rigidity.  When the model car is pressed down, you can see all the metal parts move and compress the dampers and springs, a true movement of pushrod suspension.

Most die cast model makers would rather use plastic parts because it would be much cheaper and simpler to fabricate and assemble.  Plastic may appear the same in static form, but when the model is pressed down, all of the plastic components like the rods, levers, linkages and A-arms will flex or bend instead of pushing the dampers and springs like a true pushrod suspension would do. The simple reason is that plastic parts are not rigid enough.

Each rubber tyre contact surface is scrubbed manually by sand paper so that it appears to have been physically used on the road.

All the visible surfaces of the model, inside and outside, including the back side of the front and rear bonnet, is tampon printed with carbon fibre texture to replicate the full carbon fibre body of the Zonda R car.  It requires 165 steps of tampon printing to achieve such an effect.  The printing of carbon fibre texture is easy on flat surfaces, but when it comes to deep recess area, it requires many trials and errors before a perfect finishing is achieved.

There are also 136 steps of free-hand spray painting and 64 steps of mask spray painting on small parts to make the model looks as realistic as possible.

The engine compartment is highly detailed with hoses and wiring.  The four metal exhaust tips, an iconic feature of all Pagani cars, is well interpreted in this scale model.

Even the seat brackets and handle bars are fabricated in metal and the safety harnesses are made with nylon belts.

Other than the full carbon fibre body version, there is also another version with a pearl white upper body and larger front air scopes.

The development of the Zonda R model took more than two years to acheive.  Due to the intricacy of the model, the production is arranged for each worker to handle only one or two tasks.  In this way, a high quality level will always be sustained.  From start to finish, each model is manipulated by more than 700 workers along the production lines. 
The Pagani Zonda R car is sold for 1.4 million Euro but the 1:18 scale model  retails for only US$290 excluding tax. Considering the amount of work and the components involved, it is a piece of art and well worth the asking price.