In Italy, the “Motor Valley”, the fertile land of supercars

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Modena (Italy) (AFP) – If Tuscany has its Chianti, Emilia-Romagna has its “Motor Valley” and the pride of having one of the highest concentrations in the world of manufacturers of motorcycles and luxury sports cars.

Rich agricultural plain, “Terra dei motori” (Terra dei motori in Italian), a small area that stretches over about 1,000 square kilometers mainly between Bologna and Modena, so the horse hurries across its fields with barley and wheat. Lamborghini.

Manufacturers Maserati and Ducati were also born there, as well as other lesser known and much more elite, automakers Pagani and Dallara – official supplier of cars for the US Indycar Championship – or even the Energica Group, whose electric motorcycles run in parallel GP championships.

Every year – except for the pandemic – for a weekend, all these brands exhibit their creations in the squares of Modena to the delight of the many fans who take selfies next to a two- or four-wheeled race car. .

In the pantheon of supercars, Pagani stands out especially by its price: 2.6 million euros excluding options …

The brand was founded in 1998 in San Cesario sul Panaro, near Modena, by the Argentine Horacio Pagani, who previously worked for Lamborghini, and is aimed at an extremely limited niche clientele. The establishment is located on the outskirts of the small town of a few thousand inhabitants, near agricultural fields and includes a museum and the production workshop.

Maseratis exhibited in a square in Modena, Italy, during the Motor Valley Fest on May 27, 2022 MARCO BERTORELLO AFP

“It takes us between eight and nine months to build a car, and we produce a total of about forty a year,” said Christopher Pagani, son of the founder and communications manager of the brand.

The place where these cars are produced is not called “factory”, but “workshop”. A few dozen technicians and engineers, mostly young people, work, producing a steering wheel that cleans the molds used to model the bodywork, in a cozy atmosphere in a pharmacy where everything is in order and immaculate.

Forty types of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, everything is well thought out to make a Pagani as light as possible “but the reflection is engaged with the customers” on a possible future electric Pagani, heavier due to the batteries, Christopher Pagani emphasizes.

Lamborghini against Ferrari

In this post-war breeding and plowing country, mechanization, tractors and agricultural machinery came into being. Ferruccio Lamborghini owned a tractor factory and … several Ferraris.

Legend has it that the industrialist one day said to Enzo, head of the brand with the slippery horse: “Enzo, I have problems with your cars”, to which the latter replied: “You should only make them yourself if you do” do not like mine”.

A Pagani Zonda R on display at the Italian manufacturer's factory in San Cesario sul Panaro, Emilia-Romagna, May 27, 2022
A Pagani Zonda R on display at the Italian manufacturer’s factory in San Cesario sul Panaro, Emilia-Romagna, May 27, 2022 MARCO BERTORELLO AFP

This exchange, which no one today knows whether it is authentic, gave birth in 1963 to the Lamborghini car factory, 15 years after the tractors’. Ferrari is no longer alone: ​​Emilia-Romagna is gradually building its reputation as a center of mechanical expertise.

“It’s a success that comes from far away, it’s the fruit of several generations,” Andrea Corsini, Emilia-Romagna’s minister for transport, infrastructure and tourism, who came to Modena, told AFP.

According to the Riparte l’Italia Economic Observatory, “Motor Valley” includes more than 16,000 companies, four circuits, six advanced fitness centers and employs more than 90,000 people.

Inside the Pagani assembly plant in San Cesario sul Panaro, Emilia-Romagna, May 27, 2022
Inside the Pagani assembly plant in San Cesario sul Panaro, Emilia-Romagna, May 27, 2022 MARCO BERTORELLO AFP

“In terms of job opportunities, contacts with companies, here it’s best,” assures AFP Emilio, 24, a student of automotive engineering who came from the south of the country to continue his specialization in Modena.

The sector records a turnover of 16 billion euros a year, including 7 billion from exports, and shows a rude health: by 2021, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley or Porsche, among others, have all recorded record results.

The legendary Bugatti also had its heyday in the region, producing the famous B110 GT model in the early 1990s, sold at the time for the modest sum of 500 million lire (about 260,000 euros).

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