Horacio Pagani's father was a baker descended from Italian emigrants. From an early age he enjoyed making cars using balsa wood, the designs of which can now be seen in the Pagani showroom. In 1983 he moved to Italy with a letter of recommendation by Juan Manuel Fangio in order to pursue his dream of building a supercar. At the age of 20, Pagani had designed and built his first F3 racer. He was a chief engineer at Lamborghini and he built the Countach Evoluzione concept. He tried to persuade Lamborghini to buy an autoclave so they could extend the production of the carbon parts for the Evoluzione. They refused, saying that neither did Ferrari have an autoclave, nor did Lamborghini need one. Pagani borrowed the capital to buy his own autoclave late in 1987 and then, in 1991, he broke away from the company and founded his own consultancy called Modena Design which continues to make carbon fiber composites for Formula One cars and clients like Daimler, Ferrari and Aprilia.
Pagani Automobili Modena was founded by Pagani in 1992. The first car he produced was the Zonda which took seven years to complete. His second car produced is the Huayra. It is named after the Huayra tata, the god of the wind in Incan Culture.