Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Ducati and Pagani luxury sports cars and bikes all come from the same part of Italy – a visit to Motor Valley
- Between Bologna and Modena in northern Italy, an area known as Motor Valley is home to many of the world’s supercar and superbike marques
- At Modena’s recent Motor Valley Fest, a futuristic US$2.8 million Pagani Huayra was among the luxury sports cars to catch the eye of fans and executives
If Tuscany has Chianti, the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna has “Motor Valley”, an area that boasts one of the highest concentrations of luxury sports cars and motorbikes in the world.
The so-called Land of Motors, covering around 1,000 square kilometres (390 square miles) of prime agricultural land roughly between Bologna and Modena, is home to Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati and Ducati, in addition to less well-known brands.
Every year – coronavirus permitting – industry types and fans flock to Modena for a weekend to talk business and admire the spectacular cars and bikes displayed around town. Among those on show this year was a Pagani Huayra, a futuristic supercar produced just a few kilometres away in Pagani’s base at San Cesario sul Panaro, where vehicles are made to measure – and start at a cool €2.6 million (US$2.8 million).
Christopher Pagani, the son of the founder and the marque’s communications chief, said it takes between eight and nine months to manufacture a Pagani car, with customers normally waiting two years between order and delivery.
“In 2022 we are producing some 40 to 45 cars. They are all special because every customer has the opportunity to get in touch with us, visit us, and go on this journey,” he said.
In the factory – dubbed the “workshop” – a few dozen mostly young people work in the hushed and ordered environment of a science lab. For the brand, weight is everything – they use 40 types of carbon fibre, as well as titanium and aluminium to make the car as light as possible.
Pagani said talks were under way with clients about a potential electric version, even if it would be heavier because of the battery, as part of a trend towards greener vehicles.
Pagani’s father, Horacio, founded the company in 1992 after working at Lamborghini, another of Italy’s top luxury car marques based in the area.
According to legend, Ferruccio Lamborghini, the wealthy owner of a tractor factory, turned his hand to sports cars in the 1950s after complaining about the Ferraris he owned. Enzo Ferrari is said to have told him that if he didn’t like what he made, he should go and build his own.
Ferrari’s Maranello site is outside Modena; another carmaker there is Dallara, which provides cars for IndyCar racing in the United States, and electric motorbike firm Energica.
“The success dates a long way back, it is the fruit of several generations,” said Andrea Corsini, who handles transport, infrastructure and tourism for the Emilia-Romagna region.
In Motor Valley, manufacturers found a ready skills base among farmers who, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, had to learn to repair their own machinery. Today, it has 16,000 companies, four racing tracks, six training centres, and employs more than 90,000 people, according to think tank Riparte l’Italia.
“In terms of job opportunities and contacts with companies, this is the best place to be,” said 24-year-old Emilio, who studies car engineering in the south of Italy, and came to Modena for the weekend.
The luxury car sector is in good health, with Bugatti, Ferrari and Lamborghini all posting record results in 2021.
It was also here that French company Bugatti produced its celebrated EB 110 GT in the 1990s, examples of which can sell for US$1 million today.
Additional reporting by Staff Reporter