August 11, 2011, - 3:00 pm

DUMB: US Big Govt vs. Million $ Italian Sports Car

By Debbie Schlussel

Why does a two-door fast sports car designed for studly (or desperately wannabe-studly) men have to have child-safe air bags?  Ask the Obama administration, which is keeping the Pagani Huayra out of the U.S. for exactly that extremely stupid reason.

The Huayra is a very cool sports car with a million dollar price tag.  Most of us couldn’t afford it.  But it’s a great example of how big government makes doing business nearly impossible, and for especially stupid reasons and irrelevant safety regulations.  Look at the photo of the Huayra.  Do you think anyone who can afford the million dollars to buy it and the countless necessary guzzled gallons of gas is buying it for the purpose of driving a baby in it?  PUH-LEEZE.

Italian automaker Pagani was to begin selling its $1 million, 700 horsepower Huayra supercar in the U.S. later this year but federal safety regulators have said “Not so fast.”

Pagani had applied for an exemption from federal auto safety rules requiring child-safe “advanced” airbags, arguing that complying with the rule would have caused “substantial economic hardship,” according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA denied the request, essentially blocking the car from sale in the U.S., because Pagani failed to show that installing the airbags on the twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder carbon-titanium car would cause the company undue financial strain. Also, the Italian carmaker didn’t show that serious efforts had been made to comply, the agency said.

The auto safety agency sometimes grants temporary exemptions from specific safety rules, especially for automakers that plan to sell only a small number of cars.

Pagani created the Huayra as part of the automaker’s plan to break into the U.S. market. The car was engineered and crash tested to meet safety standards in both the U.S. and Europe. . . .

Advanced airbags are designed to sense when children or small adults are in the vehicle and adjust the force with which they deploy accordingly. Early airbags were found to injure — and even kill — small children.

Yeah, ‘cuz there are gonna be a lotta kids ridin’ in a million dollar sports car. Most people who buy one of these either don’t have kids or have several other cars they use when they plan to drive with kids. These are cars men buy to drive fast and in which to pick up chicks. They are cars that broadcast mid-life crises or inadequate junk in the trunk. They aren’t cars that ever involve babies, toddlers, or young kids. Anyone who thinks otherwise just isn’t living in the real world and doesn’t have any common sense. . . .

With it’s seven figure price tag the Huayra would have competed in the rarified pricing sphere of cars like the Bugatti Veyron which is finishing its sales run just as just the Huayra was preparing to enter the market, or the quickly sold out Lamborghini Reventon.

With a total of only 60 employees, Pagani’s small factory can only produce so many of the largely hand-built cars, so initial sales in the U.S. were to be limited to about five cars a year during 2012, the automaker said in February. After that, a planned factory expansion would allow for sales of as many as 10 cars a year here.

The Huayra, pronounced “why-rah,” is named after the ancient Andean wind god Aymara Huayra Tata.

Absurd. This car needs child-safe air bags as much as an F-16 plane does. They simply don’t go together.

31 Responses

Men buy a muscle car to have fun and to feel macho. The Pagani Huayra isn’t a car women would buy. Even with that price tag, its geared for a niche market. Not many guys would take a baby or a child for a spin in one.

Big government keeps getting to be ridiculous!

NormanF on August 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    And where did we her that before?

    shegundala on August 12, 2011 at 10:27 am

Obviously the Car is perfect for a child seat…you drive up to the Buxom Blonde in her Nissan and she wants you even more when she sees Junior in the back.

There are going to be 5-10 cars of this type sold in the Country, for cryin’ out loud.

The real reason the Gov’t put the kibosh on this was Obama wanting to pee on Bill Clinton’s shoes.

Occam's Tool on August 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Reminds me of the movie, “Idiocracy.”

We have now sunk to the levels of the old Soviet bureaucracy.

Ironic that you run this article while Obama is implicitly blaming Republicans for the gridlock in Washington, DC, which he blames for the downfall of the U.S. economy

Jonathan E. Grant on August 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

if i had the cash, i’d like one but it hurts my back just thinking about climbing in and out of it…

howardroark on August 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Nice car, but I wouldn’t drive one around here in Michigan. With such low ground clearance like that, you can tear out the underneath, and parts of the car body on these roads.

We have the Government we have, because that’s what we seem to tolerate. Unless there is a revolt and these people are removed bodily from Office, the same old junk will continue, and the same boring, do-nothing, gutless half-wits will continue to be our “leaders.”

John on August 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Maybe they’re afraid this car will make Government Motors look bad.

Little Al on August 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Actually, NormanF, the men I know have fast cars because we enjoy racing them, not to feel “macho”. Have you ever been to the LeMans race? Or Road Altanta? Or Mid-Ohio? The fun of racing and testing your skill and car against others is very exciting. We don’t race on the street or brag about our cars. Those that do, have a very small weiner and a very large ego, and can’t race either. Please don’t lump men that enjoy automotive art and racing into the “insecure-men-crowd”.

Private Eye on August 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I meant it in the positive sense of feeling “manly.” In our increasingly chickified culture, its frowned on for men to do things they actually enjoy. The government is trying to do for the feminists what the feminists can’t do for themselves: stop guys from driving fast cars!

    NormanF on August 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

That type of vehicle needs only a 5-point racing harness in each seat, and no ordinary seat belts or air bags whatsoever.

Down with the nanny state!

Oh, and by the way, some women like fast cars too. That isn’t my particular shtick; I’m more into SUVs myself.

1389AD on August 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I suspect the government is just afraid of “how it might look” if it allows such a symbol of conspicuous consumption into the country while “so many are suffering”. Of course, that never stopped Obama from taking million dollar vacations on the government’s dime.

On the other hand, if was a million dollar electric, they’d be throwing subsidies at it like they have with Tesla Motors.

Raymond in DC on August 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

If someone can afford it, who is the government to tell him not to buy it? I wouldn’t buy it, like most people for obvious reasons but that’s why we have a free market!

NormanF on August 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm

It’s obvious that in this car, you can’t drive 55. It’s hardly a little deuce coupe, and I’ll be damned if it can survive Dead-Man’s Curve.

But to be fair, even if this car were to be allowed into the US of Eh? there should be some air-jacks installed to adjust clearance, thus making the car worth more than $1.0 M. Still, it would be a bitching whip. I wonder how much X-zibit would want to pimp this ride. [DROOL]

The Reverend Jacques on August 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I agree with Debbie here, this is a case of regulations in the wrong place. I’ve seen reviews of Pagani’s previous car – the Zonda – and this isn’t a car that you are going to buy to run to the mall. It’s incredibly uncomfortable for everyday driving and takes road bumps like a brick.

This is a car that you are going to take to a local race track for track day, or in some other situation where you can get it up to speed.

Dave H. on August 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Million-dollar exoticar from Italia… of course it needs built-in infant sensors. But why should Obamessiah stop there? Why not mandate Q’uran holders, foot baths and welfare debit card slots in them, also?

DS_ROCKS! on August 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I see cars of this type on the road in Beverly Hills daily. Usually an old fart with a toupee behind the wheel or a youngster using the car to over-compensate for low self-esteem and/or a small penis. The elite among wealthy do not want to advertise they are rich. Cars like this can burn through a tank of gas in less than an hour and they make one hell of a statement.

#1 Vato on August 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm

leticia olalia morales of 15501 pasadena ave #h tustin ca 92780 submitted fake documents and paid 5000.00 dollars to obtain a US tourist visa. she also used fake employment records to obtain a work visa. her contact at the embassy was an individual namaed sandman.

anon on August 11, 2011 at 10:12 pm

What’s a bad match these days? Americans who take their freedoms and liberties for granted and the same Americans being oblivious to the creeping incrementalism into our daily lives by the representative chimps (with sincere apologies to real chimps) we have stupidly elected.

Zero is doing so much damage. It would still shock those of us who are paying attention how much nanny gubmint has crow-barred their regulations and restrictions into our lives. It’s absolutely un-American. That is, if lazy, slobby America would wake the eff up and realize with a Republic, the citizens still must keep an eye on the elected official governing.

But no. Our republic is taken for granted.

DS has posted a thread on Boston’s moronic Mayor. (I don’t know if y’all have heard that his newest scheme is to try to erect parking meters but in lieu of paying for parking in the big, bad city, these meters are for people to contribute to the HOMELESS. The dumbest part of this “brilliant” idea is that fat-head Menino also thinks these hobo-meters will stop panhandling. As DS says…”riiiiiiiiiight”) Our Governor Deval Patrick has snuck in a tax on cell-phones. As of July 1st, if you purchase a cell-phone, one does not pay tax on what one pays for it but the wholesale or retail price (so if said phone is worth $400. but you had a deal only paying $75., then one pays tax on the $700. value. Thankfully, we border TAX FREE New Hampshire.)

I would not smoke today, but I miss the freedom of smoking I had back in the 80s. When I remember the freedom of choice of smoking wherever the hell I wanted, I miss it and the creeping incrementalism that has taken over makes me madder than a cut snake!

Skunky on August 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm

While I think the car should be allowed in, look at the bright side. That’s $1m that isn’t buying a foreign product. More likely though the potential buyer will buy a Lambo or Bugatti instead.

dej on August 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm

What are some good car rental places that let you rent sport cars?

motiva motorsports on August 12, 2011 at 4:00 am

Maybe they are trying to protect the young car jackers from hurting themselves! Or the new Justine Bibers of the worlds.

JohnPaul Bagnoli on August 12, 2011 at 6:10 am

Please tell me you’re buying one of these!!!

Mike on August 12, 2011 at 9:58 am

Okay Deb, I get how ridiculous all this red tape is–but ‘mid-life crisis’? Hold on, Babe. I have a showroom perfect sun roof Vette that’s one stop short of heaven with the top down and a float up PCH. Macho and chics be damned. If I didn’t love this toy so much I’d sell it and get the Ferrari I want. There usually isn’t too much crisis (unless it’s self-manufactured) mid or otherwise, in one’s life who can reasonably and comfortably afford the things they want and enjoy…A Dodge Dart–Now that’s a mid-life crisis.

shegundala on August 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

“They are cars that broadcast mid-life crises or inadequate junk in the trunk.”


Renato Piereck on August 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

this is really stupid I remember reading an article in the paper a few months ago about how a guy crashed a Pagani Zonda (the model this is replacing) at 200 mph and he and the passager walked a way with nothing more the bruises. thats way safer then anything else on the roads.

Wolf on August 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

My brother once told me about an airplane that was designed to be so stable that it couldn’t pass safety tests.

How’s that, you ask? Well, the safety tests required that the plane had to be able to pull out of a barrell roll. Unfortunately, this plane was so stable it couldn’t even get into a barrell roll, in the first place. Those pilots tried everything to get that plane into a barrell roll, and it just stayed nice and steady and flat. It was a dream to ride on, apparently. Smooth and easy, low turbulence. Anyone could ride it without getting air sick. Great for troop transports.

But it failed the safety tests, so they couldn’t put it into mass production.


It’s like the old question – “Have you stopped beating your wife, yet? Yes or no, answer only.”

“I’m not married!”

“That is not a yes or no answer. You fail.”

Michelle on August 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

No muara for America, because of no seat belt, but its ok for the Tesla not to have one.

Dom on August 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I know what the real problem is. If Pagani sold just 5 of those awesome pieces of machinery in the US, they would outsell GM (Government Motors) and make the Obama admin look bad.

Jarhead on August 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

The Huayra isn’t quite the mid-life crisis mobile that you make it out to be. It’s not an off-the-shelf Lamborghini or Ferrari that the average rich guy is going to take out and pick up chicks with.

It’s going to be purchased by very serious and deep-pocketed car enthusiasts, who will either promptly add it to a collection and/or use it almost exclusively for track events and other motorsport. It’s NOT the kind of car that will be primarily driven to show off on Hollywood Boulevard.

Which makes the government intervention here even MORE absurd, if such a thing is even possible. If any car is deserving of a child-safe airbag exemption, it’s this one.

TJP on August 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I believe that I could build a 700 horsepower car for way less than one million dollars.

Tanstaafl on August 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm

@Private Eye

Thank you for saying what needs to be said. Those of us that are motor enthusiasts who enjoy racing (Mid-Ohio rocks!) look at this car and don’t see an ‘inadequacy projection’ but instead an amazing example of engineering that we’d love to exploit on the race track. Sometimes a sexy looking car or motorcycle is just a car or, as Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Drew on August 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

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