How To Make A Used Mercedes Sound Like A Pagani Zonda

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Yes, the Pagani Zonda is perhaps the best sounding car ever, ever. But what if I told you that you could have that iconic, raucous sound in a car that costs the same as a used Honda Civic? Here's how to do it.


(Photo by bizmac on Flickr)

Step 1: Acquire Mercedes S600, SL600, or CL600.

The key part of sounding like a Zonda is having the engine of a Zonda. Well, sort of.
A Pagani Zonda uses a modified 7.0 and 7.3 liter AMG V12, naturally aspirated. You can't get the race-inspired Zonda engine cheaply, but you can get the next best thing - the 6.0 liter Mercedes M120 engine (that was actually used, untuned in the first Zonda, the C12), or the 5.8 liter M137 engine.


This style of engine came in the Mercedes S600, SL600, and CL600 from 1992 to 2002. These cars can be found for dirt cheap, with less than $10,000 giving you a solid example of what Mercedes was capable of when it came to V12 technology.


See if you can find one on eBay.

Step 2: Get Equal Length Long Tube Headers

This part is completely custom, but then again, this article is about how to make your car sound like one of the most rare and desirable exotics on the planet, not how to put rims on your Focus. There's one company who currently manufactures these exact headers, but they're in Japan, and they don't have a website. Fortunately, they do have a Facebook page. It's called Technical Garage Sasaki, and I'm sure they can send you over a custom-built stainless steel or titanium exhaust system if you're willing to let go of several thousand of your favorite American dollars. I actually don't know the exact price of the exhaust, I'm simply estimating based on how much similar systems for other makes and models cost.


Here's what the manifolds looks like:


You don't necessarily need to farm out the labor to Japan, as I'm sure there are plenty of custom fab shops that would be willing to take on a project like this.


Just drive it. Here's a video of what the system looks like, and how the amazingly insane system SOUNDS. Prepare your eardrums. It's gonna get messy.

(Photo Credit:,

Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world's cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he's the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.