Art Of Noise: The Technical Garage Sasaki Story

For all its clickbait and shouty influencers, there’s still plenty of treasure buried deep within our YouTube overlord.

You can start by watching something completely necessary – like crushing coins with a 150-ton hydraulic press – and before you know it, you’re deep in Area 51 conspiracy theories with a sidebar recommending cats being startled by cucumbers.


Around 11 years ago, when life wasn’t in self-isolation and I still worked on Max Power magazine, an email did the rounds featuring a black Mercedes W220 and the words ‘Brilliant Exhaust’ as a title. There wasn’t any request to like or subscribe; just a slammed S-Class that sounded like an old F1 car. So much so we debated for hours if it was even legit. Turned out to be very real, and that awkward title was in fact the company’s name.


Brilliant Exhaust, or rather Technical Garage Sasaki, are the brains behind this madness. Their work is far from news; Jalopnik covered it back in 2014. did their own version in 2016. Even Road & Track had a bash last year. But all of these stories tend to repeat the same message: old Mercedes gains an expensive exhaust. Old Mercedes makes a bonkers noise. Isn’t Japan wacky.


Now seems like a pretty good time to give that story a bit more substance, then. Because TG Sasaki bossman, Makoto Sasaki, is the real hero here. Not the websites or YouTubers trying to piggyback off his brilliance.


There’s a chance the majority of you will already be familiar with TG Sasaki, or one of the many ‘F1 exhaust’ stories over the years. Whatever you make of it, the very idea of seeing a bland-looking car backed with an F1 symphony is the sort of madness we thrive on here. It’s easy to think ‘why bother?’. But it’s much more fun to think ‘why not?’.

For many of us, the sound a car makes is often its most evocative feature. I can overlook most shortcomings when buying a car; like a slightly ropey interior, dodgy set of wheels or actual reliability. But sound? That’s non-negotiable. Because you don’t need skill to enjoy an engine’s sound. You don’t need to break the speed limit, and you don’t need fancy track tyres. Just a bit of fuel and some form of road. All we need now is BMW’s engineers to take note for the next-gen M3.

Look at Formula 1 as an example. This hybrid era we’re in has smashed just about every lap record going. Could anyone say it’s the best-sounding era? Only if they’re fresh from cranial surgery. That title belongs to the screaming V10s, although Ferrari’s V12-powered 412 T2 might be the best-sounding of all time.

Not that I’d recommend disregarding everything else apart from noise; you’ll end up with a garage full of broken tat like me. But think about some of your favourite race cars over the years. You might struggle to recite power output, years active or even driver line-up, but I bet you can still hear the sound they made.


Sasaki-san’s obsession with sound first started back in the 1980s. This was an era when the world of motorsport went – for want of a better phrase – completely mental. Think Group B rallying, Group C prototypes, DTM and turbocharged F1 motors. Yet none of these triggered Sasaki-san quite like the world of high-revving motorcycles.

“I remember being at high school in the ’90s, and I’d just bought my first bike to use as transport,” Sasaki-san recites. “It was a Kawasaki Balius, only 250cc but with a very high rev limit. At first it didn’t sound that good, but when I managed to find a used exhaust for it – and then installed it at home – the whole experience was changed.”

Residing on the outskirts of Tokyo, Sasaki-san is everything you’d expect of a Japanese engineer. He’s quiet and reserved, his shop plonked bang in the middle of a residential area. You won’t find him running sponsored posts on Instagram; the only adverts he entertains are exhaust-shaped ones. His goal has never been about mass-producing exhausts, it’s all about creating the best possible sound.


“When I started making exhausts in 2005, I noticed that many companies already created a good sound,” Sasaki-san adds. “But often, the focus is to add noise and not refine it. In order to change the sound dramatically, you have to create a new manifold. Rear muffler equal noise, manifolds equal sound quality. However, it takes a long time, and costs are not cheap. But I believe the result is worth it. I want to provide the option for owners who require the best engine sound possible.”


The first time I spoke with Sasaki-san was around five or six years ago. Having always had an unhealthy obsession for big silly engines in big silly cars, I couldn’t quite get my head round what he was actually doing. Take the D3 Audi S8 system built back in 2013. This was the era fitted with a ‘detuned’ V10 from the R8, so Sasaki-san took it one step further and gave it a sound even wilder than its supercar sibling.


The Mercedes may have been his most notable work, but over the past 15 years Sasaki-san has built similar exhausts for some properly special cars. How about a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti? (see video below) Or a trusty Aventador for headphone-killing revs. It got to the point where I ended up buying a CL600 Mercedes along with his manifolds to try and recreate my own. That didn’t go brilliantly… after it was crashed into and the insurance money absorbed by house repairs.

Having left school in the late ’90s, Sasaki-san joined exhaust maker Yoshimura in the year 2000. Welding was his initial speciality, but over the course of five years he expanded his skills to cover both the fabrication and design too. In case you hadn’t guessed, Sasaki-san didn’t fancy a future making mass-produced systems, regardless of how good they were. So in 2005 he made the decision to go it alone and start his own shop, Technical Garage Sasaki.

What Sasaki-san offered that many larger shops couldn’t was a completely bespoke exhaust, including those all-important manifolds. That meant almost any car could be a suitable candidate, and after several years of grafting away the perfect opportunity presented itself in the form of a Mercedes W220 S600.

Fitted with a naturally aspirated 5.8-litre V12 – unusually rare for this model as the majority were twin-turbo – its then current owner had already built his own system for it. Unhappy with the sound, and thinking it could be so much more, he travelled eight hours from Okayama to have Sasaki-san’s magic applied.


“The owner was very passionate about the sound but could not make the manifolds himself,” Sasaki-san explains. “Before starting, I looked on YouTube but could not find an S600 Mercedes with a good sound. If we created a racing-style manifold for it, I was sure we could create a racing sound also.”

It took Sasaki-san two months of development to fully perfect the W220’s sound. He knew what was needed to give that high-pitch scream having built systems for ‘traditional’ supercars by this point, but the real challenge came when trying to package the manifolds within the engine bay. Funnily enough, Mercedes never designed the S600 to wear a set of tubular equal-length manifolds. If anything, the stock items try to suppress noise rather than emphasise it.


“What made the Mercedes very difficult was the steering rack and subframe,” explains Sasaki-san. “On most supercars, you have a little more space allowing the flow to be manipulated easier. But not the S600. When I was happy with the sound, I called it a Brilliant Exhaust. The ultimate system for the ultimate sound.”

So impressed with the sound was Sasaki-san that he actually bought the W220 from its owner a year later. It wasn’t the first set of custom manifolds he’d built, but it gained him the most notability. So where is it now? “I sold the car to another customer who also lived in Okayama,” laughs Sasaki-san. “Last I heard, it was now sold to some collectors residing all the way in Hokkaido.”


Before we get back to Sasaki-san’s story, what exactly gives these exhausts – or rather manifolds – their distinctive sound? The quick answer is their equal-length construction, which means each cylinder features the same length of tubing before it reaches and merges within the collector. The main benefit here is to expel each exhaust pulse quickly and free of disruption from other cylinders, hugely improving flow and performance. Designed correctly, the pulses merge raising sound frequency (rather than muffled) giving that distinctive higher-pitched sound.

There’s a whole lot more science involved than that, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know what Sasaki-san is talking about. I’ll leave that to the comments section or a more detailed post specifically on the design from Sasaki-san himself. But for the sake of this feature, we’ll just agree he’s got a fair understanding of what’s required to get that F1-style noise.


Back to that W220 Merc. To date, that first video has been watched over 600,000 times and I’m likely responsible for half of ‘em. It didn’t take long for Sasaki-san’s work to gain notability around the world, and quickly his shop became inundated with requests including a Ferrari 430, AMG CLK63 and even a Lexus SC430.

You can find them all still on his old YouTube channel here, and as we’ve all been gifted a huge amount of free time, I urge you to go watch ‘em now. The Aston Martin Rapide will take some beating.


Fast-forward to 2016, and having sold the W220 Sasaki-san fancied another V12-shaped project to get stuck into. Another Mercedes in fact, but this time W140 shaped. Or as we call it in the UK, Diana-spec.

“With the W140 platform, we already know a great sound is possible from this engine – it was used in the early Pagani Zonda after all,” explains Sasaki-san. “But a Zonda is too rare and expensive for me. I enjoy normal street cars, ones that can be driven comfortably and not by a racing driver. If the M120 engine can sound beautiful on a Zonda, it must also be possible on the S 600 Mercedes.”

Applying the same ethos learnt from the W220 system – most notably the fact that Mercedes V12s have sh*t-all space to play with – Sasaki-san once again spent several months building a pair of manifolds that wouldn’t look out of place in the back of an F1 car.

If anything, the result was even more ridiculous – helped by the fact this era of Mercedes looks like a mobile nursing home. That’s actually a little unfair, because in typical Japanese fashion Sasaki-san hadn’t just chose any old S600 from the classifieds to stick an exhaust on. This one wore an AMG badge.


Not to be confused with the S70 AMG – which boasts a 7.0-litre, 500bhp V12 – the S600 AMG was a Japanese-only model with a little over 100 examples built. These still featured a 6.0-litre V12, but with new pistons, rods and a revised ECU power was taken to 439bhp. Other notable differences included just about every AMG trinket imaginable.

“When we see a supercar, we expect a great noise,” Sasaki-san points out. “When we see an old Mercedes saloon, we expect it to be quiet. I think that is why so many enjoy these projects. It’s why I enjoy making them. Not only is it comfortable and easy to drive, but it has a sound better than most exotic cars.”


I’ve been an avid supporter of Sasaki-san for years now. Take away the cost element for a second – because unsurprisingly these exhausts are expensive – and what you’re left with is a man fabricating bits of actual art, both in the way they look and sound. It’d be easy to question why anyone would waste so much time doing this, but the very fact it’s being discussed on Speedhunters so many years later shows it wasn’t the worst idea he’s ever had.

Plus, if you think these headers are ‘wasted’ on an old V12 Mercedes, wait till you hear what he can do with a modern Ferrari V12 like the 599.

I never did replace that old CL600, but my quest for a silly-sounding Mercedes didn’t end there. By sheer coincidence – that was almost entirely manufactured in advance – I found myself in Japan with Ben and Ryan right around the same time Sasaki-san had decided to sell his S600 AMG. We’d used the disguise of Tokyo Auto Salon, but in reality, Sasaki-san was simply prepping the car for a long-haired westerner to come and buy it.


We visited his shop, laughed hysterically at the sound,, and shot the majority of these pictures before loading the car on a boat and shipping it to England where it now resides on my driveway.

It’s without a doubt the most ridiculous-sounding car I’ve ever owned. But we’ll do a separate story if there’s interest later on.

What next for Sasaki-san? Even though the internet has repeatedly lost its mind for F1-sounding Mercs, Sasaki-san remains as grounded and humble as ever before. He’s not trying to expand overseas nor is he looking for YouTube fame. He’s just a man in his shop building exhausts.


“The Mercedes V12 is still my favourite engine,” he smirks. “If I had the time and money, I would build a kit car using this engine. It produces a sound better than most supercars, and it is still affordable and reliable to use. In a smaller, lighter car, it would have the performance to match the noise. But that is also a lot of work. I think the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S would be good to work on. And if I had the choice? Pagani Huayra. In my opinion, the sound is not good for such an amazing machine. But I don’t think it would be easy to improve.”


Given the fact our automotive future looks either downsized or electrified, I can’t help but think the sound a car makes is more important than ever before. It’s become an endangered species, littered with DSG farts and pop ‘n’ bang maps. Maybe that’s why Sasaki-san’s name has popped up all over again. As we get closer to the internal combustion’s inevitable ban, he’s a little reminder of its bonkers past.

That’s why people like Sasaki-san should be celebrated; not because the exhaust happens to cost thousands of dollars – that’s just lazy clickbait – but because he’s perfected a craft that will soon disappear from new cars altogether.

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Electric cars can be made to go fast. They can be made to travel vast distance and they can feel pretty sporty, too. But no amount of synthesised noise will ever be a replacement for a proper engine. And if the manufacturers can’t figure out an electric solution, there’s always a Japanese engineer with an unhealthy obsession for noise.

Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: markriccioni



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Great article. Lots of fun to read and listen to. The small niche shop stories are some of my favorites.
Would love to hear more about your "new" car and its new life overseas.


Thanks for the feedback! They're some of the best to write, because they're rarely conventional and exist purely through passion.


Good to finally see the Brilliant exhaust guy after all the years. please post more on that W201 Benz in the first two pics though


Cool thing isn't it? That's been owned by Sasaki-san for a while now, although i believe it's since been sold. There's a bit of information here:




Great article, and those pictures are awesome. Is that a hot V turbo V8 manifold? Looks gorgeous, Probably for a modern german V8?

Also, that 190 looks ace!!


Good and accurate guess! That was a development manifold for the AMG GTS - there's a clip of it fitted & running here:


Thanks a lot for your response. And you are right, this man truly is craftsman.


Oh the memories! Brilliant article Mark, would love to hear more about your Mercedes-Benz S Class AMG!


Thanks Nafis! As soon as we're allowed out on the roads again i'll get something put together.


Man, this dude is just turning metal into WORK OF ART(for both eyes and ears!).


that epic opening shot is what drew me in, now how can you go through with all those teasers and not even mention the wide body w201?! well written, and glad to see the old Benz' getting more love.


Glad you enjoyed it. The W201 is also one of Sasaki-san's cars, however was put up for sale quite a while ago (think its since sold) hence the limited info. It's a properly cool thing though, there's some more pics and info here:


Mark....your W140 is CRAAAAAAAAAAZY!!!!!!


That exhaust is a work of art


That exhaust is a work of art


An underappreciated art, I think. I wonder what kind of sound he could finesse out of my Honda H22...


It really is, I think we're so used to jumping straight to the 'finished' product these days we often overlook the process involved, especially when it's more than just performance focused. Refining the sound is a labour of love to say the least.


Noob question but has this been done (equal length manifolds) on a 5 cylinder engine?


I'd imagine the only issue with an inline 5 is the fact the majority of those engines are turbocharged, but otherwise same principal could be applied.


Wow! Who would`ve thought exhaust systems could get you excited? This guy has some SERIOUS talent! Exhaust systems look better than Victoria's Secret models! And I KNOW they're smarter!(ha ha) I'd have to run a clear hood/bonnet just so they could see my exhaust. Gorgeous!


Ok Mark, just how many of your organs have you sold to black market traders in order to afford all the cars you own???


I currently run a stripped-back series of organs most of which were sold during R34 ownership. Currently trying to get a good price on a kidney if you know anyone keen.


Thanks for this story, a refreshing change from the "built for this...under the hood...exterior wise...wheel fitment."
It felt like a journey not just a pretence for a spec list.


Appreciate the feedback. Some stories - especially when captured at shows - are quite difficult to make into 'proper' reads, but for the most part there's almost always an interesting story behind the build than the actual car itself.


Any discussion about power improvements? Love what he can do with the sound, but with good sound being the end goal, is there a sacrifice made in terms of power? Just a thought, not a criticism.


I'll put it to Sasaki-san and see what he says - i'm planning to put the S600 AMG on a dyno (once we're out of lockdown) to get a proper idea for any gains over stock



Great article. This hits all the heart strings. I know you covered TGS before, but I really appreciate diving a little deeper into the story and process. TGS/Brilliant exhuast youtube videos are the reason my wife and I swapped an M120 into her S30 Z last year. Which was, draining to say the least haha, both financially and emotionally. Similar to the reasons Sasaki-San mentions, light/lengendary car... with an engine and sound to finally match. If that tickles his fancy feel free to get in touch.

I remember watching the video with W220 and realizing I needed that in my life. Got deeper into the rabbit hole and came to the same conclusion the M120 was superior to the M137. Ended up getting one shipped out and at my house 2 months after the video.... It was an rash decision... but the genesis of this all resides with this TGS and Sasaki-San's youtube videos. Literally changed my life.


Glad to hear i'm not alone with the madness haha! M120-powered S30Z sounds awesome! Anymore info/pics on it? Fair play for embarking on such a project, we need to see more of that!


Best Speedhunters article I have read in a while! Thanks Mark! Sounds like we need a feature on your extended garage too..!


Great sounds! I'm curious as to how many revs you're doing to get that kind of sound?

Fabio Castellotti

I bought an S600 coupe C140 6 years ago and of course I ended up seeing Sasaki brilliant exhaust works. That change my life since, I abandoned my carrer in marketing and I started studying exhaust flow and sound engineering and within 2-3 years I opened a bespoke exhaust system shop and my philosophy here its almost the same as Sasaki, only bespoke exhaust developed with most advanced CFD softwares and custom made mufflers. Its not a super wealthy job, at least not yet, here in Brazil is very difficult to sell a full titanium job to compete with some famous imported brands... but I am building my name project after project here and hope one day be recognized for that.
Thank you Mark for this awesome post, and thank you Sasaki for changed my life, I was lost and unhappy since my accident that made me wheelchair person and lost my racing driver career in 2008 and now I know that I finded my propurse in life.

That is my S600 coupe with stock manifold yet, but I made the equally in the secondary ducts. Its a little bit more scratchy sound but I love it!


The music...omg


This is awesome. I wonder what my gen 1 sbc could sound like....


Thanks for the great article.
The F12 created by Technical Garage Sasaki also sounds great.

Mihai Cosmin Dumitrescu

Wow, what a great piece!
Loved the end paragraphs, but let's be honest, we'll all meet even in 2040 at small car meets, to listen to these amazing petrol-fueled machines. This culture will never die.


Mark, enjoyed every paragraph of this tale ! Best one ive read yet


No DSG farts from my VR6 passat, the oem exhaust is quitet and booring (good for long drives though!). The VR6 in my manual golf sounds a lot more fun :)


Put me down for interested in your new purchase.

I realise he has a passion for very fancy engines in ordinary cars (If an old AMG is ordinary to you), but I'd like to see him apply his art to something truly regular. Just for interest's sake, I'd love to see what someone like this could craft for an old Civic or something, to show the difference between a cheap exhaust, a brand exhaust and something bespoke like this work.


While I am a fan of the howl of the Matra V12 engine, and yes that best sounding engine ever title belong to it before the Ferrari 412T2 and you would knew it if you ever heard both of them in real life, I think as a car owner I would eventually grow tired of it when doing regular errands. Even local racetracks now have really strict db upper limits and I guess you get pullover regularly with that kind of exhaust on the road. I wish they were a way to switch go into a muffler or bypass it to quiet it down a bit.

There are cars like the Ferrari Testarossa of the 80's or its contemporary the Lamborghini Countach that had nice sounding engines but those were still quiet enough at regular driving pace to not be seen as too annoying or suspicious from the neighbours/ local wildlife/police enforcement perspective.

That was the boring comment of the days, sorry guys. Still the work from Sasaki san is ... hum ... brillant and I am glad there are still people doing bonker things in this world.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Oh man... that video of the Aston sent a shiver down my spine!

And that 190E... is it using a molded Pandem kit?


> DSG farts and pop ‘n’ bang maps

the single thing I hate most about modern performance cars, what an embarrassment they are


That sound is freaking brilliant!!! Love it!