Article and photos by Melanie Meder, Melanie Meder Photography
This was the first shot I had ever taken of the purple Pagani Zonda 760 LH, back in summer 2013. Yes, LH stands for Lewis Hamilton, but aside from its famous owner, this car is just a piece of art. It’s awesome. Imagine: 760 hp combined with a manual gearbox. I mean… There are no words to describe the awesomeness of this car. Then there’s its sound… I don’t know if there’s anything that sounds better than this beast, but the first time I heard it, I knew that it was #betterthanbeethoven.
But let’s do it all over again: I do remember that night very well. It was the time when people use to go home after partying or when they were already sleeping. The streets of Monaco were dead empty, and it was very quiet. I had been at the harbor-platform on the sea, which is a bit ‘outside’ of Monaco, but with a nice view at the whole city, and was walking towards my car when I suddenly heard a very strange engine noise reaching me with every big wave.
I really couldn’t get it right in my head, because it was a sound I’d never heard before. It was pretty similar to the F1-V8 engines of 2013, but sounded more aggressive and intense. I can’t tell how long I was just standing there, listening and wondering about this engine sound, but it was long enough to track the places where the sound was coming from. Whoever was driving it, drove it pretty loudly through Monaco. You ccould say that everyone could have heard it.
I knew that person was driving the F1 track, because I heard it coming down from the Casino square, doing the hairpin, then Fairmont tunnel, the harbor, passing by Rascasse and then again towards the Casino. It was like an open-air concert: doing the Fairmont hairpin meant slowing down, hard downshifts –boom- and screaming engine. Then, towards the Fairmont tunnel: high torque, upshifting, next gear plus the booming echo in the tunnel.
Then, the harbour: downshift, -boom- slowing down, doing the Rascasse turn and again, high torque, letting the engine scream, -boom-upshifting and speeding up towards the Casino. At the Casino it lost its volume for a while. But then, again: Fairmont hairpin, tunnel, echo and shifting those gears like there’s no tomorrow.
I counted 3 laps when I lost the“sound-trace” near the Grimaldi Forum, towards Monaco beach. I don’t know why I kept standing and listening instead of driving there to see which car was driving around, but listening to this sound and being able to track it through the whole of Monaco did completely hypnotize me. And it amazed me. The only thing that made me come back to reality was my phone ringing. It took me just one look at the screen to become shaky. “Zonda LH 760 driving around.” And that was the moment when my feet carried me to my car.
I was not thinking about anything else; I hardly remember how quickly I drove to the place where it was parked. But less than 60 seconds later I arrived at the Grimaldi Forum- and it was just perfect.
The Zonda has been parked perfectly – with spotlights on it and in the middle of the parking lot. “Beautiful,” was all I thought. After admiring the car for a while I started to take some pictures of it and that’s how this shot was created.
To see more of Melanie’s work, including a video of the Zonda 760 LH, be sure to visit and “like” her Facebook page here: Melanie Meder Photography