2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550: Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

The TS Designs crew was under pressure to make sure all the pieces fit this Mercedes-Benz CLS550 in under five weeks.

Story: Reynald Fries

Photography: Clifford Sutrisno

Topo, owner of TS Designs in Los Angeles, set up a quick meeting with his client Robert, a member of Swift Car Club, to begin a project on a brand-new Mercedes-Benz CLS550. Robert already knew he wanted staggered wheels and a custom-white paint job, but he was open to brainstorming other ideas, too. Topo, racking his brain for new concepts, sought inspiration in an older CLS project he already had in the shop. Its parts were a little outdated style-wise, but it had staggered wheels, just like Robert wanted. After seeing the wheels on the old CLS, Robert immediately agreed that he wanted the same style of wheels—21 inches in front, 22 inches in the rear. Topo, though, reminded him that they would have to build a widebody kit to fit the wheels; and thus, the new project began.

After scoping out different wheels that matched the measurements, Topo and Robert opted to install 21×9.5-inch Forgiato F2.04 wheels in front with 22×13-inch in back. After that came the difficult part, which was to get the Misha Designs CLS body kit to fit the car with the offset rims. The body kit would have to extend three inches wider in the rear and two more in the front, which is no easy task. “You know how people put body kits on cars just to make them look sportier? Well, after we got that body kit, I still had to cut that thing up and mold it to fit the widebody,” Topo says. He clarifies, “You can put a Misha body kit on, but it’s still just another body kit. When we widened it to put that big eight-inch lip on the rear, that’s what made it stand out from the rest. You can’t just put any body kit on any car.”

After the crew completed the wheels and body kit, it was off to JC Customz of Bellflower, California, for paint. Although Robert initially mentioned painting the CLS white, he ended up asking for matte pearl-blue paint by House of Kolor, because he felt white just seemed too stock. For those who want a Misha body kit with paint to match like the one pictured here, they’ll need about $27,000 to cover it.

With wheels, body kit and paint all done, it was off to see Joe at California Upholstery of Bell Gardens for the interior. Joe’s crew worked late hours to completely redo the interior with black perforated-leather seats and hand-stitched black leather-wrapped door panels, dashboard, center console and steering wheel. The headliners and pillars are completely redone with hand-stitched, black Alcantara suede with blue 270-contrast thread and cross-pattern stitching, and the ceiling is machine double-stitched with Alcantara suede—a three-day, $4,500 job.

Robert’s new CLS550 was completed in about four weeks. Yes, the audio and performance specs for this whip are all stock, but that’s how Robert wanted it. Audio and engine mods just aren’t his style. And with a car that looks this good, who can complain?

Spec The Technique:

Year/Make/Model: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550

Performance: Remus Sport Exhaust

Exterior: Misha Designs body kit customized to fit widebody; House of Kolor pearl blue with PPG flat black overlay

Interior: Black Alcantara suede with blue 270-contrast thread cross-pattern stitching, black leather seats; upholstery by Joe at California Upholstery

Ice: Stock

Wheels/Tires: Forgiato F2.04 wheels, 21-inch front, 22-inch rear; Toyo Proxes 4 tires, 255/30/21 front, 305/25/22 rear


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