Ai Design has announced the completion and delivery of a striking looking, performance tuned 2006 Mercedes CLS 55 commissioned by DC Shoes Co-Founder, Ken Block. The astonishing appearance of the sedan, finished in matte black from tip to tail, is accented by a vented hood and gleaming orange Brembo racing brake calipers at all four wheels. “It was a pleasure to work with a client who had strong ideas about what he wanted,” commented Ai Design president Matthew Figliola. “Mr. Block certainly appreciated our design sensibilities pertaining to this project, however he was clearly capable of making critical decisions along the way,” Figliola added.

Ai Design began by upgrading the heart of the CLS 55 using Brabus K8 engine tuning components yielding 575 horsepower.

The CLS 55 breathes easily through Brabus twintip sport exhaust mufflers that peek out from behind a tailor-made Brabus rear bumper diffuser. Handling has been dramatically enhanced utilizing a Brabus electronic suspension lowering module, combined with Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires wrapped around Radenergie R10 20-inch wheels. Brembo 8-piston racing brake calipers mate to 15-inch rotors up front, while 4-piston calipers and 13.6-inch rotors have been fitted to the rear wheels.

The exterior appearance of Block’s CLS 55 is a departure from tradition within any segment of the custom car craze—a matte black finish has been applied to all body panels, and in contrast, the chrome trim has been finished in a glossy piano black, giving the sleek sedan an almost menacing appearance. Tail and side marker lamps have all been tinted, and a bronze-cast DC Shoes logo, hand-sculpted by a jeweler commissioned by Ai Design, has also been finished in piano black and affixed to the trunk alongside the factory emblem. The front bumper, carbon fiber grill, vented hood (used to keep the tweaked power-plant cool), side skirt panels, and trunk lid spoiler (all from Brabus) round out the list of exterior accoutrements.

In order to give Block better access to the gear selector in the manual shift mode, Ai Design fitted the CLS 55 with a Brabus sport steering wheel fitted with paddle shifters.

Vehicle side and trunk ground illumination was added for the ultimate in luxury and convenience, and the DC Shoes logo was embroidered into each of the car’s four interior headrests. Ai Design’s famed V1 radar detection system with etched rearview mirror display and an iPod/MOST interface complete the package.
“I truly enjoyed working with Ai Design—their quality craftsmanship and attention to detail is far beyond the work done for me by other shops,” stated Mr. Block at the completion of the project.

Text and photos courtesy of Ai Design