Every man has a dream car, whether it's a simple econobox or a rolling jacuzzi on wheels. And the dream car inspires us to set goals and hopefully attain that car.
For David Lieu the dream was realized with a '99 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor. "I know it's not the best car in the world, but I told myself if I ever become successful, that would be the car I'd roll in," explained David.
The SLK was purchased brand new back in '99, but it wasn't until five years later that he even dared modify it - which is strange considering David's the general manager of M1 Autobody, part of the DTM Autohas empire. If you recall, we've featured several widebody cars from this very shop.
Though he may have waited a few years to get started, when the moment came David decided to overhaul his ride in one go. The car was his daily driver but the major project would decommission his ride for three months for the bodywork alone once he decided to go widebody. "I wanted to enter the show scene and to blow people away, and I thought widening the car and painting it would attract business to the shop. And it has," he noted.
There isn't much of an aftermarket for the SLK, so David designed his own widebody using the AMG kit as an inspiration. The rear quarters were widened 4" on each side in fiberglass, and 3" in the front with molded SL65 fender vents.
To accommodate the extra width, the AMG bumpers and skirts had to be modified. This involved blending them to meet the wider fenders so everything looked factory. The hood was then replaced with a fiberglass boser hood that incorporated a carbon vent. DTM Karbon used its favorite fibers for the canard winglets along the side of the car, as well as the rear diffuser. The shop also fabricated a sleek spoiler, which is molded to the trunk lid.
After all the body mods were complete, the car was sprayed in bright Candy Apple red. "M1 is known for producing great Candy paint jobs, and since red is my favorite color I chose Candy Apple red. It really grabs your attention," said David.
Under the hood lies a stock supercharged engine with a K&N drop-in filter. It also sports a Remus exhaust. While performance parts are limited for the SLK, he dressed the bay with color-matched engine covers to compensate.
The true performance upgrades are the suspension and brake components. David went all-out and equipped his ride with a set of KW Variant 1 coilovers, paired with Eibach anti-roll bars.
For stopping power he turned to Brembo's Big Brake Kit, consisting of four-piston calipers and 14" rotors for the front, with cross-drilled rotors in the rear.
For rollers David had to go wide. To fill the rear fenders he chose 18x11" DTM Kreuz 10 wheels, with 18x9.5s in the front. The wheels sport a deep dish, polished lip and are wrapped in Nitto NT555 tires.
The interior is tasteful, sporting a black and red two-tone leather interior, accented with carbon fiber. There are Recaro seats paired with Sabelt harnesses, with a custom roll bar just behind. The floor has diamond-plate mats and mounted on the A-pillar are two Megan Racing gauges to monitor AFR and boost.
As for mobile electronics, David's ride boasts a Pioneer head unit, complete with touchscreen navigation. The rest of the audio components are Crossfire, including 6.5" speakers around the cabin. In the trunk are two Crossfire amps and two 10" subwoofers. The latter are mounted in a color-matched fiberglass enclosure, with the amps neatly displayed behind.
With so much creativity in the vehicle, it's no wonder David has gathered several awards. And because the car was designed to promote the body shop, business is booming. In fact, it's fair to say M1 Autobody has been a major contributor to the West Coast widebody scene and it appears they'll continue to be one for the foreseeable future.
Location: Arcadia, CA
Occupation: General Manager, M1 Autobody and DTM Autohaus
1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor
Engine: 2.3 liter, four cylinder supercharged with K&N air filter, Remus exhaust
Driveline: five-speed manual transmission
Suspension: KW Variant 1 coilovers, Eibach anti-roll bars
Brakes: Brembo Big Brake Kit (front) with four-piston calipers and 14" rotors, Brembo cross-drilled rotors (rear)
Wheels & Tires: 18x9.5" (front) and 18x11" (rear) DTM Kreuz 10 wheels, 255/35-18 (front) and 275/35-18 (rear) Nitto NT555 tires
Exterior: custom DTM Autohaus widebody with modified AMG bumpers and skirts, SL65 fender vents, fiberglass boser hood with carbon vent, molded trunk spoiler, DTM Karbon canard wings and diffuser, black headlamp housings, HID, House of Kolors Candy Apple red
Interior: AMG black/red two-tone leather interior, carbon trim, Recaro racing seats, Sabelt harnesses, Megan air/fuel and boost gauges, diamond-plate mats, custom roll bar
Audio/Visual: Pioneer head unit with navigation, two 6.5" Crossfire speakers, two 10" subs and two Crossfire amps
Thanks: M1 Autobody, M1 Autosport, DTM Autobody, DTM Autohas, DTM Karbon, Nitto Tires, Crossfire, Dynamic Customs, Xenon Vision, Kreative Interiors