We first heard about Matt Alpert's E55 after popping into the Group 5 Motorsport facility in San Diego. Owner Troy Wilhite mentioned that a local man was dumping some serious cash into his Merc. Upon finding out the owner's occupation-he's a lawyer-the old "hater" joke immediately came to mind:
What's the difference between a porcupine and a Mercedes-Benz? The porcupine has the pricks on the outside.
Turns out Alpert isn't. A prick, that is. He turned out to be a pretty nice guy and he's actually a "good" kind of lawyer. When he's not doing a bill on the 805 in his modified AMG, he's recovering loot from defrauded investors. In fact, his firm has recovered billions in cases such as Enron and United Health. If you want to look at it that way, Enron helped pay for the Benz and its tidy upgrades.
"I got the car originally from my Dad," Alpert says. "But when I was younger, my parents would never let me modify my cars, so when I finally got the opportunity to do so I was pretty excited. The first thing I did to the car was add the 20-inch HRE Monoblok M40 rims and the Toyo tires."
For the record, those twinny-twin-twins are 8.5 inches wide fore and 10.5 aft. The meats measurements are 245/30 up front and 285/50 out back. With more than 600 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque, this evil E55 needs every inch of that rear contact patch.
And speaking of rims, one of the reasons that Alpert's parents wouldn't allow him to modify his cars as a kid was because of an article in the L.A. Times about a man who was shot and killed for his wheels. The article described the carjacking and included the reverse-ebonics quote from LAPD Captain Mike Downing. Cue nerdy white voice: "They are very expensive. They are somewhere between three and four thousand dollars apiece. They are chrome. They are on some kind of independent bearing and when the car stops the inner rim continues to spin."
Some poor sucker got jacked for his spinners, and as a result Matt's parents feared for their son's life should he acquire any flashy upgrades for his rig, which was a Honda at the time.
Forward to present day and Matt has managed to stay away from chrome spinners. Nonetheless, a menacing look has been attained through the addition of the previously mentioned HREs and an array of body mods, which include a Brabus carbon-fiber front spoiler, Vorsteiner rear carbon wing, Euroteck Motorsports rear diffuser (also carbon), Formula One window tint, smoked taillights and side mirror lights, a gloss black roof, a flat-black Mercedes front emblem and blacked-out badges.
The overall combination of these subtle body mods make for a stylish but subtle announcement that this E55 has a set of brass ones. According to Alpert's mother: "It looks like Darth Vader's car!"
Aside from the body mods, the Mercedes is treated to a list of lighting upgrades such as the Apex Cone 9006 HID kit. As a result, the driver can actually see all the way to Tijuana from Chula Vista when driving down the Interstate 5 at night. This is important so Alpert can be sure to exit the highway before arriving in the most corrupt city in the world, where the possibility of his getting into the same situation as the guy with the spinners increases ten-fold.