Nightlight | 1 Step Higher

October 4, 2011

Night-Import: Photography and Words by William Lee

John Zhang's 1 series feature cover
There are many misconceptions in the automotive scene and one that I come across pretty often is how a group of enthusiasts think automotive photographers don't drive nice cars. We probably see these professionals driving their Vans or SUVs to accommodate the load of camera equipment's they have, but there are a few who take a step higher. I'm talking about photographers who manage two expensive hobbies; photography and cars. I don't consider myself yet as a photographer, but I'm one of those guys who love taking photos and to modify my car, which is actually intractable because both require a lot of money and dedication, but today, I want to introduce someone who's beyond the level of many photographers, owning a ride that many of you guys might have not seen, but know him for his photography. As much as his photos are highly respected around the world, his car doesn't fall behind. A freelance professional photographer and also a contributing photographer for the well-known automotive site Canibeat, here is John Zhang's, aka 1013MM, 135i BMW.

John Zhang's 135i-1
I remember browsing through John's photos before I even met him in person. His work was more than just amazing and almost everyone in the automotive scene knew about John's work because of various blogs and sites posting his photos. If I remember correctly, I first met John at LTBMW's Grand Opening last year and that's when I actually saw John's car in person thoroughly. It's not rare, but a modified 1 series is not too common to see in the BMW scene, which is why John's car was a favorite amongst many.

John Zhang's 135i-5
It wasn't too long ago since John was rolling on aggressive sized CCWs. The 1 series don't have enough space like Zs and Gs to run on wide widths wheels, but with proper offset, it can look as good as any fitted car out there today.

John Zhang's 135i-18

John Zhang's 135i-15
There are a few things John focused on, such as the fine details a BMW can portray wherever it goes, but most importantly, it was the choice of wheels and fitment. The proper drop on ST coilovers made it possible to have the correct stance on wheels you've probably never heard of or seen before.

John Zhang's 135i-11

John Zhang's 135i-12
What you see is not your ordinary BBS wheels on any car. Only a handful of people in the United States have these rare set, known as BBS Impul. This particular set John owns was a masterpiece created by both Japan and Germany, having both the LM and RS style. Keeping the clear-coated wheels was something John didn't want to have, so with the help of FLOSS aka HASBACK James, the faces were painted to White , lips were fully polished, BBS bolts were Gold dipped to match BMW Performance's Gold Brake Kit showing between the meshes, and authentic BBS valve stem caps along with BBS decals.

- Falken 452 - 215/40/18 & 245/35/18
- BBS Impul (custom refinish by FLOSS)
- H&R 5MM spacers up front
- ST Coilovers

John Zhang's 135i-20
Fitment was only one part, but the fine details of a BMW was not ignored. The stock headlights were modded with BavX LS1 headlights and to add an aggressive look, a 3d Design Front Lip was added.

John Zhang's 135i-22
An iCarbon Fiber Rear Diffuser was replaced from stock along with the addition of an AutoTechnik spoiler.

- iCarbon carbon fiber rear diffuser
- AutoTechnik custom painted carbon fiber performance spoiler replica
- 3d Design Front Lip
- BavX LS1 headlights with silver corner option
- BMW Performance side skirts
- BMW OEM LCI tail light conversion
- BMW OEM 1M side mirrors

John Zhang's 135i-6 e
Simplicity at its best!

Engine/Drivetrain Modifications
- BMW Performance brake kit + front and rear rotors
- RPI Air Scoops custom painted
- Vishnu Procede
- BMW Performance exhaust

John Zhang's 135i-26
The interior was not modded heavily, but kept the stock look by replacing stock seats to Sports and steering wheel to a custom M3 wheel.

- Sports seats
- Custom M3 steering wheel

John Zhang's 135i-23

John Zhang's 135i-27
Of course, John has to rep himself and those he support; 1013mm and Canibeat

-1013MM (adds 5hp)

John Zhang's 135i-19 e.

John Zhang's 135i-8
I was pretty nervous to shoot in front of John, but I had a good time talking with him like always and shooting his car. Thanks again to John for his continuous support and participating with the Nightlight feature shoot.


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