JDM Style

Taking inspiration from the high-performance cars of the Japanese domestic market, John Zhang turned his 135i into a nonpareil style statement.

January 9, 2014
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Most BMW fanatics whose cars are seen in these pages are performance freaks: people who go for breathtaking power delivery, extreme aerodynamics and race-car handling.

“I’m almost the exact opposite of that,” says John Zhang. “I am much more into the aesthetics of a car than its performance.”

Indeed he is. Not only did he equip his Monaco Blue metallic 135i with titanium Project Kics Neo Chrono extended wheel nuts (“The bolts are titanium, as well!”), he burned them in his backyard to get the juuust right bluish hue that would accent the car’s Titan Silver SSR wheels.

The 26-year-old photographer from Pasadena, California—he’s shot for Bimmer, by the way, and you can see his photos of Long Tran’s E36 track car in issue #109—is himself a rather cool cat, someone who likes things that are a bit extraordinary.

Hey, just look at his car.

The changes to Zhang’s 2009 135i Coupe don’t jump out at first glance. A certain difference is noticeable, sure, but it’s subtle, a seductive smile rather than a forward approach. It takes a second look to see that special mirror, the impeccably designed trunk lid, that oh-so-perfect stance. The car sits not too low but just right, and it eschews the bulging fenders, ostentatious aero bits and gigantic exhaust pipes that too many cars seem to acquire in the customization process. This one, on the other hand, is all about Zhang’s very good taste.

A preference for the extraordinary

Also from Issue 121

  • 2013 F13 640d Gran Coupe road test
  • 2014 i3 first drive
  • BMW's sustainability paradigm
  • IND's CSL-inspired F10 M5
  • Interview: Ludwig Willisch
  • Buyer's Guide: Big HP on the cheap
  • Chris London's Euro 635 CSi
  • Friedbert Wall's 1974 2002 tii
  • Jim Van Lenten's Fun Yellow 1989 Z1
  • BMWs at Leadfoot Festival, NZ
  • Andy Priaulx interview
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