One thing my experience with cars has forever imprinted in me is the necessity of embodiment. I can’t fully “own” a car without giving it a personal touch. The motivating idea behind this BMW is to finally own a car that I don’t HAVE to touch, to drive it as is. Unfortunately, my wicked ways must have their resolve.
Fear not, I am thoroughly cognizant of how overly-modded the Miata was… doing that much work is unnecessary and hellish. Which is why I’ve limited my modifications with this car primarily to 2 key components: Wheels & Exhaust. Wheels because they are single-handledly the most authoritative change you can do to a car’s aesthetics. Exhaust because I like my cars to be louder than stock, but not obnoxious. Plus, the 135i is so quiet inside that it feels like I’m driving a Maglev. Too awkward, gotta hear the engine.
Suspension definitely would have been on the short list, but fortunately, the previous owner already installed H&R Coilovers and Swaybars :-)
Once the deal with the car was (mostly) finalized, I pulled the trigger on on a set of 18″ OZ Ultraleggeras in Black. I bought them from Tirerack and a set of BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW 2 in 235/40/18 all-around. No more Rotas and no more “hellaflush” fitment and no more slamming for me… I’ve graduated into the league of function over form. Going off my Tire Fitment guide, I’d say these wheels are at a B stretch.
Interestingly enough, I chose to run a square set-up even though the car comes stock staggered and with 245 rears. 1series have a tendency to understeer stock, and running the same size tires all around will help balance it out. I’m sacrificing 10mm in width for the rears but am gaining 20mm in the fronts over stock. I chose the Ultraleggera’s primarily because of their low weight, with each wheel tipping the scales at around 18.4lbs. Compare this to the stockers, which are in the neighborhood of 25lbs…
Mounted with tires, each wheel weighs 44lbs:
After owning the car for a mere one day, I enlisted the help of a buddy to roll the rear fenders. The lips on the front fenders are like a “V”, but the rears are more of an “L”. We attempted to roll the rears, but ultimately pulled the plug on that idea. The lips are too thick, and I didn’t want to jeopardize the body at all. There was too much risk of the fender pulling out if a full roll was attempted. So instead, we set about removing the 10mm H&R spacers the car came with. The spacers were fused to the rear hubs due to rust… heatgun + a lot of hammering with a screwdriver did the trick.
Today, my agenda was to grind out and dial the car’s ride height with the new wheels. I’m not a big fan of playing with coilovers in this respect, because it’s rather tedious work.
Eventually I was able to sit the car at a satisfactory height: 1 finger gap. I originally had the fronts set at half a finger gap, but decided it was too low /oldman.
A picture of a coilover:
Check out the SIZE of the stock front caliper!
I also attacked the rust which made removing the spacer so problematic. Here’s a rear hub before:
And after a few minutes with a wirewheel:
Before mounting the wheels, I gave all the hubs a light coating of anti-seize grease.