- Post is under moderationMild-mannered 120d transformed into #V8-powered 1M Monster.
SMASHING! Body shock!
What started out life as a humble #BMW-120d is now unrecognisable following its transformation into an awesome V8-powered 1M, finished in Java green and with an M DCT gearbox. From mild-mannered 120d to hulking V8-powered 1M, this 1 Series has undergone an incredible transformation and the results are astonishingly spectacular. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
Subtle is fine. Subtle works when you just want to get on with stuff discreetly, blending into the background and going unnoticed and unbothered. But sometimes, you need to be unsubtle. Sometimes you need something to wake you up from the dull, grey drudgery of life. Sometimes you need a Java green V8-powered smack in the mouth. That time is now.
One might argue that Nina Barber’s 1M is subtle; there is, for example, no wild wing, no outrageous wheels, no vents or bulges beyond those which the 1M was created with, and even the exhaust is surprisingly civil. But a 1M finished in shocking green, and it really is very green, with a V8 numberplate is car that wears its heart on its sleeve. And we’re all for that.
Nina is a woman who grew up in an environment filled with people passionate about cars, so it’s easy to how she’s ended up here, talking to us about her V8 1M. “I started to become passionate about cars in my early 20s,” she says. “My uncle races Porsches, my dad has always been into Lamborghinis and American muscle cars, and my mum has always had BMWs – which is what got me into the marque. She had an E30 when I was born followed by some M models. I remember the first time I drove a BMW, her BMW, I felt at home and knew that’s where I belonged. My first BMW was a 130i, which replaced an MX-5. That was a lot of fun to drive but I wanted more power and speed and after driving my mum’s 130i I knew I had to have one. After the 130i I bought a Z4 M, a car I’d always wanted as whilst I was growing up my mum owned a Roadster. It was very nice but compromised. So I started thinking about what to get next?
An S54 Z3 M or E46 M3 CSL? Maybe, but prices were so high and you can’t put miles on those cars without harming their value, and while I’ve always loved the E92 M3 I prefer smaller cars…” We think you can see where this is going.
“I followed Sebastian online. He owned the blue V8 1M that Ashley at Quarry Motors had built and originally owned, and I realised that was the car I wanted. I approached him about buying it and it turned out he was emigrating so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to try and arrange a sale and it fell through but a friend of mine knew the guys at Quarry so approached them on my behalf to see if they’d be willing to build another V8 1M. I travelled up to Sheffield, met Ashley, had a chat and decided on the spot to go ahead with the project.” For this build, Nina was very specific about what she wanted, a fullyloaded car with DCT. The following day, the perfect M3 donor car showed up on Quarry’s doorstep. The planets had aligned…
The car you see before you started out life as a 120d; the original Quarry car was built from a written-off 118d, but Nina wanted hers to be built from a straight car and it was actually sourcing the right 1 Series to build on that took some time. The entire project was handled by Ashley at Quarry from start to finish, leaving Nina to concentrate on working out the particulars.
The most stressful part of the whole build was trying to decide on a colour. “I’ve never been so indecisive about anything in my life!” she exclaims. “I must have changed my mind about 20 times. Initially I considered a Lamborghini colour, then a Porsche colour, but then I decided I wanted a BMW colour. For ages I was set on Taiga green but after seeing James’ Java green M4 at a show I instantly knew that was the colour I wanted.
Taiga is nice but it’s paler and is better suited to a boxy classic car. Java is perfect for a modern shape like the 1 Series and really suits the car.” She’s not wrong, as that intense Java is a full-on smack in the mouth, an eye-widening shot of sheer colour. And in the sunlight it’s even more fantastic, the colour drenching the bodywork and accentuating all of the curves. And there are a lot of those to accentuate on a 1M.
The colour was the inspiration behind the car’s name, by which it is best known on social media. “I wanted to name it and was talking to Ashley about it when he suggested Bruce, as in Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego. I love this concept, the dichotomy of character, and it ties in with the green colour, so it was perfect.”
While Bruce was being constructed, it also gave Nina the opportunity to finalise her pans for the interior: “I had considered different colours like red and tan, but then I wouldn’t have been able to do the green accent stitching that I’ve got now. It really lifts the interior, as without it I was worried it would all be too dark.” B-Trim in north London handled all the interior work and the end result is fantastic, the black being the perfect partner for that vibrant green, both inside and out, and the colour-coded detailing is the perfect finishing touch. The door panels, instrument binnacle, which houses the E9x M3 dials, and steering wheel have all been wrapped in Alcantara and both the heated front seats, plucked straight from the M3, and rear seats have Alcantara accent strips. The gear selector and start button surrounds have been finished in Java green and so too have the extended aluminium gearshift paddles on the steering wheel and even the seatbelts are green, while the carbon trim echoes the carbon elements on the exterior. “I didn’t want a half-done interior,” says Nina. “I decided to go all-out and do it right first time. It was the same with the whole car. It had to be complete out-of-the-box. I didn’t want people to see a half-finished car so I made sure everything was done in one go.”
Of course it’s the 1M body conversion that really takes centre stage here and you have to appreciate just how much work has gone in to transforming this car from humble 120d to fully-fledged performance monster. “My criteria for the build was that the car had to be executed as if BMW had built it,” Nina explains. “I can’t stand it when people do things by halves. For me it has to be done properly. The rear arches, for example, aren’t welded on; they’re complete new rear quarter sections, which is exactly the way BMW would have built the car and exactly how I wanted it to be built.” Indeed, the quality of Quarry’s work really is exceptional. There is absolutely no way that you’d be able to tell that this car had ever been anything other than a 1M. It really is perfect. The muscular styling is further enhanced by the addition of a BMW M Performance carbon bootlip spoiler and that unmistakable M3 power bulge bonnet. “I knew I had to have the power bulge bonnet,” says Nina. “It changes the whole look of the car for me, so I went for a Seibon carbon one designed specifically for the 1M. It’s fully functional, just like the M3 bonnet would be, so the offside vent is blocked off while the nearside vent connects up to the air box as a secondary cold air feed. The bonnet latches down like the standard one, but the problem is that the carbon is so much more flexible than the steel bonnet. The first time I drove it the bonnet was flexing so much at motorway speeds that I knew immediately I had to add some AeroCatches. Fitting them was tricky as the bonnet is curved and you want them to sit flush rather than sticking up, but they look perfect and really keep the bonnet down. The fitment of the carbon bonnet isn’t perfect, though, and I would love to have a metal one made but it would have to be aluminium. The standard M3 bonnet is steel and I really don’t know why BMW didn’t use a lightweight bonnet; I’ve saved quite bit of weight with the carbon bonnet so I wouldn’t want to go for a steel one, especially as the S65 V8 is just 7kg heavier than the N54 but actually sits lower down and further back in the chassis giving the car better weight distribution.
“When it came to the wheels I did consider a few different designs but the Style 359 is my favourite BMW wheel, so that’s what I went with. I think this style of wheel looks fantastic on a modern car and really finishes it off, so the wheels are definitely staying for now,” she says. “I might change the colour as I’m not sure about the black but it does look good against the green and ties in nicely with the black accents on the body. I’ve currently got the standard size tyres, 245/35 and 265/35 Toyo R888s, but I’d like to go to a 265/295 front/rear setup as they’ll really fill the arches out and I don’t want to use spacers to achieve that.”
If you own a V8 it’s pretty much the law that you have to fit a performance exhaust because it’s an engine that never sounds anything less than fantastic. And Nina’s 1M definitely doesn’t disappoint on the aural stimulation front. “I didn’t want to go all-out with an off-the-shelf exhaust as I’d like a custom system at some point, but I still wanted something that sounded good,” says Nina. “At the moment it’s running a Milltek 1M rear silencer, which has been designed for a turbocharged engine rather than a naturally aspirated V8, along with some M3 sections and a bit of custom pipework to connect it all together. I did have it fully de-catted at one point and I loved how obnoxiously loud it was, but it absolutely stank of fuel and after every drive the exhaust tips were black. I got fed up with it and had the cats put back in; while it’s definitely quieter the tone is nicer now and I prefer the way it sounds. I would still like a full system at some point but I’m content for the time being.” It does sound absolutely fantastic, with a boisterous cold idle that is guaranteed to slap a grin on your face, but delivers a surprisingly civilised soundtrack once it’s warmed-up. Of course, at full chat it delivers exactly the sort of spine-tingling, high-revving V8 howl that you want, overlaid with numerous pops and crackles. It’s Mozart for the motorhead.
Even now, nine years on since its debut in the E9x M3, the S65 V8 is still an absolute masterpiece of an engine. “I love the power delivery,” grins Nina as we indulge in a long chat about V8s. “It really does pull like a train. I love the way the power delivery is so linear and the way the power just keeps on coming once you’re at the top end of the rev range. Mine is very healthy. I’ve heard that a lot of M3s don’t even make 400hp on the dyno but mine made 426hp without the cats, so it’s probably around the 420 mark now.
As far as the gearbox is concerned, I’ve always been a manual enthusiast but I decided to drive both a manual and DCT M3 to see what the engine and gearbox combination felt like and I have to say that the manual car did nothing for me. The way the engine delivers its power means that the DCT ’box just feels so much better suited to it. I’m so glad I went for the DCT, I absolutely love the gearbox and the combination with the S65 is just perfect.”
To you or us the car might look as complete as can be but for Nina this is only the beginning of her 1M adventure. “It was a year long journey to get to the car built,” she says, “and I finished in January of this year.
However, for the last six months I’ve been refining and tweaking it and there’s still lots more I want to do. I’m planning to add a carbon race diffuser and front lip as well as a carbon roof, which I feel the factory 1M should have come with, like the M3. The suspension isn’t finished at the moment; it’s currently on M3 EDC shocks with Eibach springs. I like how it sits but I would like coilovers at some stage. I’m not sure what to go for, though, and I don’t want to just buy something that might not be right for it. I’m going to spend the coming months, the whole year even, learning the car, educating myself on what it wants before buying anything so I know I’ll be fitting the right parts when the time comes. I also love motorsport and while the car has started its journey like this it will evolve as time goes on, so I might well strip it and put a cage in it at some point. I’ll probably add a wing then as well. I would also really like to supercharge it at some point but at the same time I want to refine it first, make it the best it can be in its current form before I start doing any power upgrades. I do love the fact that the car will continue to evolve. That keeps me enthusiastic about it and ensures it doesn’t get stale.”
Which brings us neatly to the question of how long Nina thinks this relationship will last, though we feel bad asking the question seeing as the car’s such a recent build. “At the moment it really does feel like it’s a forever car,” she says. “I have so much time, effort, and emotion invested in it that I can’t ever imagine selling it. I don’t even want to think about that. From the moment the car was finished people started getting in touch asking if I would sell it. I’ve had so many people asking me about buying it that I’ve lost count. Initially I was a bit offended; I couldn’t believe that people would think I’d want to sell a car I’d just finished.”
While there might be lots more to come, there’s plenty to enjoy right now and that’s exactly what this car was built for. “This car was all about doing something purely for my own enjoyment. I didn’t want to worry about mileage, money or depreciation, I just wanted to build a car that I could go and enjoy driving. And that’s exactly what I’ve got. I do drive it based on the weather as I don’t want to take it out in the rain. So it’s a fair weather weekend toy for me and as it’s just been finished I am precious over it. I hate getting stone chips on it, though the whole front end has been covered in Suntek paint protection film so it’s not too bad. I guess it’s just inevitable. I have lots of plans, too. I want to take it to Europe. I’m currently looking for places to go and enjoy driving it,” grins Nina. That’s really what it’s all about. You don’t build a car like this to only hide it away or simply park it up at shows for other people to enjoy. You build it to enjoy driving it and there are few machines out there capable of delivering greater driving pleasure than a V8 1M.
DATA FILE #V8 #BMW-1M / #BMW / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW-E82-S65B40 / #BMW-1M-S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW-E82-V8 / #BMW-Style-359-Competition / #BMW-1M-M-DCT / #BMW-120d-E82 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 from E92 M3, 1M #Milltek back box, part custom and part OEM M3 exhaust system, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox from E92 M3
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BMW-Style-359 Competition alloys with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, E92 M3 brakes with Java green calipers (front and rear), E92 M3 EDC with #Eibach springs
EXTERIOR Full OEM 1M conversion, full bare shell respray in Individual Java green metallic, gloss black trim, Seibon carbon fibre bonnet with AeroCatches, BMW M Performance carbon fibre bootlip spoiler, Blackline rear lights, Suntek paint protection film
INTERIOR Full retrim consisting of extended black Nappa leather with green stitching and Alcantara accents, Alcantara gear selector, handbrake gaiters and door cards, steering wheel retrimmed in Alcantara with Motorsport stiching and green 12 o’clock centre stripe, extended aluminium paddles in Java green metallic with illuminated plus and minus signs, Java green start button bezel, #Java-green #DCT gear selector surround, heated E92 M3 front seats, BMW Performance carbon fibre trim, #BMW-Individual audio with #Harman-Kardon speakers
THANKS A massive thank you to Quarry Motors, especially Ashley and Lee for agreeing to take on this project with me. Ashley is responsible for building me a spectacular, unique car that has been executed as if #BMW itself built it. Sam for initially sowing the seed and getting the ball rolling. To my biggest support, I must extend huge gratitude to Nick who has been my anchor throughout this journey. My mum who gracefully endured my countless indecisions. To all my great friends who have offered their support and advice, I thank you; Silas ‘Mr B’, Vaughan the Prawn, Richard and Sebastian with Bruce’s twin ‘the blue car’, Steven ‘Horney’, Paul ‘Mumbers’, Kos, Mason, Marsel and the rest of my big BMW family. B-Trim, Elite Car Care, Evolve Automotive, Mox3d, Mumbray Motorsport, Munich Evolution, Munich Legends, Olgun Kordal – The Car Photographer, Pukar Designs, Royal Steering Wheels, Secure My Car and SMV Repairs, Taylor Made Decals
Java green is stunning and really suits the perfectlyexecuted 1M conversion, while the glorious #S65-V8 is the icing on the cake.
“I love the power delivery. It really does pull like a train. I love the way it is so linear and the power just keeps on coming”
“My criteria for the build was that the car had to be executed as if BMW had built it”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.