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    BOLD BMW-123d Slammed and styled Austin yellow stunner

    SHOW GIRL Styled and slammed 123d

    With stunning Austin yellow bodywork and a whole host of dazzling mods, this 123d is a serious show stopper. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods. / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 /

    We’re calling it: 2016 is the year of the 1 Series. Okay, the 3 Series remains our most prolific feature car, as it always has done, but this year we’ve seen amazing 1 Series after amazing 1 Series, almost one an issue and there’s no sign of this influx of perfectly modified baby BMs letting up anytime soon. As far as we’re concerned, that’s a very good thing, as this gorgeous 123d Coupé perfectly illustrates.

    Regular show-goers will know this car very well as it can usually be spotted at most events throughout the year and often leaving with some kind of silverware, though owner Dee Barwick deserves at least some of the credit, she did build it after all. It is the latest in a long line of cars that she’s owned, which includes a Sharpie’d MX-5 (more of that sort of thing later…), a classic Mini, a Mk3 Golf GTi (the latter of which was replaced by her first BMW for reasons of child-based practicality) and an E46 320i. Dee bought the car completely standard but, after tinting the windows to keep her kids cool, her partner James, owner of the equally well-known E46 that we featured back in our November ’15 issue, suggested modifying the E46. So she did. The unsuspecting saloon ended up being wrapped in cream, with an M3 front bumper and a set of cross-spokes, and it looked good. Dee was happy, or at least until she saw a 1 Series Coupé at the Santa Pod show and decided that she needed one of those in her life. As luck would have it, James worked at MStyle at the time and regular customer, Jas Bassan, came in one day talking about selling his 123d and that’s what he did, to Dee.

    Judging by how the car looks now, having started off silver and pretty ordinarylooking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Dee had gone into the 1 Series ownership experience with big plans. However the car was intended for daily duties, with James’ M3 serving as the toy but things clearly didn’t work out that way: “Within two days it had been dropped,” she laughs, “and then we fitted the carbon rear diffuser and carbon mirror caps.” And so it began. As with many projects it was necessity caused by problems that let to modifications instead of repairs; for example, soon after its purchase a puncture appeared which James said he would sort out at work: “The car came home on coilovers, with spacers and stretched tyres,” Dee says, laughing. “After two weeks James drove it into the back of a van,” cue more laughter from everyone except James at this point, “which was a good excuse for an M Performance front bumper,” and we’d be inclined to agree. The M Performance bumper is a great choice, blending perfectly with the rest of the car’s styling but its clean, aggressive design is very distinctive and it really makes the car look a lot wider and more purposeful. This was accompanied by a pair of very smart-looking Depo headlights, complete with angel eyes and dipped beam projector lenses, which really help to clean up the front end.

    While a colour change is something that many of us think about, it’s usually something that happens in the latter stages of ownership, once you’ve put in the work to get your car looking just right. Especially if you car’s already a decent colour, like the silver this 123d was to begin with. But while Dee may not have had much in the way of modifying plans when she bought her 1 Series, changing the colour was always on the cards. “The moment I bought it I knew I was going to be changing the colour,” she says and there followed a long period of indecision, with James Photoshopping the two front runners on to the car to help a decision to be reached.

    “It was either going to be Yas Marina blue or Austin yellow,” Dee explains. Both are striking choices and brand-new to the BMW colour palette having been launched on the M3 and M4. “I was struggling to decide between them so I went to see a couple of M4s in both colours and in the end it had to be Austin yellow.” We’re going to say good choice because while Yas Marina is very nice and distinctive, Austin has that wow factor. Its rich yellow blending into gold really makes it stand out and it looks glorious whatever the weather, whatever the light. It’s exactly the sort of colour you want for a show car and one that’s guaranteed to get you noticed.

    While the colour change is a big deal, Dee didn’t rest on her laurels and put in the effort with the additional supporting touches and that’s what really makes the difference here. Black and gold is a classic combo, so that the car’s been fitted with black grilles is a given. The mirrors and roof have also been sprayed black, but it’s not just any black. This is Subaru Java black pearl and what’s special about this colour is that it’s black with a yellow flake; it’s very subtle, you’d barely even notice it if you didn’t know, especially on a dull day but, when the light hits it, all those yellow flakes glow, and the end result is not only a little bit magical, but it’s a brilliant way of seamlessly tying those prominent black elements in with that blindingly bold bodywork.

    Additional exterior tweaks include smoothed boot and bonnet roundels, a Rhinolip front splitter, BMW M Performance rear spoiler and dark smoke window tints. Even the engine bay has been given the black and yellow treatment but it’s the interior where things get really special. The first step was getting rid of the textured M Sport interior trims and replacing them with a set of plain, smooth trims, ripe for modifying which, initially, involved wrapping them in a cityscape design. It looked cool and was definitely different, but once the car went Austin, it wasn’t right. That’s when Dee’s artistic streak kicked in and the legacy of the Sharpie’d MX-5 returned.

    The interior trims were removed, sprayed Austin yellow and then the Sharpies came out and, after going through countless pens and spending hours and hours on each piece, Dee had created a truly unique design for her trims. It looks absolutely fantastic, an incredibly intricate design that someone less talented would have inevitably ruined and someone less patient would have got bored with after five minutes, but Dee’s dedication definitely paid off and you’re not going to find anything like this in any other cars anytime soon.

    The attention to detail with the colour scheme continues in the boot where the warning triangle case, not something a lot of people are ever going to see, has been painted in Austin yellow and most of the capacious boot is taken up by a pair of JL subs mounted in a hefty enclosure. As far as wheels are concerned the 123d is on its third set now and arguably its best.

    “When I bought the car it was on Dare RSs,” says Dee, “so obviously they had to go. I started looking at 3SDMs and initially wanted the six-spoke 0.06s but they were everywhere and that’s when I decided to go for the 0.04s instead.”

    For those unfamiliar with these wheels they are concave directional multi-spokes, and they look good, really quite different to most things out there and they looked great on the 1 Series, finished in silver and running the large centre cap option. “I was really pleased with the wheels but then everyone started buying them,” laughs Dee, “so I decided to change them again. I saw these Ispiri CSR1Ds and liked them immediately. They reminded me of the Corvette sawblades that I had wanted for the car. I knew I was going to buy them, but I couldn’t decide whether to go for silver or gold…”

    As you can see, gold won and we reckon it was definitely the right decision. In fact, the colour match is so good with the Austin bodywork that it almost looks like a custom spray job on the wheels; even the outer edges of the lips are finished in gold from the factory. Dee also says that she reckons the dished design suits the look of the 1 Series better than the concave 3SDMs and we’re in agreement. The wheels sit on 12mm spacers to get the fitment just right.

    With a twin-turbo diesel mill under the bonnet that responds very well to tuning it’s no surprise that Dee has thrown some gofaster mods into the mix. The exhaust looks non-standard and sounds decidedly fruity, a result of the decidedly free-flowing custom system, which starts from the manifold and runs through a DPF and resonator. The latter, says Dee, will go, but the DPF will remain because it helps keep the 123d’s rear end relatively soot-free; important when your car’s such a bright colour and you’re a show regular. Under the bonnet sits a K&N panel filter for improved breathing while a Mosselman remap gives an impressive increase in performance, taking power up to 242hp along with 354lb ft of torque.

    A lot of work has gone into this 123d but, more than just that, there’s a lot of care, attention to detail and planning, none of the modifications you see before you have been added without some degree of prior planning. The end result is one of the most eye-catching Ones we’ve seen and this little BM gets a lot of love wherever it goes.

    Dee’s not done just yet, though, with immediate plans for getting the engine bay looking a bit more special and bigger, and long term plans that include a possible engine swap and seats and a cage once the kids are older and we don’t doubt that all of that will happen because this 1 Series isn’t going anywhere. It has to hang around anyway because, for now, the modifying has been put on hold as Dee and James are engaged and saving for their wedding, so congratulations are in order. As soon as that’s out of the way, though, the 123d will take centre stage in Dee’s life once more and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here…

    “The moment I bought it I knew I was going to be changing the colour”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-123d / #BMW-123d-E82 / #N47D20 / #N47 / #BMW-N47 / #Ispiri / #Mosselman /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo N47D20, #K&N panel filter, centre and rear box delete with twin tips, #Mosselman performance remap, #Sprint booster, six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Ispiri-CSR1D wheels in vintage gold with 12mm TPi spacers (front and rear) and 205/40 (front) and 225/35 (rear) Nankang NS20 tyres, fully polybushed, Supersport height and damping adjustable coilovers

    EXTERIOR Full respray in BMW Austin yellow with Subaru Java black roof and mirrors, BMW M Performance front bumper, Rhinolip front splitter, #Depo-V2 headlamps, yellow inner bulbs, BMW M Performance black kidney grilles, carbon fibre rear diffuser, #BMW-M-Performance carbon rear spoiler, smoothed bonnet roundel, smoothed boot roundel, dark smoke window tints

    INTERIOR ‘Sharpie art’ interior trims painted Austin yellow, twin JL Audio sub box and JL Audio amp

    THANKS James Barrett for finding me the car and Jas Bassan for letting her go, Mercury auto refinishing for the paintwork, Barrett Motorwerks for the wheels and mods, PBMW for this feature, but most off all James for the help, guidance and support!
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