Turning heads within the show car scene can be a daunting task, especially among the tuner elite who attend high-profile shows with vehicles ready for their close-ups. These enthusiasts aim to stand out in a way that makes their vehicular statement known and respected among their peers. One of the ultimate destinations for any project vehicle owner is the mighty SEMA Show held in Las Vegas each fall. SEMA is a veritable who’s-who of aftermarket companies within the specialty automotive industry, where companies meet to showcase their wares and see the latest and greatest within the automotive spectrum.
This year the AMSOIL booth will feature Team Hybrid member Jay Borbajo’s BMW 135i in our vehicle line-up. We caught up with Jay to get a little background on his build and how he molded his car to the vision it is today.
Tell us about the car and what makes it so unique.
The 135i is the underdog of tuner cars. Not a lot of people really know about them or know their potential (specifically the 2008 – 2010 versions). The ‘08 – ‘10 model shares the same N54 motor as the 335i (same year range) in a lighter package. It boasts an Inline 6 engine that is twin turbocharged from the factory. It is also the first engine platform which you can flash tune the ECU using your cellphone with an android app called MHD, and the OEM internals have been known to hold up to 800hp reliably.
How has it changed from start to finish since becoming yours?
I bought this car a little over a year ago. It was a 2009 that was bone-stock and only had 600 miles on the odometer. The car has drastically changed since then through the help of various companies that have supported us.
The main thing I usually start with on a car is the exterior. As much as I love the look of carbon fiber, I felt that carbon accents here and there would look cleaner. [R]ather than having a full carbon hood and trunk, I opted to paint a lot of the carbon on these two parts, only exposing small sections. The next step was finding suspension that would be suitable for lowering the car, but also have the flexibility of overcoming the obstacles faced with daily driving, which is why we decided on Airlift’s air suspension. Once the suspension was dialed in, the next thing we wanted to tackle was finding a suitable wide-body kit. At the time, there really weren’t any options for this, so we had to custom-make one. We wanted to keep the clean lines of the car so we did a 1M OEM front-end conversion with a molded rear fender flare kit, which we produce under the company name N5tuner.
The paint theme is incredible and really turns heads. Tell us about it.
The toughest decision by far I had to make was the color of the paint. I wanted a color that didn’t attract too much attention from far away, but up close would make you do a double take. I was really undecided between green, blue and purple. I must have sent my body shop several color codes in all sorts of different shades of greens and blues until we came up with a custom color we call “Midnight Bermuda Teal.”
Is your vision complete? If not, what are your future plans for modifications?
My vision for the car is pretty close to where I want it to be, although I honestly don’t think a project car can ever be completed. Even though the car is a little older, there are still new companies popping up making newer and better products that can make your original vision evolve over time. I do hope to stay true to the original vision of having a street car that is clean, simple and, most importantly, tastefully done.
Any awards or memorable show experiences?
Although I have won a few trophies for this build at various major shows, I want to say the most memorable award I have ever received was a win at Spocom for “Best KDM” with a Genesis Coupe. I got to take home one of those crazy-looking trophies for the first time. I had been working on the Genesis coupe for over four years before getting one of those trophies, and I’ve only put in one year of work with the BMW, so I’m hoping to achieve that goal eventually.
Tell us what it’s like to land a spot featured in the AMSOIL ad in DUB Magazine’s SEMA issue. That’s pretty huge.
My personal goal for the car is to be featured in a magazine. It didn’t matter to me if it was a European or Japanese publication, just as long as it’s printed. Printed material is nostalgic for me and brings me back to the time as a high school kid flipping through magazines and day dreaming. When I heard AMSOIL was going to use the car for one of their ads in a huge publication like DUB Magazine I was beyond ecstatic! It literally fulfilled one of my long-time dreams and goals.
Favorite quote or motto that describes you?
“Some people dream of perfection…others achieve it”
Huge thank you to AMSOIL for the amazing opportunities they have given me and for believing in the project. I could not have built the car to where it is without their support. I also want to say thank you to the following companies as well for their support this SEMA: Dinan, Toyo Tires, Vossen Wheels, Milltek, Wavetrac, Redline Goods, Whiteline, N5tuner, PPG, Viair and Revozsport. Lastly, to the various shops that have poured out their blood, sweat and tears into this project: Ak Airbrushing and Autobody Khartunerz Carbyne Motorsports Rides By Jon VDI Motorsports
Stay tuned for more news & updates about what AMSOIL has in store for SEMA. We’ve got some exciting things in the works and we can’t wait to share them with the masses.