The Z1 must be BMWs strangest car, and it’s not just the doors…the exhaust acts like a spoiler under the car, the Z-axle “centrally guided, spherical double-wishbone pattern” suspension was revolutionary, and it’s body is plastic. However, mechanically it’s easy to live with as it’s based upon the E30 325i coupe and its bullet proof M20 six-cylinder 2.5 litre engine.
The Z1 is a rare car; only 8,000 were made between March 1989 and June 1991 and there are about 50 on the road in the UK (most in a thriving group within the BMW Car Club). Nowadays it’s a cool, reliable classic that always turns heads, especially when driven with the doors down.
This particular Z1 is an early one. It was made on 31st May 1989 and was originally sold in Belgium where it had its pre-delivery inspection on 7th June 1989. Such was demand for zee crazy new BMW, it quickly made its way to the UK as a grey import and was registered here on 13th October and sold by First Front BMW in November 1989, probably for a price even higher than the eye-watering list price of £36,925 which was £15,000 more than the 325i saloon. Since then it’s had five owners and has covered 53,350 miles.
The interior is original; the suede on the seats is still ‘fluffy’ and the camouflage leather is in good condition with a slight bagginess they all have. The leather interior is scuff free, the carpets are in good condition as are the compartment doors behind the seats. An uber rare Blaupunkt New York SCD 08 CD player sits in the dash (although it is not wired up), this is period perfect for the Z1 as this state of the then art CD player was only made between 1988-1990. Silver and black chequered pattern coco mats come with the car, I had these custom made in the USA and shipped over here.
The hood was new in 2013, it was made by Trimmania.
The last service was 10th May 2016 at 51,951 miles (less than 1,500 miles ago), the MOT expires in November 2019. Engine is clean although not concours clean. It still retains the yellowish tinge of the coating BMW used back in the 1980s. Fluids are clean and up to marks. The engine is completely standard.
The paint is original although not perfect: it has stone chips on the large sills and nose as well as tiny scratches. There are a couple of cracks on the front wings but these have been reinforced following BMW Car Club advice using a kit from a German specialist. The car is priced accordingly.
A notable feature is the lack of indicators cut into the front wings. The Z1 was not designed to have a wing indicator although most UK cars have had them retrofitted for MoT reasons. Personally I much prefer them without a retrofitted side indicator.
The doors obviously function correctly and both door belts have been replaced in my ownership.
The car comes with an original, bespoke and very rare car cover which was an optional extra offered by BMW.
Much of the underside is hidden by aerodynamic shields which direct the airflow over the exhaust. The exhaust is the shape of an inverted wing so it acts as a spoiler. The exhaust on this car is from a batch manufactured for the BMW Car Club and is in good condition. There are no oil or coolant leaks.
The original and unique to the Z1 seven spoke wheels are on the car, they were recently refurbished and all are scuff free. They all wear Continental tyres on the rear and Pirellis at the front, all have good tread depth.
The car comes with extensive history file which is 2 ring binders large and contains extensive invoices for work going back years. The service book shows the pre-delivery inspection took place in Belgium on 7th June 1989 and the 2000km service (at 2777km) was done by First Front on 7th November 1989. There are a further 17 (19 in total) stamps in the service book. The rare Z1 Owners Manual comes with the car.
The car is reasonably famous as it’s appeared in the following places:
BMW Car magazine June 1995: feature car for a Z1 article including being the front cover car, a copy comes with the car.
Classic and Sports Car magazine September 2014: Z1 v Elise, MX-5, and Renault Spider. A copy comes with the car.
Wheeler Dealers Series 11, Episode 12: this car is the pristine Z1 used at the start of the episode where they restore the yellow/red Z1. It was filmed in June 2014. A copy of the episode comes with the car and you can find the episode by searching on Google.
It has had five owners.
The car was registered in the UK in October 1989 and the 1st owner was R Loalen who bought the car from First Front in November 1989 (the 2000 km service was done by First Front on 7th Nov 1989) and sold it in January 1991.
2nd owner was D Risden who bought the car from Loalen in January 1991. Under his ownership the speedo was changed from kilometres to miles at 5201km in Sept 1991 by First Front. He kept a detailed fuel used log and service record which comes with the car. He sold the car in May 1994 when the new speedo was showing 6,266 miles.
3rd owner unknown.
4th owner bought the car from Munich Legends in May 1997 at 17,000 miles and kept it for 16 years.
5th owner is me and I bought the car in July 2013 at 49,000 miles.
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