The complete buyer’s guide to the BMW Z1 (1986-1991), including specifications, common problems, and model history…
The BMW Z1 wasn’t actually going to be produced when it was first displayed to the public. Since the V8 engined 507, the company had largely shied away from two-seat roadsters – a stunning commercial failure for BMW.
Although the Z1 was a huge success, images of the two-seater Z1 were leaked to the press. However, if BMW had followed its original plan, the roadster wouldn’t have made it past the planning stage. Its unique appearance and clever doors are due to the fact that it was only acting as a development mule for E36 3-Series new Z-axle.
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The concept received such great reviews that it was obvious there was a market for it. BMW launched a limited edition Z1 in 1987. BMWs are known for being quirky and characterful, but the Z1 is both.
This two-seater is a little odd looking, but you will instantly notice that its designers had a lot of fun building it. That joy translated beautifully to the driving experience. The Z1 is just as fun to drive as its older siblings.
Many of the mechanicals were also borrowed from the E30, but a totally bespoke chassis and body shell made the Z1 more expensive than a basic Porsche 911.
The Z1’s price dropped over the years, making them today as affordable as ever. There were 8000 Z1s produced. Many of these Z1s are still in use today. All Z1s were left-hand driven, so you can choose cars from Europe if that’s what you want. Official UK cars come with a speedometer in MPH and a fuel gauge, but not in liters.
Which BMW Z1 should you buy?
It’s not surprising that the Z1 saw very few changes over the years due to its short production run. As you can see in this section, the model history. There are many Z1s on the market, so there isn’t much to choose from.
BMW cars are mechanically identical. The only differences in exterior and interior colors will be made. Top Red is the most popular color. Black and green are close behind. Fun Yellow is rare. Metallic blues and metallic purples are also sought-after. Depending on the exterior paint color, interior trim can be either cream or gray.
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The original 16-inch alloy wheels are unique to the Z1. The original, three-spoke steering wheels are also very hard to replace.
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Original accessories and parts can be very rare and expensive to replace. You should make sure that you have the original mats and the space-saver wheel and cover. It is rare to find a car with an original radio upgrade. If you want to restore your car to its original specs, it might be difficult to find a replacement for the Z1 audio system that was fitted to early cars.
Every Z1 was shipped out in left-hand drive, but a few cars were converted in the UK to right-hand drive. Griffin Motorsport and Birds were responsible for the conversion, which was quite costly. Some cars also received larger BMW engines.
Although there are several versions available from the likes of Alpina or AC Schnitzer, these are very rare and hard to find. The hardtop is a German company called Weismann. It is a highly sought-after option. The hardtop is very rare and expensive, with only 500 made.
BMW Z1 specs and performanceBMW Z1 common issues
* Rust: due to the galvanized chassis and plastic panels, there should be no signs of rust. If you see signs of corrosion in the chassis, it is usually a sign that you have been neglecting or mistreated your vehicle.
* Chassis The panels are generally hard-wearing but cracks can form where they bolt onto the chassis. For added bracing, these cracks can be repaired with metal strips. They also warp and get scratched from passengers entering and leaving. It is very easy to take out most of the exterior panels. The trickiest part is getting everything aligned correctly after you put it back together.
* Electronic sliding doors: Take a look at these futuristic electronic sliding doors. The toothed belt drives them, and has been known to fail. They are easy to replace and relatively inexpensive. However, it is not recommended that you drive the car with the doors down.
* Maintenance. is based on E30325i running gear. However, Z1 maintenance is simple. Make sure the engine runs smoothly as this M20 straight-six was borrowed from the rarer 325ix. It is possible that an engine has been swapped out at one point. If valued appropriately, this should not be a problem. It is possible to sell a car like this in the future, but it might not be as easy.
* The gearbox differs from the E30 counterpart due to the use of a torque tube to drive the rear axle. The standard E30 325i and M3 limited slip differentials were not available, but they are a popular upgrade.
* Exhaust – Although it may seem obvious, the condition of the rear silencer is critical as they can rust easily. A custom-made stainless system, which is less expensive than genuine replacements, is an attractive option.
* Interior: leather interiors can wear out very quickly, with sagging seats quite common. A car with original trim in good condition is worth more, but a car with suede trim looks better. Interiors that have been retrimmed don’t usually increase a car’s value.