Welcome back to Week in Review, where we recap the last few weeks of vehicles we have featured:
All posts tagged 1991
For some time, BMW has dared to look ahead towards the future; in the 1970s, BMW brought turbocharging to small sedans and even the idea of an efficient supercar. In the 1980s, BMW introduced the world to an entire range of sporting products with its M division – a blueprint which certainly all German, if not most manufacturers in general, follow today. More recently, BMW has pioneered “efficient dynamics” and brought the first realistic super-performance, ultra efficient car to the market with the i8. But in the 1990s, it was a different sort of revolution. BMW looked towards new technology in both electronic systems, manufacturing, car design and construction with its revolutionary 8 series and Z1. The E31 is a car well known to these pages, but as the Z1 was never imported to the U.S., it’s not a car that we often get to feature.
The Z1 was a complete departure for BMW; while they were not strangers to small cabriolets, their previous efforts were in the 1930s with the 315/1 and the 1960s with the 700. BMW went away from the idea of an integral body and frame to a separate chassis with removable, plastic body pieces. The idea was that the owners could replace the panels themselves to “repaint” the car with minimal effort. It was something the Smart car would be notable for – a car that launched a decade following the Z1. The doors didn’t open out – the slid down into the supporting chassis structure. In front was nothing new – the venerable M20 from the E30 popped up here, too – but in the rear the Z1 was new with a multi-link rear axle of its own. This new design would later be incorporated into the E36. It’s interesting that with the Z3 BMW opted to go the opposite route and incorporate earlier E30 pieces into the rear of the /7 and /8. While performance was relatively leisurely, the Z1 nevertheless garnered praise for its innovation, unique design and great looks:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW Z1 on Kijiji
The ascension of the E30 M3 and subsequent increase in value of both the E28 M5 and E24 M6 have underscored the incredible value of the lone early 1990s BMW M survivor, the E34 M5. While purists may complain that the E34 was heavier and a more dulled experience than the E28 M5, I’ve always found the E34 to be an even better representation of the M experience. M cars were all about stealthy performance, and in my mind the E34 is the most stealthy M car produced. Another reason I like the E34 versus the E28 is the introduction of more colors than just black – in this case, this E34 is the same color combination as the first M5 I ever sat in; silver with grey leather:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay
This is the car by which to measure many, many others. The details are there – things I didn’t even know were OEM correct, such as the Roadside Assistance sticker on the tool kit lid. I knew I wanted the OEM sheepskin seat covers, and after seeing the first set in the virtual flesh in ages, I want them even more. It’s hard to believe the original owners drove this car as sparingly as they did, but for some folks, that’s the point of a nice-weather summer car. I hope the seller gets his wish, and that this car goes to another owner who cherishes it like his late father did. If the price continues to rise and the bidding stays hot, I suspect the cost of entry will be high enough that the kiddy crowd won’t get its mitts on it; then again, the automatic will eliminate the tuner crowd almost immediately. A good thing!