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1990 BMW Z1

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05 Greatest BMW Creations From The ...
05 Greatest BMW Creations From The 1980s


As it has aged, the BMW Z3 (with exception of the M Coupe) has become a bit of an unwanted step child amongst pre-owned BMWs. They aren’t new enough to be considered cool and aren’t old enough to be considered classic. Most of those in the states would be forgiven if they thought this was BMW’s first crack at the roadster format, but it wasn’t. Dial back to the late 1980s and you’ll find this rather strange convertible called the Z1. Built in limited numbers from 1989 through 1991, it was a bit of a test bed for new technologies, such as removable plastic body panels, a “Z” axle rear suspension and underbody aerodynamic tray. There were only 8,000 of these funky roadsters ever made and a few have started making their way to the US as they have now breached 25 years of age. This example is for sale in Texas.


Year: 1990
Model: Z1
Engine: 2.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 71,338 mi
Price: $65,000 Buy It Now


1990 BMW Z1

(note: listed under BMW Z8 since eBay does not have a category for Z1)

Inspired by its famous predecessor the 507, the Z1 was not especially cheap to buy originally, but was built to BMW’s traditionally high standards. Some regarded the car as faultless, and it was certainly among the best-handling sports cars, but the important point for BMW was its standing. BMW had returned to making true sports cars after many years absence.

The Z in Z1 originally stood for Zukunft (German for future) and would later be used on other cars in the line: the Z3, Z4, and Z8.

A ‘concept car’ first shown by BMW in 1986 and officially presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1987, the Z1 sports roadster was used to showcase emerging automotive technologies, including the ‘internal skeleton’ method of construction best known for its use by Rover in the 2000 model of 1963. Molded plastic panels clothed the galvanized steel chassis, which was braced by a molded composite under-tray. Unusually, the doors dropped into the body sides to provide access. The car could be driven with all the panels removed, and it was suggested that owners might want to buy a second set in an alternative color.

The running gear was more conventional – MacPherson strut independent front suspension being complemented by a wishbone set-up at the rear – while motive power was supplied by a 2.5-litre, 170bhp version of BMW’s overhead-cam straight six driving the rear wheels via five-speed manual gearbox. Top speed was around 140mph with 60mph coming up in 7.8 seconds. Production began slowly in 1988 at the rate of six cars per day, ending in 1991 after 8,000 units had been built. Demand was strong from the start despite a high price and today this landmark model continues to be highly sought after by BMW collectors.

This pristine BMW Z1 is finished in red with black leather/camouflage interior, it benefits from a recent full service. The convertible top is brand new.

I personally imported this car and it has a clear Texas title in my name.

This past May, Bonhams Auction House sold a low mileage twin to this Z1 fo $106,000 (including premium). On August 19 at Quail Lodge, Bonhams will be auctioning a no mile twin to this car and probably obtain an even higher price. The car I am offering here can be driven daily and be enjoyed fully.

Feel free to call Steven at 972-900-4142 with any questions. Or email


It’s no secret that Z1s are pulling strong money, especially if you find one of the few for sale stateside. That BMW Z1 that was for sale at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction hammered for $101,750. If you haven’t noticed in my previous posts, I’m not a fan of museum pieces like this. While this Z1 isn’t cheap, you wouldn’t be afraid to drive it. And that’s really the point of owning a roadster. Especially one with some cool disappearing doors you can drive around with in the retracted position.



  1. Christian Longwolf
    Christian Longwolf August 23, 2016

    Interesting cars…..but not $100K interesting. I would be inclined to pay maybe $35K for one of these. They are not rare, they are not high performance, and they are not all that good looking.

  2. thefamouseric
    thefamouseric August 23, 2016

    and not that good to drive and pain to get in and out

  3. John
    John August 23, 2016

    Holy Miata!!!

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