Between 1989 and 1991, BMW only built 8,000 Z1 roadster cars and while some of them are still up for sale as used cars, the prices are still quite high. A 1991 BMW Z1 listed on RightDrive sells for $54,985. The car has only 14,000 miles and looks in mint condition.
BMW unveiled the Z1 to the international motoring press in the Italian town of Punta Ala back in autumn 1988, its direct predecessor was parked in the hotel’s inner courtyard – a BMW 507 from the late 1950s, the last time the BMW model range had included a two-seater sports car.
It had all begun with a very bold idea. The BMW Board of Management came up with the notion of setting up a kind of think tank in a cutting-edge company branch that would be completely isolated from all other development departments. The idea was to give highly skilled BMW engineers, technicians and designers free rein to work on turning their best creative concepts into reality themselves.
At the start of 1985, the idea came to fruition. Not five minutes’ drive from the Group’s headquarters, a highly dedicated high-tech company came into being that has long since become a role model the world over: BMW Technik GmbH, known internally simply by the letters ZT. Just six months later, the 60-strong team delivered exactly what had been hoped for: concrete concepts designed to inject car manufacture with new impetus, all under the umbrella of a pilot project for employing new materials, using different types of vehicle structure and shortening development times. It didn’t take long to coin a name for it: the Z1.
The engine is one of BMWs finest in the form of the M20B25 unit taken from the E30 325i. The Z1 had a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph) and could dart to 100 km/h (62 mph) from stationary in just under eight seconds.