This new chapter of “The Driveway” series – inspired by cars owned by our readers – continues with a one-of-a-kind project – a coachbuilt BMW Z3. The project was put together by John at ZGTCars. The ZGT is an original design which extrapolates from the iconic BMW “507” of 1956-1959, a model that never evolved because of financial woes that forced BMW to turn away from sports cars to building more economical transportation.
If not for BMW’s misfortunes, the 507 might have followed the path that Ferrari took when evolving the 250GT into their legendary 1962-1964 “250GTO,” an icon of the golden age of the grand turismo sports racing car.
ZGT is a coach-built composite body for the 1996-2002 BMW E36/7 “Z3” platform. The Z3 was produced in large numbers, thus is readily available as an inexpensive donor platform. It shares parts with other BMW platforms, and enjoys good aftermarket support for replacement parts, and for performance enhancements.
Designed for no-cut, no-weld installation, the major panels all bolt-on using factory BMW hardware from the donor car. Only a few trim panels are bonded-on.
Z3 donors are available with high-revving 4- and 6-cylinder BMW engines. They can be retrofitted with engines from other BMW platforms, as well as GM LS-series engines and other power plants.
Retail price of the ZGT panel package is $9,650, FOB Scottsdale, Arizona. Crating service is available, as well as domestic US, international, and overseas shipping. Installation service is also available on the customer’s donor car, or locally-sourced donor cars.
Your Name: John Washington (owner, designed with Mark Kittleson)
Your Car (year/make/model): Coachbuilt “ZGT” with 2002 Z3 drivetrain, 3.0-liter M54 inline 6-cylinder
Time of Ownership: Designed and built over the last three years, finished in August 2016
What made you buy it?: Bought the Z3 specifically for the build, great platform, relatively inexpensive, and lends itself well to the coachbuilding process.
Things you like: Almost everything!
Things you’d change: Not crazy about the Steptronic transmission, but it works great if you leave it in automatic!
Modifications Done: No mechanical mods yet, but every body panel has been redesigned. Only the doors remain, with a cap bonded over the top section to connect the body line front-to-rear
Any Adventures?: Many, including Car Week at Monterey and the BMWCCA Oktoberfest last year.
Costs: Mostly labor, about 3000 hours
What’s Next (Next car, next adventure, etc.)?: I‘m going to take it easy for awhile now that the ZGT is done. But I have an LS1-powered Datsun Z car that needs to be finished, and I’m sure other projects will come up… as they always do!
The Driveway Template:
Your Car (year/make/model):
Time of Ownership:
What made you buy it?:
Things you like:
Things you’d change:
What’s Next (Next car, next adventure, etc.)?:
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