If you live in areas with a relatively normal climate (not New Jersey, apparently), it’s currently Spring. That means birds are chirping, flowers are budding and the sound of raucous exhausts fill the air. Why that last bit? Because when the weather starts to get nice, gearheads come out to play. And the best sort of car to play with as the weather gets nicer is a roadster with fun-to-drive dynamics. Could this 1989 BMW Z1 be your Springtime roadster?
The BMW Z1 is one of the more fascinating cars in the history of the Bavarian brand. Its chassis was unique and developed for the Z1, so it didn’t share its chassis components with any other BMW of the era. It also used the engine, transmission and front suspension from an E30 BMW 325i. So it used a 2.5 liter I6 engine with a five-speed manual gearbox powering the rear wheels.
But the most unique thing about the Z1 is its body. Its overall shape clearly established a design language that BMW continued to use for its Z3 Roadster in the ’90s. However, its doors were some of the funkiest things ever fitted to a car, as they slid down into the body, rather than open outward. This created a rather wide door sill to step over to get into the car, but it was part of the charm. The body panels were also made of plastic and were easily removable, an idea BMW as toying with at the time and never really caught on.
This particular Z1 is a 1989 model and has 50,000 miles on the odometer, making it very fresh. However, it does seem to have been driven relatively often and wasn’t just a garage queen. Its Toprot red paint is the best color option for the Z1 and its black interior gives it a sporty feel. It also seems to be in superb condition, making it a very attractive car. Admittedly, its price tag isn’t the best most enticing, with the buyer asking around $35,000. That’s quite a bit for a small roadster of its age, especially considering that you could by a Z4 M Coupe for the same money and it would be far faster and more exciting.
However, a Z4 M Coupe would never be as interesting as this one-off gem of a roadster. No other car in the history of BMW has ever had slide-down doors. The BMW Z1 is a hilarious and fascinating car, one with so much character that it’s hard to say “no” to its silliness. Drop the top and drop the doors before going for a drive and you may have the absolute perfect Spring sports car.[Source: Classic Driver]