The BMW Z1 was a revolutionary car when it first came out. It wasn’t only because it started a naming convention that lives to this day but also because it had some very clever tricks up its sleeves. While its trick sliding door design, which slid down into the body work, was the highlight of the Z1, it was just one of the things that made it stand out in the crowd.
The guys from Top Gear took one out for a spin and arrived at the otherwise obvious conclusion that the BMW Z1 is the perfect car to drive if you really want to feel the road. That’s to be taken literally, as you’re about to see in the video below, since the Z1 will actually allow you to stretch out and touch the asphalt in the process of driving. Few other cars will also offer you this opportunity.
All jokes aside, the Z1 was and still is a special car. Apart from the trick doors, the BMW also came with a great chassis underneath and straight six engines under the hood. It may not have been the fastest roadster available at the time but it was the only one that had interchangeable body panels. This was presented as a revolutionary feature back in the day, the polymer panels being shown as the perfect solution to easily changing the appearance of your car.
In theory, it could’ve worked but in the end, few people actually did that, most of the cars remaining stock and in the same color as the day they left the production line. Those plastic body panels were also a pain on the production line as they would tolerate different levels of paint on them without bending. Basically, BMW had to paint the Z1 body parts separately before the final assembly. That drove the price up and that’s how the Z1 never became the phenomenon BMW wanted it to be. It was still an interesting car though.