We’ve seen million kilometer Bimmers before but they’re almost always in shambles. In the case of this BMW Z1, which previously sold at RM Sotheby’s auction in Paris, its 999,997 kilometer odometer readout completely belies its flawless condition. So how does a car with essentially one million kilometers on its odometer looks so perfect and why would someone pay 86,250 euros ($94,700) for it?
As it turns out, according to RM Sotheby’s (h/t to Car Scoops), this 1990 BMW Z1 is actually brand-spanking new. And despite its mileage readout, it actually might not have any kilometers on it at all. If you’re confused, you’re likely not alone.
Apparently, a common BMW practice, at least back then, was to roll back the odometer of brand-new cars to negative kilometers, to account for delivery mileage. So when the car was driven a handful of kilometers to get to dealerships or around port destinations, its odometer would eventually read zero, or close to it.
But then why does this one still have negative mileage? The BMW Z1 was bought by Danish racing driver Jens Winther, who added it to his collection of cars, a collection that included a BMW M1, and supposedly only drove it once, likely not very far. He also likely had it trailered to his collection, so it was never driven its typical delivery mileage, therefor never getting its odometer readout into the positive. That makes this BMW Z1 very special indeed, as it truly was barely ever driven at all. Even brand-new cars have been driven further than this Z1 and its odometer proves it.
Winther sold the car to its second owner in 2014, who also stored the Z1 and never drove it. Now, it’s up to the third owner to finally actually drive it. Although, with its unusual mileage readout, they’re likely never going to.
Its unique mileage is probably impressive to snooty collector types but it just makes me sad. The BMW Z1 is a car that begs to be driven. Its compact size, sporty wedge-like shape, and hilarious slide-down doors make it an incredibly unique car. Plus, with its E30 325i powertrain—a 2.5-liter inline-six, five-speed manual, and rear-wheel drive—and lightweight plastic body, it’s probably a fantastic little sports car to drive, especially with its doors down. Hopefully this car gets driven the way it was meant to be but I doubt that will ever happen.
[Source: RM Sotheby’s]