Over the last two-decades, BMW has given us quite a few “Z” cars. There was the chic Z3 that James Bond helped unveil in the movie “Golden Eye,” followed by the sinfully pretty Z8 (also used in a Bond flick; The World Is Not Enough), which was penned by Henrik Fisker (yes, the same guy who went on to design some Aston Martin‘s and then started his own car company).
More recently, we have seen two-generations of the Z4 model, and while there was a Z9 concept car, when it eventually went into production, it became the 6-series.
In North America, very few know about the car that started the whole “Z”-line of cars at BMW. The very first model to wear this alphabet was appropriately called the Z1.
Like all the “Z” cars that went into production, the Z1 is a front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car. Unlike all other “Z” cars (or any other production car for that matter), the Z1 had doors that would drop down into the sills. Yes, getting in and out is a bit more challenging than usual due to the high sills, but it is worth it for the reaction it causes in public. Plus you can park in a tight spot and not worry about being able to swing open the door. The doors would move up and down via an electric motor, so no muscle power is needed.
Speaking of muscle, the Z1 was powered by the familiar 2.5-liter, straight-six cylinder engine, that can be found in other BMW models. This engine produces just 168-hp and 161 lb/ft of torque, which is not a lot for a car that weighs 3200-lbs. Power was fed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. According to BMW, this sleek roadster took 9.0-seconds to accelerate from 0-62 mph, and would top out at 137 mph. Not slow, but not nearly as fast as it looks.
During its two-year production run from March 1989 to June 1991, BMW made just 8000 examples of the Z1, well short of their target of producing 35,000 copies initially.
Nowadays, the Z1 is considered to be a rare, modern classic, and finding one for sale in North America (a market where it was never officially sold) is extremely difficult.
But we have found a clean example sitting in Calgary, AB., Canada. This black on grey and charcoal example has covered about 20,600-miles. The seller has not provided much else information, and has mentioned a wrong engine size in the ad. The asking price is CAN$29,999, which equals to $29,400 in our currency at today’s exchange rate.
So if you’ve always wanted a Z1, or just want a car with disappearing doors, you can check out the ad yourself in the source link below.