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 |  Dec 23 2011, 3:00 PM

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.

[Source: AutoTrader.ca]

 |  Sep 22 2010, 5:54 PM

Where do old Cadillacs go when it’s time to retire? They used to go to the Cadillac ranch in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. But now that the ranch is set to close its gates, old Caddies no longer have a place to roam the open ranges.

C.R. Auto, located in Hay Lakes, is home to hundreds of old Cadillacs. The ranch was opened in the early 1980s by Randy Berfelo, who brought along his brother Andrew for the ride. It all started when Randy started to restore a 1962 Cadillac convertible, and it grew from there. It soon turned into a parts warehouse, body shop and service facilities, and his original plan was to stock 500 Caddies to save and sell. Unfortunately, when he died in an accident in 1989 at the age of 32, the lot held only 225 cars.

“I never called it a junkyard, it’s a Cadillac retirement center,” said Andrew Berfelo. “It was Randy’s dream, and I kept it going, but it’s time for it to end.”

Carrying on his brother’s dream, Andrew continued to acquire and sell parts from around the world, and even General Motors refers calls to him when Caddy owners are looking for antique parts. Now, at the age of 64, he’s ready to retire as well. But there’s the question of what to do with all the spare parts –this 160-acre farm is stocked with 330 Cadillacs, all between the model years of 1947 to 1979, and there are also plenty of bins full to the brim with parts.

“I’d like to sell all the cars rather than crush them next year, and all the parts, rather than put them in a Dumpster,” he said. “A couple of people have shown some interest in buying, but being interested and coming up with the money are two different things.”

[Source: The New York Times]

 |  Aug 24 2009, 12:31 PM

traveler-drives.jpg

National Geographic’s Traveler magazine has put together a list of the 50 best road trips. Included in the list are perennial favorites like California’s Pacific Coast Highway; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; the Florida keys and the Arkansas Ozarks.

International drives include Provence, France; the Pirate Route in Jamaica; New Zealand’s North Island and the Flower Route in the Netherlands.

Canada also rates highly with five of the top 50 drives. Recommended are Banf and Jasper National Parks in Alberta; pretty much all of the province of British Columbia; the Manitoba prairies; the Montreal, Quebec area and (one of our favorites) the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

And while we don’t want to call into question the talents of fine folks at National Geographic, Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park should surely be included a well.

[Source: National Geographic]