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In the 80s BMW decided on a contest between their own development teams BMW “M” and BMW Technik. Both groups were asked to build a new innovative car. BMW Technik dug deep into their desks and came with doors that disappear into the body, a 2-seater Roadster (this is before the Mazda Miata revolutionized the open car market).

One of the highlights of the car is that all painted body parts of the car are fiberglass or plastic and can be removed and exchanged for a different color. Separate body kits were made available in all colors.

The car is loosely based on the 325 model with modifications to the frame. Many of the modifications and innovations that came from the Z1 design and project were later implemented into the BMW series of the 90s and into today.

The car was never made available for the US market. Only 8000 total units were built. Waiting lists in Europe were 2 years plus. Since the car was never federalized and properly tested the car is not eligible to be imported under the regular import rules.  This car is considered historically significant and received a special exception.

Jay Leno owns one and the Sultan of Brunai owns 5. The Sultans VINS are: WBABA91070AL03888 WBABA910X0AL01455 WBABA91060AL01467 WBABA91060AL01842 WBABA91000AL03649

Here is a great You-Tube link with a promotional video:


This is the BMW Z1 chassis.  It's monocoque design was a first for BMW.

Here is the car without it's body panels.  For all intents and purposes, the car is complete and can be driven in this condition.

Here are the 17 body panels which were removed from the vehicle.  BMW suggested that owners by a second set of panels, perhaps in a different color which would be "easily" interchangeable.

While BMW claimed 2 hours to change the panels.  Most folks agreed it was more like a 2 day job.  The innovation was still there however.