1989 BMW Z1 in Spartanburg, SC -High Demand but High Price
A bit less to say about the Z1, which is unusual for me. For many, many years the Z1 was my all-time favorite car.
I saw one in Germany as a young child and was instantly smitten by its power-sinking doors and ultra-refined aero profile. To me, it was everything a BMW sports car should be. Versus the large and imposing 635CSi and 750iL of the time, it was nothing short of a revelation for BMW lovers worldwide.
Even today, its shapely panels are quite bewitching.
The Z1 was originally a concept that met rapturous demand from the market, so was produced in extremely limited numbers a few years later.
Its **very** high price kept many would-be buyers shut out, however, which almost directly spurred:
— the affordable Z3 of 1994
— The Spartanburg factory: to make the Z3 in a cost-effective way for its largest expected market, the United States.
It is even better than I remembered, even twenty years on from my first jaw-dropped viewing.
On a side note, the body panels were some kind of GFRP polymer, explaining the semi-wonky gaps and fitment after all these years. This may have been a prototype, as well, explaining some of the less-than-BMW-like quality of the body surfaces versus the 328 of 1937 and its 1MM-or-less panel gaps.