Okay! Final roadster article from the BMW Zentrum Museum and delivery center in Spartanburg. The Z3, Z8 and Z4 Alpina and many others are featured in this mini museum, but these three are stand-outs for me in how the each speak to their respective decades so effectively.
What do I mean?
Well, the 1928 Dixi is far ahead of its time versus the heavy and getting-heavier American cars of the period, which were anything but sporty in corners. Or the slow-coaches of England, for that matter, where 5-mph was generally “too fast.” for urban areas or rural routes.
The 1937 328 is also far ahead of its time, wearing a style and straight-six engine format that would take England and Lotus three decades longer to match. See the Lotus Seven for evidence of how far behind the curve Lotus was in the early 1950s versus BMW in the 1930s.
And finally, the Z1 of the late 1980s. Also far, far ahead of schedule and wearing technology and equipment no other manufacturer would dare include for another twenty years, like power-operated doors, windshield-mounted-mirrors, and flush-fit headlamps in place of pop-up lighting.
What might come next as the vanguard of 20-years-too-soon tech? In our eyes, it is the 2005 BMW GINA light fabric roadster.
BMW Dixi Roadster Checklist:
Evidence of how roadsters are part of the core fabric of BMW?
Cute beyond Cuteness in size and performance versus the Mercedes-Benz goliaths of the day?
Milky white paint and wheels that seem borrowed from a bike or fancy baby pram?
The BMW Dixi Roadster was a sporting re-interpretation of the Austin Seven — but with far less glass and bodywork above the window-line.
That window-line is also scalloped pretty low — meaning dogs could probably chomp at your arm while at a stop sign, but also a lovely wind-swept cruising experience later echoed by the Z1, whose doors could be retracted during even high-speed cruising. There is something magical about a car with no doors — as known by anyone who has hung a foot out the side of a Jeep Wrangler over the years.
This BMW Dixi Roadster might look silly, but its ambitions to bring sporting cars to everyone were deadly serious.
The Zentrum Museum in Spartanburg is a must-see if you are in the area, and a fun place to spend a few hours for all classic car and motorcyle fans.