Rare 1991 BMW Z1 With Only 2,377 Miles!

The Z1 is certainly one of the most unusual cars to come from BMW and that’s saying something for a company that gave us the front-door Isetta, the “Bangle butt” cars, the 5-Series Gran Tourismo hatchback, and the famous “clown shoe” Z3 coupe. I love a company that thinks outside the box and with that thinking comes this rare 1991 BMW Z1. The seller has this one listed here on eBay in Jacksonville, Florida and they list an asking price of $109,900. I’m serious. Thanks to Kyle K. for sending in this tip!

Here it is in all its buttoned-up glory sitting in the dealership showroom where it now resides, at least until one of you buys it. The seller tells us that it was purchased new in Italy and then spent some time in its birthplace (Germany) before being purchased by their dealership and imported to the US in 2020. Finally, something good to come out of this year. With only 2,377 miles, it’s barely broken in yet it’s already traveled halfway around the planet.

As with a bottle of fine German wine (no, that’s not an oxymoron), I detect hints, or better yet, “notes” of several complicated flavors in the Z1. And I don’t mean tobacco, leather, and/or the terroir (soil) where grapes are grown type of flavors. I’m talking about design flavors, or design language, if you will, as a wine drinker may say.

E30 M3 anyone? Yes, very much so. The front clip is somewhat RX7 to me and I’m not generally a person who relates a vehicle’s design to other vehicles. I know that’s a great pastime for a lot of readers and that’s perfectly ok, but I’m not one of them. Although, it’s almost impossible for me to not want to do that with a Z1.

Ok, here’s a view for you! Here’s where I say, “The retracting doors remind me of a Kaiser Darrin…” but instead of sliding into the front fenders, they disappear into the massive side beams. That’s pretty slick and sometimes troublesome, but what’s the fun of owning a German vehicle without a few trips to the dealership? I have probably paid for the new service wing at our neighborhood dealership.

The Z1, or Zed 1 – as several million people around the globe say – was only made for three short years, 1989 through 1991, and only 8,000 cars were made. I used to want one before they crept up into insanity levels where they are now. Wheeler Dealers did a show on bringing one back to life, in case anyone was a fan of that show. And if you aren’t, you seriously do not know what you’re missing, especially the early Edd China episodes. Here’s a synopsis of that episode on YouTube.

The power isn’t anything like an E30 M3 but it’s reasonably close at 170 horsepower from this 2.5L M20B25 six-cylinder. Dare I say that BMW makes some of the best six-cylinder engines of anyone, maybe ever? It’s too late, I just said it. I have to assume that it runs like new but there’s no word on its operating condition at all. The seller has it priced at Hagerty’s #1 Concours price which is very rare to see. With fewer than 2,500 miles, it just may be a rare #1 car. Have any of you seen, or better yet, owned or driven a BMW Z1?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Neat, fun little car. I thought it a bit more responsive and nimble than that Z3 when I drove one, though the idea of coming up with $109.9K for one now gives me the willies. When I drove one back then, it was simply illegal as all get out. I doubt they could have been brought into compliance very well….

    In the ’90s, BMW knew how to turn out really well-done cars: good looks, well balanced, and the six-cylinder engines were as sweet as Scotty says. Even the low-volume Z1 was finished off superbly as I recall, and was the kind of car you’d jump into without hesitation for a fast trip on a challenging road.

    It’ll be worth it to the person who finally writes the Big Check, and I hope said buyer throws caution to the wind and drives the daylights out of it. That’s what it’s for.

    Like 2
  2. Woody Boater

    I was fortunate enough to drive one in Germany and through the Alps when I worked on the BMW account. It was fun as hell. Even in Europe it was a star. The seats are the coolest part oddly. Not as fast as one might hope. But man oh man. From what I recall the suspension was part of the reason it was built to test? memory is fading. The Doors go down and driving like that is a blast. Dune Buggy Blast. I swore one day I would get one. But 100K? And it would sit in the museum you would have to build for it. God forbid you do what BMW’s are designed to be. The Ultimate Driving Machine!

    Like 2
    • CJinSD

      The rear suspension was proof of concept for the multi-link rear suspension that BMW used on everything from the E36 to the R50 and on to today, as far as I know. One car that kept the semi-trailing arm design that could be traced back to the Isetta 600 was the Z3.

      Like 3
  3. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. It’s a damn shame that BMW never mass produced for the general public.

    Like 1
  4. Terry

    I always cringe when I see a car with “only ” stupid-low miles. Still, this does look like a very nice well-maintained vehicle. Worth 109k? Maybe to someone.

    Like 4
  5. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    I remember seeing one in Miami back when they first came out. It looked like “THE FUTURE” . I’m gonna say it’s aged well.

    Like 1
  6. SebastianX1/9

    Drove one in Italy. It’s a very expensive Mazda Miata w cool doors. Nothing else…and I love BMWs but the price is ridiculous except to a genuine collector.

    Like 5
  7. Scuderia

    I understand a premium for the low miles but being “thrifty” I’d have to go with one of the other low mileage offerings for half the price. Then I could at least drive it without guilt.

    Like 1
  8. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    Wheeler Dealers remediated one of these not so long ago (I believe it was Ant who did the work, not Edd China). Mike sold it for a whole lot less than this “concours” edition…like in the 20K GBP range I think. There were a few things to fix and the doors were amongst them.

    Like 1
    • ken tilly UK Member

      I just watched the episode, and it was Edd China who did the resto.

      Like 1
      • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

        Cool. Do you remember what they sold it for?

  9. Howie Mueler

    So can they be USA legal to drive on the streets?

    Like 2
    • Dylan Robinson

      I suspect it can be imported and registered under the “25 year” rules. But it may or may not be emissions legal in all states, like maybe, California. I think the CARB can issue waivers for some cars, but that’s a their discretion and generally only when that engine was sold in California in other models and the emissions gear is similar on both, etc. Best check with your local DMV and/or state smog agency.

  10. Gerard Frederick

    Why would good German wine be an oxymoron? Ilive in Chile, a country with a myriad of first class wines, but I miss having a glass of a Mosel variety, a family of wines which is nay unbeatable, certainly in the white wine category. And a good german Riesling or Rosé – cornucopias of taste, sort of like a BMW or a grand Glas 1700GT.

    Like 1
    • Drake

      After spending over 20 years there and having a hand in the yearly harvesting of the grapes, i concur wholeheartedly! But maybe I’m biased! I have a 1995 BMW convertible and a German wife!

  11. Phlathead Phil. 🥴

    At 109.9 LARGE Phogettaboudit!!

    MoBetta tings to spend mah cash on.

    • Stan Marks

      Gonja mon……..

  12. Drake

    After spending over 20 years there and having a hand in the yearly harvesting of the grapes, i concur wholeheartedly! But maybe I’m biased! I have a 1995 BMW convertible and a German wife!

  13. Gerard Frederick

    Well now, congrats! You have demonstrated great taste in the important things in life, wine, women and cars!

    • Drake

      Some of the best times of my life! And until this article and your comment, I’d never thought of it like that!

  14. Stan Marks

    $109.9K? You better be your own mechanic first.
    I love the looks. It’ll never go out of style.

  15. Alex Lipowich

    I love mine, they are a ton of fun to drive. None of the 8012 produced had AC, although there is a spot on the dash for the switch. Torque tube, IX engine and transmission, muffler as an aerodynamic wing, plastic body, front mid-engine design, red needles in a non-M car, composite floor pan, first projector headlights in a BMW, and of course, the doors. Lots to enjoy and take pride in. First Mclaren F1’s had the Z1 mirrors, and they all used the door button mechanism.

  16. Michael Acocks

    Some ‘barn find’ eh ?

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