BMW Z1: a quarter century of convertible innovation

In the 80’s in the BMW headquarters were taking the first steps to regain two-seater sports legacy and rafters that was abandoned in the late 50’s with the output of the catalog of the BMW 507. Not at all it was an improvised movement, for it was decided to form a special department called BMW Technik AG – known internally as ZT, period – which would be responsible for special projects such as that was hatched in 1985, the BMW Z1.

Can you imagine the furor it caused in its day the BMW Z1, certainly the most spectacular retractable doors were ranging automatically so that were hidden in the body allowing even move without doors to improve the experience of driving a convertible. The initial project was far less simple, it was a hand-crafted sports therefore demanded a high price and limited production, but BMW did not hesitate a moment to stand firm in their intentions and develop it. The initial euphoria was such that there were those who feared that the production rate of 6 units per day does not receive their sports well into 2000.

It is estimated that total production of the BMW Z1 came to 8,000 units, of which about 6,500 were sold in Germany.

The BMW Z1 was a pioneer in many ways, beyond its retractable doors or monocoque chassis. One of the most interesting in the boom of plastic materials, was the formation of a body of molded plastic panels using different compounds and properties (resistance, resilience, flexibility) as a function of its structural work and impact absorption. To change all panels, and therefore the color of the body of a BMW Z1 enough screwdriver and just one hour of work. In other spots like the hood and the hood compartment was also used carbon fiber composite and fiberglass.

The plastic body demanded develop in collaboration with chemical companies paint products suitable for this material. The BMW Z1 was available in four colors: silver metallic, black metallic, yellow and red.

The mechanism that was chosen for the BMW Z1 was a six-cylinder, front-center position, of 2,494 cm3 and 168 hp at 5,800 rpm. Was associated with a manual gearbox and rear wheel speeds.

As Top Gear showed in the video above, the BMW Z1 roadster was not perfect for a lady.

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