Quirky cars aren’t always known to be that good. Every now and again, there are cars that do have something that is suitably different, that can polarise opinion and lately, it has been BMW. Although it turns out, this has always been their way. Welcome to the BMW Z1.
In a previous life, I was a lowly sales executive in an IT supplies company. Surrounded by high-flyers, you would think that the car park would be awash with decent cars. But it was not.
Their highest performing sales guy drove a Renault Megan. Cabriolet. His next competitor on the sales floor drove a more middle-management base E-class Mercedes but while he had optioned a few things, the smallest engine wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire.
The owner of the business did at least take delivery of the newly released Jaguar XK8 but the silver/beige combination was also way too bland. I was driving a soon to seize up and die Vauxhall Astra which was mainly ashtray on the inside, but I had dreams. Aspirations. A target.
I’d fallen for the quirky BMW Z1 and, while they hadn’t been mass-produced, I knew of one that a guy had who was looking to do a deal. Only issue was, of the £9,500 he wanted to sell it for, I was £9,480 short. The lure of this job was uncapped commission and I figured I’d be a sure fire hit sales guy who would own that car in no time.
It was not to be.
As a salesman, I couldn’t close a deal and that meant the Z1, along with my blossoming confidence in earning commission, was about to be over.
I soon left that world and had only on occasion remembered that dream of owning a Z1. Then I met Paul. Paul is not only a great guy, he also owns a Z1. Unlike me when I was younger, Paul had wanted one for a while and when one came along, he just bought it and figured out the finances after.
‘To say that I was worried about telling my wife is an understatement’ says Paul of that ‘other’ arrival at the family home.
His wife was pregnant and as with any young and expanding family, budget is everything. So of course, buying a car went over well.
‘Luckily she knows me and knows that I wouldn’t just buy anything for the sake of it but still…’ he smiles and shrugs his shoulders at the memory. ‘What you gonna do?!’
Paul and his wife have enjoyed the Z1 ever since. The design of those doors is suitably non-BMW these days that it just elicits a smile to anyone who sees them sinking into the bodywork. It isn’t big either, which seems to be the ever decreasing common sense approach to modern cars.
Small, quirkily formed and, as Paul confirms, not for sale.
‘I was lucky in the end. The price I got it for means I shouldn’t lose money on it but as with many cars I’ve owned, that isn’t my main reason for buying them. If it was, I certainly wouldn’t have some of the rot boxes I’ve had in the past on my ownership CV!’
With summer just around the corner and lockdowns lifting, the covers will soon be coming off for another year. I ask if there is any particular drive he’s looking forward to most with the Z1?
‘All of them!’
Ask a silly question.