Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

BMW Z1 (1988 - 1991)

Last updated 18 March 2013


Buying Guide

What's Good

  • Classic from day one. Groovy drop-down doors. Sophisticated multi-link rear suspension. 12' 10" long by 5' 6" wide and weighed 1,338kg.
  • Doors don't hinge open. Instead they drop into the sills.
  • Iron block, single belt cam 171 bhp BMW six.
  • Plastic body panels colour impregnated so stay looking good.
  • Only 8,093 built. Cost up to £36,000 new.
  • Good ones never really dropped much below £20,000. On 27-11-2007 BCA sold a very nice 30k mile 1989 Z1 for £18,885, including commission.

What's Bad

  • LHD only.
  • Go over a bump or humo-back bridge too hard and the doors can drop back into the sills.
  • Many imported used from Germany so difficult to check history, and may be clocked.
  • 'Old' single cam 325i engine needs regular cambelt changes, can suffer cracking of cylinder head. Panels hard to replace.
  • From April 2002 BMW started to phase out production of official replacement parts for cars over 10 years old.

What to Watch Out For

  • Badly fitting panels hiding old accident damage.
  • Make sure the door mechanisms work properly.
  • Cambelts need replacing every 3 years or 36,000 miles.
  • Check header tank for signs of oil in coolant and look under oil cap for mayonnaise.
  • Twin exhaust the most desirable. German TUV insisted that the rear be fitted with a towing eye, so most cars only had one exhaust outlet.
  • Original AG supplied 'Z1' badged stereo system very desirable.


  • 1998: all Z1s recalled to fit new radiator cap.
Back: IntroductionNext: Specifications

Compare classic car insurance quotes and buy online. A friendly service offering access to a range of policies and benefits.

Get a quote