If you needed any more reasons to attend the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance this June, here’s one more reason: cars like this 1990 BMW Z1, one of the few magically federalized examples to be precise. During the next few weeks we’ll be looking at a number of cars that have appeared at the 2012 edition of the Greenwich Concours, an event that was thoroughly enjoyed by Kamil last year. But first, what is this show and why should you care?
For those few of you reading Hooniverse who don’t arrange family vacations around the classic car event schedule (and Nana’s 92nd birthday can be postponed by a few days cause it’s a leap year, right?), the Greenwich Concours is basically the Pebble Beach of the northeast. Except without the predictably nice weather, spacious roads, ample parking, or a golf course. But other than that, it’s just like Pebble Beach. Greenwich Concours is actually two shows in one, with classic American cars appearing on the show field on Saturday, and European cars on Sunday. And in the eight years that I’ve attended Greenwich, the show has never failed to surprise.
The BMW Z1 is perhaps best remembered across the pond for its drop down doors, but here in America it’s probably not remembered at all since we were cruelly denied this wondrous machine. The Z1 is also remembered over there for the (relatively) easily removable plastic body panels which allow users to change the color of their Z1 by swapping our the panels themselves. In practice very few Z1 owners have bothered with actually trying this, and those who have actually done it have found that it can take quite a bit more time than estimated by the factory.
This is one of only a handful of Z1s in the US, and one of the few that have been successfully registered for road use, as opposed to being registered under show and display. And nope, I have no idea how this was accomplished in this car’s case, but then again some states will seemingly give out titles and registrations for anything (I’m looking at you, Florida).
The Z1 is credited as being the brainchild of Ulrich Bez, who later became CEO of Aston Martin. In just two years of production a little over 8,000 examples of the Z1 were built. This roadster is powered by a 2.5 liter inline-6 also found in the 3-series cars of the time, such as the 325i.
The blue example is actually the third Z1 that I have seen in the states in the last three years. Two were in attendance at the 2011 Carlisle Import Nationals, including the green one above that has been in the US practically since new, and also appeared in the background of the
hilarious hilariously dated Sarah Jessica Parker comedy Miami Rhapsody. I would dare you to google that, but then you’d become upset and take it out on me, so I won’t. Let’s just say that it was a romantic comedy set in Miami in the early 90s, with all that that entails, and that Sarah Jessica Parker has since apologized. And speaking of that Miami example, Alex Nunez of Road & Track shared with me some months ago that he had actually seen the green Miami Rhapsody example above in that same part of Miami a few years ago, as it tended to be parked in front of a restaurant run by its former owner.
Perhaps the most surprising part of seeing the Z1 car in person is how well it blends inn with surrounding traffic. If it was parked on a busy street, I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few car guys wouldn’t be able to readily spot it from a distance. As the rolling 25 year exemption edges closer, I’d expect to see another dozen Z1s come into the US, as this was one of the few BMWs of the last 30 years which we were denied. And I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these appeared at the 2013 Carlisle Import Nationals.