BMW Z3 | Shed of the Week

'Modern classic' is not a description the original Z3 wears well; Shed of the Week on the other hand…

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, October 30, 2020

Mrs Shed has expressed an interest in this week's shed, a BMW Z3 with smoker's package, but that's mainly because she thinks it comes with a free carton of Lambert & Butlers.

These days of course you'd only want the fag lighter socket to charge up your battery-powered toys, which might boost its appeal for Mrs Shed, but would she want it for any other reason? Noting that it's a 1.9, and a high-mileage 1.9 at that, your answer might well be no way Jose, but hold hard for a minute. You might be behind the times on Z3s. If you think our offering is expensive at £1,495, have a look at some other dealer Z3s on sale and prepare to be surprised, if not amazed.

Gen-one Z3 adverts are increasingly including the magic value-inflating word 'classic'. It doesn't matter whether you think that cap fits or not, the classic cachet is definitely being reflected in the prices. You'd expect the 2.8s and 3.0s to be dear because they do go a bit, but even the 1.9s – and even the automatic ones - are being touted for as much as £6.5k. Three grand seems the ballpark figure for sub-100k mile cars.

See? Told you you'd be surprised. Although Joji Nagashima is credited with its design, the Z3 was the first BMW to be built under the auspices of gnomish wunderkind Chris Bangle. Just about every car Bangle wangled past the BMW board was slated at the time of its release, and just about every one went on to be grudgingly admired. The Z3's shape is still not an easy one to love, but the Bangle transformation may still happen if folk continue to rub their eyes in horror at the latest over-grilled BMWs.

The miles on this one are high at 157k, but the last MOT in July was a clean pass, and going back over the last 14 years the advisories have almost all related to normal consumables. There's no mention of rust on the certs, or any obvious signs of body trouble in the usual places (sills, boot floor, rear arches) in the pics.

The 1.9 engines did suffer from premature wear which was flagged up by excess exhaust smoke, but at this advanced age any mechanical wear is going to be normal rather than premature. Coils, cam position sensors and power steering pipes can all be expected to fail, but that's the same for many a 20+ year old car. Knackered Z3 hoods and seats aren't cheap to replace, but other than needing a spruce up with a few bottles of restorer this one looks OK in both areas. Overall there's nothing to trigger any major alarm bells – other than maybe the paint.

But that's the thing that makes this car financially interesting. BMW did some fairly hideous hues in the early Z3 days, with some of the greens like Fiji or Turkish being particularly bilious. The thing is though, the more nauseous the colour, the higher the value now. To Shed's cataracty peepers Palmetto Green is nowhere near as jolting as those other shades and, as the vendor says, it's probably at least as rare.

Shed found no others like it for sale in the UK, just one ad of indeterminate age for another T-reg 1.9 that had done half the miles of our shed but was somewhat more than twice the price at £4,350. Get this one and you're guaranteed to get some passing interest at an owner's club meet, whenever they might happen again - and if you can keep the miles down or get your dodgy mate to knock a few off (joking) you're unlikely to lose much money.

It's good that the vendors are giving £100 from every sale to charity, not so good that all transactions are subject to a £199 admin fee. Eeeh, it almost makes you want to take up smerking.

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