THE WAY IT WAS

'98

Z3 with a little extra FIZ

The Z3 was only ever planned as a roadster. It wasn’t until BMW built a full-sized prototype that the engineers, knowing a roof would increase stiffness to improve refinement and handling, saw the potential for a closed coupe.

In secret, working after hours in a garage in the basement of BMW’s FIZ (Forschung und Innovation Zentrum) R&D centre in Munich, a small team of five engineers turned the ragtop into a coupe.

It wasn’t until midway through the project that they asked for help from a friendly designer. So no full-scale design drawings and no drafting drawings, just blokes working to create a new model as if it were a Californian custom car.

Only when the full-size wood/clay mock-up was finished did they show engineering boss Wolfgang Reitzle, who immediately gave the project the go-ahead.

ALSO IN WHEELS, September 1998

Spy photos of the entire upcoming AU Falcon range, with our pointed comment (well-founded, as it turned out) about nervousness at Broadmeadows; Nissan R34 Skyline 25GT driven in Japan; Subaru Liberty and Outback wagons also driven in Japan; Robbo finds Mercedes’ micro-car not as Smart as the name; 4WD buyers’ guide; Peter McKay races at the Nurburgring (and crashes!); Inside the Sultan of Brunei’s jaw-dropping garage

READ THIS STORY AND HEAPS MORE CLASSICS AT WheelsMag.com.au/classic

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Leaping Frogs

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