The enigma of the odometer: the story behind the BMW Z1 with 999,997 km sold for 86,000 €.

The BMW Z1 is a classic car that was unveiled at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show. This model was very popular at the time and was the forerunner of BMW’s Z series, which has included models such as the Z3, Z4 and Z8. One of these vehicles has recently been in the news for its impressive odometer showing a figure of 999,997 kilometres. The car sold for €86,000 in an online auction and has left many car enthusiasts baffled. What is the story behind this mysterious BMW Z1 and its great mileage?

The BMW Z1: a revolutionary car

Photo: Sotheby

The BMW Z1 was a revolutionary car when it was unveiled at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show. Designed by Harm Lagaay, the Z1 boasted unique styling and distinctive features. Its name, meaning Zukunft (German for “future”), was a tribute to BMW’s vision of the future. The Z1 featured extravagant details, such as retractable doors in the sills, and innovative production techniques, such as composite body panels that could be changed in a matter of minutes.

The Z1 was powered by a 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Exactly 8,000 of these innovative roadsters were built, and the model became the basis for the Z series which was later expanded to include the Z3, Z4 and Z8.

The story behind the BMW Z1 with 999,997 km (999,997 km)

This BMW Z1 was delivered new to Jens Winther on 23 February 1990. Winther, a Danish 24 Hours of Le Mans driver, bought the car new and is believed to have driven it only twice. Winther added the car to his collection, which included a street-spec M1, which he had purchased after racing an M1 at the 1983 and 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Z1 was driven once and then preserved.

Since 2014, the second owner has owned the vehicle. The Z1 shows a figure of 999,997 kilometres on its odometer. However, this does not necessarily mean that the car has covered that number of kilometres. BMW adjusted the odometer figure to take into account the limited distance travelled during delivery to the dealers, to ensure that the odometer read 0 kilometres before the sale. The actual number of kilometres travelled by the car is therefore a mystery, although it is clear that it cannot be more than a few kilometres. A new vehicle preserved over time.

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