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1998 BMW Z3 Roadster Individual

1998 BMW Z3 Roadster Individual

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Details

Price: $13,800

Mileage: 68,500 Miles

Engine: 6-Cylinder M52TUB28 Engine

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Velvet Blue Metallic Exterior (490)

Interior: Black Oregon Leather Interior (Q2SW)

Additional features:

Special Order Individual Car w/ Matching Hardtop

Hardtop

Black Power Soft Top

Soft Top Cover

Heated Seats

BMW C33 Business Radio

Harmon Kardon HiFi Sound

Cruise Control

Fog Lights

Heated Washer Nozzles

On-Board Computer

Limited Slip Differential

Factory Alarm

Keyless Entry

100% Stock

17-Inch Staggered Style 18 Wheels

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Tires

Car Cover

Owners Manuals

Background

1998 BMW Z3 Roadster Individual exterior photo

The BMW Z3 roadster made its public debut in 1995 in the Bond film GoldenEye with the young and dashing Pierce Brosnan behind the wheel. The scene with 007 and Natalya (Izabella Scorupco), her hair blowing in the wind, was the picture of top-down motoring—except for the dirt road, the Cessna 172, and the villain’s evil layer in Cuba. Nonetheless, if you were 18 years old (as I was) and you saw that movie, you wanted a Z3—and Natalya!

Time has only been kind to the Z3, aging it into one of the best retro-modern ‘90s-era roadsters. It has the fluid and graceful lines of a proper British sports car, with the raw power and driving dynamics that can only be found in a BMW. Writing this as an M Coupe owner, and after editing no less than 100 photographs for this ad, the Z3 is a truly beautiful car. Its proportions are perfect. Pre-facelift Z3s had round rear fenders that were retained by the M Roadster for all model years. The Z3’s driving dynamics resulted from BMW’s focus on giving you exactly what you needed, and nothing more. For the 1998 model year, the Z3 2.8 was second only to the M Roadster as the top-tier Z3. The buttery-smooth and reliable M52TU inline 6-cylinder engine was only 50 horsepower shy of its Z3M sibling, and more than enough power for street driving, thanks to a sub-3000 pound curb weight. Spec’d with a tight steering rack, short shifter, and limited-slip differential the Z3 is capable of smile-evoking athleticism in the right hands. Luxury items consisted of heated seats, a power top, onboard computer, and a Harmon Kardon HiFi Stereo. The cockpit is unapologetically driver-focused and old-school analog gauges ensure a proper roadster experience. And, best of all, the Z3 was produced right here in the good ‘ole USA in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 1998 Z3 2.8 was an individual order in the ultra-rare Velvet Blue Metallic and came that way with a matching hardtop. A BMW individual plaque in the engine compartment certifies this, along with the VIN-decode. It was originally delivered by BMW of Minnetonka in May of 1999 (the delay was likely due to the individual order), and driven sparingly in the summer months. The exterior and interior condition is nearly flawless, with only minor wear commensurate of a much younger and lower-mileage vehicle. There is no rust, nor indications of winter exposure. In preparation for sale we treated it to the Lifetime Maintenance Schedule (old school maintenance) with preventative replacement of the water pump, thermostat, and thermostat housing. We also replaced the driver’s seat bushings, rear shock mounts, front control arm bushings, and a weeping power steering line. The Carfax shows a minor accident involving the left front in September of 2003, when it was 5 years old with only 36,000 miles. Whatever the damage was, it was minimal and repaired properly. All VIN tags are in place except for the left front quarter panel, which was repainted along with the hood. The matching hardtop is a huge plus that not only looks amazing, but also adds rigidity. The soft top is in very good shape, with no failed stitching, holes, or cracks in the rear window glass. The previous owner kept the rear window in good shape using the “pool noodle trick.” All owners’ manuals are included, along with one key and keyless / alarm FOB.

Exterior

1998 BMW Z3 Roadster Individual exterior photo

Velvet Blue Metallic is a striking and dynamic color that changes in different lighting conditions. In the shade it is a deep blue, but takes on purple hues in direct sunlight. The color, along with its condition, is the most defining element of this Z3. The paint is in excellent condition, showing no glaring defects. There are no significant dents, dings, pitting, or rock chips. The hood and left front quarter panel were repainted early in its life, but they match perfectly and have withstood the test of time. There is no failed clear coat, zero rust, and all VIN tags are in place with the exception of the left front quarter panel. The hard top finish is in excellent shape. The convertible top has no rips or tears, and the rear window panel has no cracks along the seam where it folds. The windshield is crack-free; its only defects are two small pits outside of the driver’s line of sight. The rear window is moderately opaque, but still clear enough to see out of. It looks worse in the photographs than in person. The Roundel emblems have no cracks or faded paint. The headlight lenses are clear and crack-free. The fog light lenses are crack-free, but one does appear to have been replaced. All indicator, brake light, and marker lenses are also crack-free. The Style 18 Sport wheels are true and straight, the only finish imperfections they have are a spot of clear coat failure on the left rear wheel and minor curb rash on the right rear wheel. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 tires with plenty of tread remaining.

Interior

 interior photo

The interior is in excellent condition. It is well appointed, but unapologetically driver focused. The Z3 actually got more amenities than the M Roadster, with an on-board computer and black rings around the gauges in lieu of chrome. To my eye, the black rings look more modern. Open the door and you are greeted with that lovely Nappa Leather smell that only Z3s have. I’m not sure why it’s different than other models of this vintage, but it is. The carpets have no stains or tears and are protected by textured carpet factory floor mats. The seat leather is in excellent condition with no tears, stains, or failed seams. There is one minor area of discoloration on the driver’s seat bolster. We replaced the driver’s seat bushings; the passenger seat has very minor bushing flex. The seat motors work, as do the seat heaters. The leather steering wheel has no excessive wear. The instrument cluster has no blown out pixels and all gauges work correctly. The Harmon Kardon HiFi stereo sounds great. The center console wood trim has no cracks, nor does the lower switch panel. The glove box does not sag. The rearview mirror is not auto-dimming, so you don’t have to worry about fluid leaking and damaging the center console. All interior functions work correctly; power windows, power door locks, cruise control; the heat blows warm and the air conditioning blows cold. The convertible top headliner has no tears and does not sag, and the power function works on command. The trunk lid is equipped with the optional storage pouches, the tool kit is complete and the owners’ manuals are present.

Mechanical

 engine photo

This is a turn-key Z3. All major and preventative maintenance is up to date. It has clearly been properly owned and benefitted from regular oil changes. We brought all routine and preventative maintenance up to date in accordance with the Lifetime Maintenance Schedule (old school maintenance) with the items listed in the summary paragraph. The M52 engine is one of BMW’s most reliable power plants. The engine idles smoothly, pulls strong, and has no Vanos rattle or lifter knock. It does not leak, drip, or spot. The clutch and shifter are crisp and precise, but there is occasional 5th gear lean. It only happens when the gearbox is cold and does not affect driveability. This is due to worn shift pins (a common issue), and will get worse with time. I have opted not to address this in order to keep the sale price lower, but am willing to do so if a buyer wants to pay extra for me to do it. The brakes are firm, the suspension is compliant, and there is no driveline or wheel bearing vibration or whine. The suspension bushings are solid. The rear trunk floor has no failed spot welds and the rear differential ear has no tears. Like any Z3, it will need and deserves the preventative care and maintenance that all BMWs of this vintage do, but at present it is properly sorted and ready for its new home.

This is an extremely clean and unique Z3. Its condition, individual color, and hardtop make it stand out against the population of more pedestrian Z3s. It is not cheap, having a price tag well into M Roadster territory, but it is worth every penny of the premium. As a long time Z3 M Coupe owner / enthusiast and former M Roadster owner, I would absolutely have this Z3 over a similarly priced S52 M Roadster. It checks all of the boxes and looks absolutely fantastic. The Z3 was one of BMW’s last of the old-school recipe cars, that is, a normally aspirated engine routed through a manual gearbox powering only the rear wheels. The Z4 successor that followed had none of the grace and fluid classic roadster lines thanks to Chris Bangle’s flame surface design language. If history is a guide, the Z3 will continue to appreciate and age with grace. I would like to find an owner who will continue to care for this one and appreciate it as much as I do.

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • VIN: 4USCJ3334WLC15922
  • Type: CJ33
  • Model: Z3 – USA
Development Code: E36 (7)
  • Chassis: Roadster
  • Steering: LL
  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: M52
  • Displacement: 2.80
  • Power: 190 Horsepower
  • Drivetrain: RWD
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Color: Special Finishes 490 (BMW Individual, Velvet Blue Metallic 379)
  • Upholstery: Black Oregon Leather (Q2SW)
  • Production Plant: Spartanburg, SC
  • Production Date: 8/4/1998

Standard Equipment

  • 209 Limited Slip Differential (25%)
  • 214 Automatic Stability Control +Traction (ASC)
  • 240 Leather Steering Wheel
  • 243 Airbag for Front Passenger
  • 354 Green Strip Windscreen
  • 380 Hardtop Preparation
  • 410 Power Windows
  • 440 Non-Smoker Package
  • 520 Foglights
  • 540 Cruise Control
  • 687 Radio Preparation
  • 850 Add Fuel for Export
  • 853 English Language Version

Optional Equipment

  • 299 Lt/Aly Wheels (Style 18)
  • 314 Heated Windscreen Washer Nozzles
  • 388 Softtop Black
  • 395 Roll-Bar Protection System
  • 398 Power Soft Top
  • 435 Wood Trim
  • 494 Heated Seats
  • 530 Air Conditioning
  • 550 On-Board Computer
  • 674 Harmon Kardon HiFi Loudspeaker System
  • 692 CD Changer I-Bus Preparation
  • 940 Special Request Equipment

Individual

  • Individual Control
  • Individual Plaque
  • Special Finish, Velvet Blue Metallic
  • Special Option, Hardtop