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


The other Godzilla

The first Hollywood-made Godzilla movie – but the 23rd in the franchise – is released.

It stars Jean Reno, Matthew Broderick, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria and Kevin Dunn. But we didn’t see a single GT-R...

Mighty Mick

Aussie rider Mick Doohan clinches his fifth successive World 500cc Championship.

He also rides his Repsol Honda to a third Australian GP win.

Early the following season he crashes and never races again.

Leaping Frogs

France goes Le Bonkers when its national football team wins the 1998 FIFA World Cup on home soil, beating Brazil 3-zip at the Stade de France.