ZGT BMW Z3 Based Handcrafted Car
Hey Everyone. I try my best to stay with the older cars from the 1960s-1980s. But every once in a while I see something that catches my eye. Yesterday that eye catcher was the ZGT BMW Z3 Based Handcrafted Car.
ZGT BMW Z3 Based Handcrafted Car
ZGT is an original design which extrapolates from the iconic BMW 507, a model that never evolved because of financial woes that forced BMW to turn away from sports cars to building more economical transportation.
If not for BMW’s misfortunes, the 507 might have followed the path that Ferrari took when evolving the 250GT into their legendary 250GTO, an icon of the golden age of the grand turismo sports racing car.
ZGT is a coach-built composite body for the 1996-2002 BMW E36/7 “Z3” platform. The Z3 was produced in large numbers, thus is readily available as an inexpensive donor platform. It shares parts with other BMW platforms, and enjoys good aftermarket support for replacement parts and for performance enhancements.
Designed for no-cut, no-weld installation, the major panels all bolt-on using factory BMW hardware from the donor car. Only a few trim panels are bonded-on.
Z3 donors are available with high-revving 4- and 6-cylinder BMW engines. They can be retrofitted with engines from other BMW platforms, as well as GM LS-series engines and other power plants.
Retail price of the ZGT panel package is US$9650, FOB Scottsdale, Arizona. Crating service is available, as well as domestic US, international, and overseas shipping. Installation service is also available on the customer’s donor car, or locally-sourced donor cars.
ZGT is a design by Reaction Research, Inc., in Scottsdale, Arizona, which has for 20 years produced wide-body racing panels for 1970-1978 Datsun S30 “Z Car” under the ZTrix label, including the Velo Rossa Spyder homage to the 250GTO.
A wide variety of considerations went into the selection of the Z3 as a donor platform. Beyond the performance potential and aftermarket tuning support referenced above, I wanted a car that was already a convertible with a good top and stiff chassis.
The Z3 design was never considered to be a classic, which erodes their resale value. Even minor body damage can cause them to be uneconomical to repair to original appearance. Thus, the book value of the cars makes them very affordable…and any damage to the “appearance panels” on the car is irrelevant to a re-body installation.
The dimensions of the ZGT also well suited my desire to capture the proportions of the early-60s grand touring sports racers. I needed a reasonably long wheelbase, with appropriate distance between the firewall and the wheels. I needed windshield rake, but not too much.
In designing the ZGT, we built outward from the factory panels, adding height and volume above the wheel wells and the trunk lid. We added 14” of length in the front and 4” in the rear. However, the factory bumpers, energy absorbers, crumple zones, and passive restraint sensors are all in-place and unmodified.
Great consideration was given to the sequence of steps a builder would have to accomplish. ZGT was designed not just to look great, but also to be built economically and with minimal labor. Even the impact of size and shape of the panels on crating and shipping cost was considered!