You might say that BMW are always looking to the ‘future’.
Following the end of production of the 507, the two-seater sports range had been missing from BMW’s showrooms for the best part of three decades. But in the late 80’s, under the BMW Technik umbrella, the Z Series was born. With the Z standing for Zukunft, German for ‘future’, the Z Series kick started a new era of BMW sports car production.
The first BMW Z Series car rolled off production lines in early 1989. Thirty years later, BMW enthusiasts are still enjoying the fourth generation Z Series car. Even ‘007’ has got in on the action as one of the first people to get behind the wheel of the BMW Z3!
Let us introduce you to Zroadster.org – the most social Z community on the web!
This thriving forum community is for all people who are passionate about the BMW Z Series. Whether you own an early Z1, or a brand new Z4, this is the go-to place for maintenance tips, events to take your Z Series to, and a community to share stories with.
We caught up with forum owner, Gary Hyde, to find out more…
Tell us a bit about the community?
ZRoadster.org formed back in late 2011 when another group folded, and we setup to give all the
refugees somewhere to exist – kind of like a phoenix from the ashes!
Originally, it was going to be a temporary measure, but it grew legs and here we are 8 years on! I don’t keep a count of how many members we have – but we get around 300 people visiting the forum every day from all around the world.
Is there a joining fee?
We are completely free to join and participate in, although the occasional voluntary donation helps pay the server costs. Zroadster.org is mainly based around the website forum, and some social media.
Tell us a bit about the team who run the forum?
There isn’t a formal structure. I run the day to day technical side of things, and we have plenty of keen members (like our lovely Stacey!) who have stepped up to help with coordination of events, merchandise and so on.
For those that might not know, tell us a bit about the vehicles that are covered by the forum?
Our passion is for the BMW Z Series in all its forms. So that includes the Z1, Z3, Z4 & Z8 – what we call Zeds. They are 2-seater roadsters and coupes dating from the Z1 which launched in the late 80s, through to the BMW Z4 (G29) which is still in production. It’s quite a diverse range of cars in all.
How about you Gary, how long have you been involved?
It all started for me years ago, longer than I can recall, when a friend let me drive his Z3 Roadster. I was hooked and mentally added it to my car bucket list! It wasn’t till much later on that I got chance to buy my first Z3. Since then I’ve had a couple of Z3’s and Z4’s of varying specification.
I’m currently running around in a diesel Audi, much to the amusement of the community, but will hopefully be back in the latest Z4 M40i in a year or so when I’m not driving 25,000 miles a year.
Money no object?
Not my dream car, but Z3M Coupes are getting rare now and the prices are rocketing upwards so this would be on my list.
Do members receive benefits for being part of the club?
Members receive a 15% discount on their BMW and classic car insurance with ClassicLine Insurance.
Tell us about your club meets…
I’ve always said that it only takes two cars to have a meetup, and there is almost as much excitement in that as the bigger events!
That said we have an incredibly active event calendar. Summer months can be pretty heavy with something happening almost every weekend. A little quieter during the winter maybe, but there is usually at least one meet a month somewhere!
Tell us about a recent event?
We’ve just had our annual South Downs Run which had 36 Zeds attend. Starting with a breakfast meet at BMWs UK headquarters in Farnborough and finishing with a photo opportunity on the starting grid at the famous Goodwood race circuit – fantastically organised and executed by one of our members.
Other events include the annual Scottish Cruise as well as various Euro cruises.
Do you attend other shows as a club?
Yes, we put on a great display at shows like Silverstone Classic, Vanity BMW at Beaulieu or at Santa Pod. We also have groups attending the Z Cars racing series around the UK. There are almost too many events to list!
Has the club won any awards?
Yes, we won Best Stand at Vanity BMW this year!
Any moments that stand out for you over the years?
As well as being a community of enthusiasts, there is a strong technical side, something we affectionately refer to “ZedShed”.
ZedShed started off as a group of owners meeting up on one person’s drive to teach each other some basic maintenance. There was a guy there who we now refer to as “Dr Lee” (not a real doctor!), who’s knowledge on these cars is unsurpassable. As a result, I’ve spent almost every Saturday for the last five years in his garage tinkering with and rebuilding Zeds owned by other members. They pay for the parts, and we supply the manpower!
We’ve seen around 50 Zeds now, ranging from complete sub-frame rebuilds, to engine swaps, to simple stuff like brake pads. You name it, we’ve likely done it for someone in the community.
Off the back of this, other members around the country have opened their garages and offer their abilities free of charge to help others – I think we have at least 5 outside ZedShed HQ.
What makes you proud to be part of Zroadster.org?
It would be hard to pin down the best thing to have come from ZRoadster.org. If pushed, I would probably go with it pulling people together in a common cause.
There have been some true friendships forged, although it goes against the usual recommendation of not meeting strangers off the internet!
What are Zroadster.org looking forward to in 2020?
More of the same! It all works really well with everyone chipping in, so if it ain’t broke… don’t fix it.
So, these are the people behind one of our favourite car communities. Working hard behind the scenes and trying to create a club that’s is like one big family and offer a space to share their enthusiasm for the BMW Z Series. Zroadster.org, thank you for being our club of the month.
ClassicLine Insurance offer a range of car club insurance schemes that can provide revenue for your club as well as benefits and discounts for your members. To find out more about this and our specialist club liability insurance, visit our car clubs page.