1998 BMW Z3 proves that off-road adventuring doesn’t have to restrict you to a boxy SUV
Woking-based seller Jiri took his Z3 on the 4000-mile European road trip, starting from the UK and joining other participants in the 2022 winter ‘Gumbalkan’ rally from the Czech Republic to the Balkans. The usually low-slung little BMW Z3 made it through a long list of countries that also included France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania and back again without fault.
The BMW Z3 encountered some rough terrain along the way, so Jiri kitted the 1.9-litre 16-valve Z3 with 15-inch steelies, off-roading tyres, a rear end lifted with spring spacers for higher ground clearance of around 40-50mm, and yellow front fog lights.
Jiri serviced it with an oil change, new oil and fuel filters, NGK spark plugs and a new air filter prior to his big trip. This legendary Z3 has made it across the breadth of Europe, but could be yours for just £1,850.
The Gumbalkan Rally is a road trip held three times a year from the Czech Republic and through the Balkan region of south-eastern Europe. The catch is that no off-road cars are allowed, and participants are encouraged to bring the most bizarre and unexpected cars to the rally, which is where Jiri’s rear-wheel-drive roadster came in.
Getting his 24-year-old Z3 there and back again was a feat in itself, but this brave little BMW proves you can have mountains of fun in a cheap used car surrounded by a community of wacky rally drivers.
Jiri says the BMW Z3 didn’t get stuck or let him down once, and it even won a prize for being the most inappropriate car on the trip. Maybe we should consider turning our BMW Z3 project car into an off-road monster with the size of the potholes on the UK’s roads these days!
Interested in buying this unique off-roader? Check out the lisiting for Jiri’s 1998 BMW Z3