No matter what country you come from or which car maker/s you support, there’s no getting around the inherently global nature of today’s automotive industry.
These days we live in a world where an Acura NSX is built in Ohio, a Ford Focus is engineered in Germany, and a Fiat Roadster will be built by Mazda in Japan.
That global reach also crosses over into the world of modern tuning and modification. It seems like in the last few years we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of high-profile builds and project cars that feature parts and styles from different parts of the world.
In fact, some of the world’s most well known builders have taken this idea and completely run with it. Thus, we get the spectacle that is a Liberty Walk Ferrari or an RWB Porsche – cars built in one country and then reimagined in another.
And here we have another car that blends elements and inspiration from a few different countries into one unforgettable project. Say hello to Bulletproof Automotive’s BMW Z4 GT Continuum; a car which received a ton of attention at last fall’s SEMA Show.
I’m guessing by now all of you are familiar with Bulletproof Automotive; a brand which has long been known for distributing high-end Japanese tuning parts to America and other countries, as well as putting out some very special builds of its own.
And to celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary, the Bulletproof team wanted to create a car that would not only stand out from the crowd, but also symbolize everything that the brand has been about during its decade and a half of existence.
To start out, they’d need to pick an interesting base car; one that was a capable platform, but also something that’s not often seen. And thus the choice of an E89 BMW Z4 with an N54 twin-turbo engine and a 6-speed manual gearbox.Retro Modern
Despite being a very stylish and well performing machine out of the box, there aren’t a whole lot of people out there fixing up Z4s. But Bulletproof saw the German two-seater as the perfect base to do something interesting with.
And more importantly, it’d be an ideal platform to execute a vision that includes European performance roots, a selection of high-end Japanese styling parts, and plenty of homegrown American ingenuity.
And it’s that ingenuity that truly sets the car apart. The first thing you notice is Bulletproof’s custom speedster conversion, which includes a full delete of the factory retractable roof and a low-profile windscreen to replace to the original windshield and A-pillars.
Behind the cabin, a double-hooped panel covers the original roof compartment and gives the BMW a dramatically different look than any other Z4 out there; one that brings to mind the classic speedsters of the ’50s and ’60s.
The custom speedster conversion is actually so dramatic that you almost overlook some of the other exterior modifications; like the full wide-body conversion from Varis, the Japanese brand Bulletproof has long worked with.
And towering over the rear of the car is a massive 1,800mm GT wing which also comes from the Varis catalog. Up front, a pair of custom side mirrors only add to the exotic look.
Filling up the widened fenders are a set of RAYS Volk Racing G25s measuring 20×10-inch up front and 20×12-inch in the rear. The tires are Toyo R888s – 285/35R20 and 315/30R20 front and rear respectively.
And sitting behind the concave spokes of the G25s you can also see that the Z4 has been fitted with a complete brake conversion from an F82 BMW M4. The adjustable coilover suspension meanwhile is from Japan’s well-respected Aragosta brand.Built for the Senses
As you might imagine, the Continuum wasn’t designed as an all-out performance car, but that didn’t stop Bulletproof from treating the twin-turbo N54 to some basic upgrades. The motor has been fitted with a Stage II setup from ESS Tuning along with a custom ETS intercooler kit. And don’t forget the trick side-exit exhaust, which was a custom project created by the Bulletproof team.
Inside the cockpit of the Z4 you’ll find things have been completely redone with red and black leather upholstery along with Alcantara inserts. The seats themselves are power units from a BMW M4.
Other cool interior details include a set of a Macht Schnell pedals, as well as a vintage Porsche shift knob to complete the retro sports car look.
Not only has the Bulletproof Continuum Z4 project gone far beyond the scope of a traditional tuner car, it’s managed to take classic sports car inspiration and blend it with modern technique in a very seamless package.
As I’m told, the Continuum Z is not meant to be a race car, nor is it intended to be a daily driver. Instead, it’s meant to be an intense and memorable experience, and that certainly seems to be the case whether you are behind the wheel or just looking at it.
It’s ambitious and unique, and blends elements from across the world. Hats off to Bulletproof for thinking outside the box and creating something a lot more interesting than your typical shop demo car.
Photos by Larry Chen