Žnoprešk-Marlin Automobili

Žnoprešk-Marlin Automobili

Owners of Žnoprešk Autotecnica, Blue Marlin Motori Auto, Iurlaro Atelier, Vecoma and co-owners of Eurani Motors and Æxelia.

Discover more about: ŽM - Žnoprešk Autotecnica

The consolidation era (1946-1965)

The main goal of the post war era, was to consolidate the Avtotehnika department into a proper company, with the creation of a proper lineup in the italian and european market.

Žnoprešk Z5046 (AD7B)

Heritage of the pre-WWII era Žnoprešk legacy, the Z5046 aimed to the most rich customer in the americas.

Žnoprešk Z859 (AD7B)

From 1959 to 1969 one of the italian best seller in the domestic market, with a restyle in 1965.

Žnoprešk Z965/865 (AD7B/2)

The restyled AD7B platform. The luxurious and more powerful Z965 and the simpler and humble Z865.

Žnoprešk Z1462/1162 (AA13B)

The update of the FF formula started with the AA11A platform. Available also in estate and coupe body variant.

MMM Dolphine (D01)

The first compact sedan from Motori Marini Marlin, developed to fill the gap between the mini Goldfish and the big Narwhal.

MMM Narwhal (N02)

The second generation Narwhal is the last generation that will share the Blue Marlin coupe plaform.

The expansion era (1966-1978)

After the consolidation of the brands, the main objective was for Žnoprešk to expand in the european market and for MMM to thrive in the USA.

BMMA Flyingfish (F03)

After the oil crisis, the third generation of the Flyingfish tried to give a reasonable low cost sports car for enthusiasts.

The modernization era (1979-1989)

After the merging between BMMA and Žnoprešk, it was necesary to choose a specific path for each brand and harmonize the technology throughout the group. The more expensive and complicated boxer engines had to be dropped in favour of more versitile and usable inline engines. Front transverse engine placement become necessary for Žnoprešk while BMMA optimized the FR formula.

BMMA Narwhal (N04)

The new era Narhwal is back to its italian roots, smaller in size and more sportier than ever.

Žnoprešk Zest/Zenit (CM10/CM11)

The innovative technology developed for the Zap, applied on the medium segment car. Both hatchback and sedan.

Žnoprešk Zoom (BR13)

A fiberglass body concept car based on the Zap, that became a memorable entry level coupe for petrolhads.

The world cars era (1990-2007)

After the complete renowal of the lineup, the times were mature for designing “world cars” thought for the world market, and invest heavily on the expansion and consolidation of the group on the international market.

Žnoprešk Zeta (XC2)

One of the most beloved and popular affordable sports car of the 90’s

Žnoprešk Zenit (CM20)

The internationally lauded second generation of the D segment car of the Žnoprešk lineup.

Žnoprešk Z859


The project AD7B started in 1956 to update the aging postwar Z749. The car was designed to carry to the smallest size all the technological updates developed and tested in the Z1156, mainly the MacPherson struts and the monocoque chassis.
The project also spawned the first official joint venture between MMM (Motori Marini Marlin - Trieste) and Žnoprešk Avtotehnika, because the MMM was intrested in developing a small and cheap sports car but didn’t have the experience nor the money to start from scratch.
The final 3 box design was officially confirmed in the middle of 1958, when it was decided to extend the Z749’s life, placing it below the upcoming Z859. The 3 box will be perceived as more elegant, while the 2 box Z749 will be seen as more spartan.
The car was officially unveiled in the december of the 1959 and the sales started in 1960.


The new boxer 4 was developed according to the needs of MMM and Žnoprešk Avtotehnika. The base B4-812Q block was designed in order to be used with the Žnoprešk SOHC 2v cast iron head and the MMM DOHC 2v aluminium head. Because of the joint-venture, the displacement ranged from an unexpected high minimum of 862cc to a maximum of 1250cc. Because of this minimum, the old boxer 4 used in the Z749 was re-stroked to 799cc in order to equip the base version of the Z859.
The luxury trim, the Z859L featured the new engine SOHC, chromed details on the bodywork, better refined interiors, and ‒ for the first time in such a small Žnoprešk ‒ a AM/FM radio.

Z859L (MY1960)

Z859 (MY1960)


Žnoprešk Z965/865


The AD7B platform has still useful lifespan in the middle of the 60’s. The thirst for small 3 box car with engine displacement around 3/4 of liter was in full swing, fueled by the italian economic boom; also the modern technology implemented, monocoque chassis and McPherson struts, were still cutting edge technology. The formula was good enough that the directors approved a restyle of the model. The final objective was to have a competitive car until the end of the decade.
The door opening was reversed and the descending windows became a standard feature for the whole range and the revised rear lights were a very appreciated update. Also the engine was unified, and the old Z749 engine was now available only with the smaller Z661.
The revised car was officially unveiled in the march of the 1965 and the sales started in september of the same year.


The base Z865 was a more mature car. Most of the cheapest solution found for cut the costs were dropped in order to save on the unification of the models. For example the rims used for both the trims are the same, but the Z865 come with wihout the color finishing and the metal hub cap.
A de-tuned 862cc engine with 30hp was fitted in the cheaper trim, while on the Z965 the re-stroked 900cc engine gave 5hp more the original 32.
The additional bicolor of the Z965 was a must for more than 30% of the customers.

Z965 (MY1965)

Z865 (MY1965)


Žnoprešk Zeta


The first spark of a mid engined sport car on a budget, the XC1, was layed down in 1981 by Matteo Miglia, but ended shortly after cause the lack of funding and the resign from ZM group of the italian engineer.
But after the great success of the Legatus powered by a V6 made by a double inline 3 from the Znopresk Zap and almost 5 years of fighting with the BMMA parent company concerned about the possible sales reduction of the RR Flyingfish coupe, the project XC2 was officially backed and funded.
Anyway, the budget wasn’t enought to create a completely new car. Everything had to be taken from the part pool of ZM group. Only for the body style it was given total liberty. The result was a low and attractive coupe with a two tone scheme: a glossy black for the upper part of the car and the metallic paint for the lower part.
The car was shown at the end of 1990 at the Geneve Car Show and received a very warm welcome. The sale started in the march of the 1991.


The whole engine and transmission group of the Zeta was directly taken from the Zenit. The 1.7 liter 3 valve inline 4 block (L4.3-2014L) received a sporty tune and a viscous limited slip differential. Most of the cockpit components were also directly taken from the Zenit CM20 released the year before.
Initally there was a single trim and a very short list of optionals, geared LSD, ABS, driver airbag and the power steering; but in 1995, with the first revamp of the car, the amount of trims increased, giving options of more powerful engine, AWD, more luxurious interiors and even a forced induction version.

Zeta (MY1991)


Finally, a more detailed look at one of the most successful entries in the Eurocoupe TCC - and this one was well worth the wait. No wonder it sold so well!

CSR 69 if I’m not mistaken :blush:

Žnoprešk Zest/Zenit


The CM10/11 was the logical followup of the development of the succsesful BR10 Zap for the modernization of the whole company lineup. The technologies developed for the Žnoprešk small hatchback, most importantly the front transverse inline engine, were upscaled and used to modernize the conceptually old Z200.
The project started in 1978, once most of the solution for the Zap were freezed for the production, in order to save time and money, rationalizing and reducing the costs while possible (the merging with BMMA started in the same year).
The car unveiled in 1982 in the Geneve, and it was in sale shortly after, in februrary 1983. The car quickly replaced the Z200 in the sales charts and had a restyle in 1987 before has been discontinued in 1991, where it was replaced by the CM20 Zenit and by the anikatian built CM15, sold, almost worldwide, as Zenit Simple.


The main difference bewtween the CM10/11 and the Zap lays in the rear suspesion setup. When the Zap had a revolutionary (at least for Žnoprešk) torsion beam, the Zenit/Zest couple had a indipendent semi trailing arms architechture. Aside from that, the CM10/11 technical solutions are mostly Zap upscaled ones.
On the engine department, the multivalve full aluminium construction of the Zap inline 3 (L3.3-12.8L) was adapted for a brand new inline 4 with the same construction philosophy. The undersqare engine was able to go from 1369cc to 1989cc filling the most important displacement range, from B to even E segment without huge problems. As for the Zap, also the inline 4 engine had reliability issue linked to the use aluminuim for head and block. On the bright side, since from 1983 it was available the IMPEL (Iniezione Multipunto Elettronica - MPFI) as standard on the most prestigeous trim (like the TS or LX) and as optional on the whole range of motors displacement.

Zenit 1.4 N (MY1983)

Zest 1.5 LN (MY1983)

Zenit 1.7 TS (MY1983)


There is some Audi 100 feel about it. Looks great and realistic, with nice detailing.

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Žnoprešk Zoom


The positive cashflow of the Zap, Zest and Zenit sales, along with the relative tight cost of development sustained thanks to the new ZM management, create a stability that allowed Žnoprešk to investing a bit more on the motorsport.
The main project was a economical formula for young drivers, with the purpose to find some good elements to put into the official racing team of ZM; this formula was the Zap Trophy.
For the formula was requested to the Žnoprešk Reparto Performance (ZRP) to create a light and economical Zap. Since the budget wasn’t a big concern, some engineers bet on which team inside the ZRP would be able to make the lightest Zap. As a joke, one of the team presented a rough fiberglass coupe body mounted on a Zap platform with a rollcage. Since the weight was a mere 450kg, the car was a joy to drive around the track, and it took the attention of the ZRP manager.
Since ZRP was still concerned about the missed opportunity of the MR car based on the Zap as proposed by Matteo Miglia, and now the money weren’t a big concern, the board of directors give the greenlight for a small Zap coupe, the Zoom.
To contain the weight and increase the fun at the maximum, the bodyworks was initially proposed to be in aluminium, manufactured in Iurlaro or BMMA, but because Iurlaro was under overworking and BMMA plant weren’t available for the production, the body became in fiberglass and outsourced to Caliban in Cardiff (UK) for the export and LHD and Merciel in Montreuil Seine-Saint Dennis (France) for the continental sales.
The car was presented in 1985, in Bologna Car Show and sold in 1986.


The fiberglass body is the most intersting feature of the car. It allows the car to stop the weight to a tiny 652kg in the RY version, where the more versatile and comfortable 2+2 seating TS trim goes up to 703kg.
Under the fiberglass body, the car is a Zap in almost every part. The steeringwheel, the instruments, the car commands are the same of the Zap, but the seats and the dashboard are unique to the Zoom.
The platform was stratched a bit, as test bench for future solution of scalable platforms, but the suspensions and the engine were pure Zap: McPherson on the front, tosrion beam on the rear and inline 3 engine with 3 valves per cylinder as engine.
ZRP tuned the engine similarly to the Trophy tune, achieving 91hp for the N/A version and 122 for the turbo.
The ZRP Turbo was a limited trim, avaible only in 1000 pieces.

Zoom 1.2 RY (MY1986)

Zoom 1.2 TS (MY1986)

Zoom 1.2 ZRP Turbo (MY1986)


BMMA Narwhal


The Blue Marlin America provided a steady profit during the 60’s, but after most of the 70’s with the balance dangerously close to red, the profitability of the experiment ceased and after the merging with Žnoprešk, the BMA was definetively closed. The car lineup need to be resized and one of the fist car that was put on diet was the 4th generation of the BMMA Narwhal.
The project started in 1975 and had a severe redesign after the merging, (the oil crisis left its scar on the gas guzzling land yacht panorama of the U.S.A.) in order to increase the expected profitability and allowing a possible future E segment Žnoprešk to be based on Narwhal design. The design was freezed in 1979 and unveiled in 1981. The press welcomed the car warmly, but with some conern on the turn taken by BMMA. Some even argued if the BMMA freedom was in danger under the ŽM regime.

Narwhal N04 1981 and 1985 restyle comparison


Even if the traditional FR layout, aluminium body and inline six engines were still part of the formula, Žnoprešk helped the engineering “under the hood” in order to rationalize part of the production processes and components, allowing a lower price thanks to a more efficient production system.
One of the biggest improvement on the car formula was on the engine. The small inline six of the “Jalla” family was the first in the BMMA production history to be updated with a DOHC 4v head, and since 1985 it was availabe also the bigger “Coslovich” inline 6 family.

Narwhal 2.0 Gorizia (MY1981)

Narwhal 2.3 Miramare (MY1985)

Narwhal 2.7 GT (MY1985)