BMW Owner May Have Accidentally Received a Formula 1 Racing Clutch in the Mail
The Amazon purchase delivered an ultra-rare F1 component that needless to say, won’t fit the buyer’s M3.
A BMW owner was apparently the victim of a mishap caused by either transmission manufacturer ZF or online retail giant Amazon. He reportedly ordered a new clutch for his BMW M3 via Amazon, only to have allegedly received a carbon and titanium clutch designed for a Formula 1 car instead.
Formula 1 hardware and software are typically surrounded by secrecy due to the constant threat of industrial espionage, which makes this hiccup possibly committed by a parts clerk even more surprising. The situation came to light in a thread at M3Forum.net, when the user "breadvan" uploaded photos of the clutch he says he received from Amazon in place of the one he actually ordered.
The first post of the thread reads: "Yesterday, I purchased a replacement OEM Sachs clutch kit off of Amazon. I received it today and this is what I got. It looks nothing like the stock photo on Amazon so I'm thinking I received the wrong part? I put a Sharpie in front of it for comparison. Does anyone have a picture of what the OEM clutch is supposed to look like?"
Responses have poured in since the initial post, which have helped figure out exactly what "breadvan" received. By the looks of it, the component that the poster claims Amazon delivered is a ZF Racing Formula 1 Carbon Clutch, which doesn't have an actual part number, primarily because these aren't readily available to the public.
The clutch measures 3.8 inches in diameter and weighs 1.8 pounds, which is considerably smaller and lighter than the finest BMW M3 clutch money can buy. "Breadvan" putting the Sharpie next to the clutch for comparison shows readers just how small the thing is.
After reading all 10 pages of the thread, it appears that the seemingly lucky recipient of an intricate Formula 1 component still isn't sure what he's going to do with it. Other forum members have chimed in, stating that he should keep it as a cool souvenir, sell it for a profit, or some say that he should simply do the right thing and send it back in exchange for the right part. Others have even claimed that he's not legally bound to return an erroneous part that was sent to him by Amazon.
Of course, you might be wondering, what in the world is Amazon doing with a Formula 1 clutch at one of its fulfillment centers? Well, two possible answers could be simply that ZF sent Amazon the F1 clutch by error when attempting to stock the online retailer with M3 clutches, or ZF handled the fulfillment directly and simply put the wrong part in the box.
UPDATE: A ZF spokesperson has informed us that the clutch in question is an actual component from a Formula 1 car, but that it is "about a decade old, or maybe older." He also confirmed that ZF "did not sell or ship" this part.
h/t: Motor Authority!