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Is the BMW Z8 a timeless car?

The BMW Z8 is one of just two BMW one-off specials, and prices have never really gone down. But you have to walk by some fancy metal to own one.

What does it take to be special? Apparently, even the Bugatti Tourbillion isn’t enough – 57% prefer a Ferrari. Now: The BMW Z8. It’s still very expensive. But is it very special? I find one for sale and see if it’s worth it.

The 2003 BMW Z8

It’s an E39 M5’s younger sister!

See the Z8 listing here

BMW doesn’t really do one-offs. It seems we expect them to. Porsche does supercars, and aren’t they the same as BMW?

Not really.

Forget all the CS, CSL, GTS and whatever other special letters get added to basic sedans. A truly unique thing from BMW amounts to a short list: the M1, and this, the BMW Z8.

Designed by Henrik Fisker before he’d became a superstar, the Z8 pays homage to BMW’s 507 roadster. It has an all-aluminum chassis and came with one of BMW’s best V-8s, the S62 from an E39 M5. The interior is totally bespoke, and the rear lights are actually neon tubes.

It was as fast as a Ferrari 360 Modena, and it cost a whopping $135,000. That was nearly 25 years ago. Today, that’s the least it’ll sell for – an Alpina example costs nearly half-a-million dollars.

Eagle-eyed fans will notice the same shifters, seats and knobs from lesser BMW, and it seems odd to make a sports car without an M badge (there’s actually only one badge on the entire car, inside), but I think it succeeded in being truly unique. BMW promised a 50-year stockpile of parts, so we’re only halfway there.

Initially, BMW said only about 500 would be sold in the US, but somehow 2,382 escaped the barn. That’s a lot for a “rare” car.

The available example…

The 2003 BMW Z8

The BMW Z8. Photo: Cars & Bids
  • Bid to $100,000 so far
  • 60,000 miles!
  • Clean CarFax
  • All Z8s came with a factory-designed body color hardtop, so make sure the one you want has it, like this one.
  • The 4.9-liter S62 V-8, rated at 394 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, lives under the hood.
  • Titanium Silver Metallic over Sport Red/Black. Perhaps the most classic combo.
  • Six-speed manual. If you wanted an automatic, you had to get the Alpina version.
  • Big red flag – 2006 date code on tires, and they have dry rot. So did this thing sit since 2006 with 60k miles?
  • I see a lot of underbody rust
  • Rock chips, wear on the seats – this isn’t the mint example you’ve been looking for.

Tough to find comparisons, but here’s one that sold for $126,000 in 2019 with 55k miles. Typically, you’re in the $170k and higher range.

What else is there from the same vintage?

The 2004 Ferrari 360 Modena

Ferrari 360 Modena
A 360 Photo: Cars & Bids

How about a Ferrari? Needs to be at least as special as the Z8 – does this 360 Modena fit the bill? It sold for $63,500 and had 40,000 miles on it. Missing is the manual, and perhaps red color, but you get to own a mid-engine V-8 Ferrari.

You want to go topless? Okay, how about this one for $90k? 14,000 miles, red/tan, and the six-speed manual.

No? How about…

2001 Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche 911 Turbo
An angry-looking 911 Turbo. Photo: Cars & Bids

Well, it’s a 911 Turbo, so you’ll never get tired of saying “That’s my yellow Turbo over there”. This one sold for $68,000 with 68,000 miles, it is in fact a manual, and well, it’s been modified. Still, speed and power are in abundance. Vert option also.

Still not disco enough for you? One more…

2006 Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster

Photo: Cars & Bids
V-12! Photo: Cars & Bids

It’s orange. It’s topless. And it’s only got 20,000 miles on it. Oh, and it’s automatic, but whatever, you’re in a big V-12 Lambo! Though this one is “just” $159,000, they can go for half-a-million, just like the Z8.

I’m just saying, before you drop $450,000 for a Z8, know that even better-driving things exist.

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