Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
The BMW Z8 debuted in the James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough.” The Z8s were built for the American market and the styling carries the DNA of BMW’s famed 507. This Z8 features heated leather seats, cruise control, power windows, door locks and seats, multi-disc CD player and a built-in cell phone. This well-cared-for example is of limited production and has 69,809 actual miles. The hard top and electric soft top are in great condition, and the car comes with hard-top storage rack and custom car cover. CARFAX shows a damage report on 7/25/2009: “Accident reported, very minor damage with another motor vehicle, it hit a parked car, damage to right side.”

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2001 BMW Z8
Years Produced:2000–03
Number Produced:5,703
SCM Valuation:$179,000
Tune Up Cost:$350
Chassis Number Location: Left side base of windshield
Engine Number Location:Stamped on top of engine block, behind water pump
Club Info:BMW Car Club of America
Alternatives:2000–04 Ferrari 360 Modena Spider, 2002–08 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, 2004–06 Lamborghini Murcielago roadster
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 1043, sold for $95,700, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction on March 26, 2021.

The BMW Z8 is without a doubt the most consistently prized BMW to be produced in the last 20 years. Made from 2000 to 2003, the limited-production Z8 featured a hand-built aluminum chassis and bodywork. With a 4.9-liter S62 V8 engine (rated at 395 horsepower and 369 foot-pounds of torque) paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, the roadster was capable of a 0–60 mph time in the low four-second range. Although rarely seen on the cars, BMW delivered each Z8 with a removable aluminum hard top.

Even with a starting price of $128,000 in 2000, U.S. sales amounted to 2,382 units out of the 5,703 made. This does not include a later variant made by Alpina after BMW production terminated. A total of 555 Alpina Roadster V8 models were made in 2003, all with automatic transmissions, touring suspension, and a 375-hp, 4.8-liter V8. The Alpina was tailor-made for the American market, and 450 of them came to the U.S.

Instant collectible

As with many desirable limited-production sports cars, there never was a time when a Z8 wasn’t collectible or when values sagged. Its appeal went beyond the typical BMW fan base, so sale prices barely dipped on the used market before marching steadily upwards.

Buyers could expect to spend about $100,000 on a pre-owned Z8 while the car was still in production. A decade later, it was rare to find one under the $100k mark, and values have appreciated since. For the past five years or so, the market has been relatively stable, with better Z8s selling for between $180,000 and $250,000. The SCM Pocket Price Guide lists the median value at $179,000.

What happened here?

Obviously, our subject sale fell far short of the usual money for a Z8, pulling in about half of what might have been expected. The question is why?

We can only speculate, but a few things stand out. First, we must consider that sometimes the stars simply don’t align for a top price, even for a truly desirable and first-rate car.

This car was not a first-rate example. It had nearly 70,000 miles on the odometer, which is on the high side for a Z8. Brett Hatfield, SCM’s reporter at the auction, graded it a #3 condition, observing that it had a “handful of minor scrapes and nicks, most of them on the passenger’s side.” He also noted that the driver’s side seat bolster showed wear and that the door sills were scuffed.

More important, there was that CARFAX with an accident mentioned in the auction description. The collision damage was described as minor, but there was no mention of who repaired the car or what the repair process entailed. Outside of this accident, the rest of the CARFAX was relatively benign, showing three owners and regular servicing, mostly at BMW dealers.


With collectibles from the modern era, a clean CARFAX report is an important piece of provenance. While a damage report can diminish a car’s value, a clean CARFAX is not by itself a guarantee of anything. The company’s disclaimer states that the reports are based only on information supplied to the company, and that it does not have the complete history of every vehicle. As the company suggests, “Use the CARFAX search as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision…”

While the CARFAX may not show everything there is to know, it’s becoming an expectation that the seller will provide the report. The back half of that expectation is that the seller will then explain any unusual items in the report, and that’s where things get sticky.

The Scottsdale auction was a live and in-person affair, so potential buyers could inspect the car themselves prior to bidding. This may help explain why only 11 photos of the car were provided in the online catalog. None of these showed the full right side of the car — only the never-damaged left side.

However, remote bidders relying on an online presentation have grown accustomed to a wealth of detail photos. For instance, a 27k-mile Z8 recently sold for $250,000 on Bring a Trailer (SCM# 6940646). The listing included 88 photos, two videos — and a clean CARFAX.

As the accident with our subject car seems to have occurred under the consignor’s ownership, it would have helped his case for additional information about the repair to have been provided. We can’t say whether any potential remote bidders sat on their hands during the Barrett-Jackson sale because of its online presentation, but the auction result speaks for itself.

The take-away

As with any auction, there are a range of possible outcomes. In all likelihood, there was nothing terribly wrong with this car. It was probably repaired properly, in which case, the buyer got a fantastic deal on a nice driver-quality Z8 that will only appreciate from here.

It’s also possible that the repair was not good, the buyer noticed, and priced the expensive aluminum bodywork required to make it right into the bid. In this case it was simply a fair deal. It’s risky to spend nearly six figures on a car with potential issues, but either way this one seems well bought. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

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