{vsig}2010-9_2526{/vsig}The Z8 was a break from tradition that BMW had not attempted in many years, perhaps even since the M1. It was more than a heavily modified production car; it was an entirely new roadster, based on the Henrik Fisker-designed Z07 concept and paying homage to the Count Albrecht Goertz-designed 507 of the 1950s with side vents and such retro touches as a banjo-type steering wheel. Just like the 507, the Z8 was an exclusive and limited-production sports car, of which only 5,703 examples were built, each sporting the highly acclaimed 4.9-liter, 400-bhp V8 from the previously introduced M5 sports sedan, mated to a proper six-speed manual gearbox. It was even the choice of the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond, in The World Is Not Enough.

The collector car potential for these Z8s has been guaranteed from day one. In fact, BMW assured its new owners that a stockpile of parts would be available for 50 years to repair and maintain the Z8s. These two virtually brand-new, low mileage cars are among the best examples of these modern-day classics.

The 2002 Z8 was purchased new by the seller in 2002, finished in Titanium Silver Metallic with a black Nappa leather interior. Since that time, it has only been driven 112 miles and was always well maintained. Its specifications are extraordinary, to say the least—an aluminum space frame, electronic throttle valve control and eight individual throttles as well as M Driving Dynamics Control. The interior cradles the driver in electrically adjustable seats and a retro, banjo-type steering wheel. The car has a navigation system and multi-information display as well as a Harman/Kardon sound system with 10 speakers and a six-disc CD changer. Like all Z8s, the automatic soft top also comes with a color-matched Titanium Silver hardtop.

The 2003 model is one of only 667 examples finished in Jet Black with a black Nappa leather interior. It was delivered new with an anthracite headliner and Cpt8000 Timeport phone kit and currently only shows 54 miles. It has barely ever been driven and is in superb, brand-new condition. As such, the paint, interior and engine bay are all showroom-new in appearance. Like all Z8s, it comes with a matching hardtop as well as all manuals and a special book for Z8 owners. All passenger amenities expected of a high-end sports car are standard, including a 10-speaker sound system, navigation system, air conditioning, power seats and more. This virtually brand new Z8 is very desirable, not only for its condition and stunning black/black color combination, but most importantly its low mileage.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2002 & 2003 BMW Z8
Years Produced:2000 -03
Number Produced:5,700
Original List Price:$128,000
SCM Valuation:$90,000 - $140,000
Tune Up Cost:$450
Chassis Number Location:Lower left windshield corner
Engine Number Location:Right engine block near exhaust manifold
Club Info:www.bmwz8.us
Alternatives:2005 -06 Ford GT, 2002 - 05 Ferrari 550M Maranello, 2002 - 04 Porsche GT2
Investment Grade:A

These cars sold for $121,000 (for the 2002 model) and $143,000 (2003 model) at RM’s Classic Muscle & Modern Performance auction in San Diego, California, on June 19, 2010.

It’s hard to believe the BMW Z8 is 10 years old, as it seems like just yesterday that the first few of these limited-production roadsters began trolling along the manicured streets and lanes of the well-heeled. Some buyers loved and used their cars regularly, as does a local gent seen frequently in my own hometown. Others were coveted, covered and put away. Such was the fate of these two virtually unused examples.

Though its performance credentials were quite respectable, the Z8 was never regarded as a pure sports car, such as most contemporary Ferraris or Porsches. Instead, it was more of a gentleman’s express, much like the original 507 designed by Goertz. What else would you expect of a car designed by a count? Even so, the Z8’s technological credentials were impressive for the day, including an aluminum space frame when only the Acura NSX and Audi A8 shared this construction in the luxury-car ranks.

Add to this a 32-valve V8 from the honking BMW M5, additional advanced—for the day—features such as xenon headlights, a drive-by-wire throttle and one of the industry’s first tire-pressure monitoring systems, and the Z8 really was the sharp end of the spear. Though a two-seater and not a 2+2, the Z8 nonetheless could very well have been a competitor for the Porsche 928, had it only survived longer.

Limited production and utterly unique

The initial MSRP of the Z8 in 2000 was about $128,000 and surpassed $131,000 by 2002. Whether the auction cars were bought as investments or else by parties who just liked and could afford to let them sit is unclear. However, even after a couple of years of turbulent economy, the sellers realized a pretty good return. By which I mean that they didn’t lose money, except of course to inflation. As it turns out, their money was just as safe in these cars as it would have been in the stock market.

This speaks highly of the collectability of the BMW brand, as with rare exceptions like the original 328, the 507 and the M1, the blue-and-white propeller badge is not the first one that most people consider in regards to investment potential. It is also good news because the value of many exotics, including Ferrari and Aston Martin, tend to plummet like a Port au Prince timeshare in the first decade of ownership.

The BMW Z8 has held its value for exactly the same reasons as the Ford GT has: Great design, execution and exclusivity. A big part of the exotic-car purchase decision is having the latest and greatest supercar around. That means, with ongoing model development, every subsequent version of the car undercuts the value of the previous one. This was seen when the Ferrari 348 became the F355 which begat the 360.

But in the case of the Z8, BMW announced a limited production run (with about half of them coming to America) of a totally unique property, committed the resources to build the car right, and then executed it to perfection. All of this is backed up with the promise of a 50-year parts supply. When they were all built, that’s all there were—and the Z8 was never cheapened by the company announcing a newer, better version.

Long-term appreciation still uncertain

So, will the Z8 ever command the same $600,000–$800,000 that the original 507 now does? There are arguments for and against. The argument against: The 507 was built during the golden age of sports cars and is considered a true classic, whereas the Z8 is merely a modern interpretation of a classic, and one inflicted with a plethora of computer-operated safety and emissions systems that is a ticking time bomb of hassle and expense down the road. It’s an easy conclusion that such modern copies will never approach the originals in real portfolio value.

Yet,  there is an argument for: In the bright light of reality, worth is always dictated by what someone is willing to pay, and the future just might hold that the teenage dreamer who was smitten by the Z8 in 2002 will become 2032’s Fortune 500 CFO with the chops to buy one—whereas the 507 won’t mean any more to him that yesteryear’s Stanley Steamer would to the “Fast and Furious” crowd.

Either way, last June in San Diego, both the buyers and sellers went home smiling on this one.

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