In the mid-1950s, and encouraged by New York City import car dealer Max Hoffman, BMW produced a stunning sports car, the 507. The car was designed by Count Albrecht Goertz and as powered by a V8 engine. Elvis Presley was among those buying the exciting roadster.
Oh, the price was expensive, nearly $9,000. But it proved a good investment, since the cars, kept or restored to concours condition, can bring more than $2 million at auction today.
Fast forward a few decades and the 507 inspires BMW to unveil a concept car, the Z07, at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show. A couple of years later, after production design work by Henrik Fisker, a production version of the concept was produced, the BMW Z8.
The sports car was available in standard BMW guise but also as a more aggressively tuned Alpina model. One of those cars, a 2003 BMW Alpina Z8, is the Pick of the Day, where it is being advertised for sale on ClassicCars.com for $235,000 by its private owner in Brookfield, Connecticut.
“This rare Z8 variant was available in small numbers and only for one year,” the seller notes, adding that this is “a rather exclusive car even in the rarified world of Z8’s.
“Immediately recognizable to enthusiasts, the driving experience is more thrilling with extra torque provided by the Alpina tuned 4.8-liter V8. An engine that is noticeably throatier than the standard Z8.”
The M62 engine comes from the BMW M5 sedan and is a double overhead-cam, 32-valve unit that produces 394 horsepower. Alpina also raised peak torque to 383 pound-feet. The engine is tied to a 5-speed Steptronic transmission.
The cars were built on an aluminum space frame, had independent suspension, disc brakes, and 50/50 weight distribution.
The factory claimed 0-to-60 mph in less than five seconds and a top speed of 170 mph, though that figure was electronically limited at 155.
Steering wheel and gauges are Alpina units, as are the 20-inch wheels.
“The Z8 was built for driving, and the car was confident when pushed on twisty roads and quick through the straights,” the seller notes.
The car being offered, the seller says, is the 493rd of the 555 produced.
“It has been extensively serviced by the local BMW dealership. The act of taking the Z8 Alpina to a BMW dealership is akin to arriving with a celebrity. Heads turn and the car draws other BMW owners to it as few have seen one in the flesh.”
The car has not been restored, has its original paint, and a factory hardtop — and a stunningly bright red interior. The seller adds that the car has been driven only a few more than 20,000 miles since new.
Hagerty notes that fewer than 200 Alpina Z8s were produced, all with automatic transmissions rather than the standard manual gearbox used in the slightly more than 5,700 non-Alpina versions.
“Today, the cars are recognized as one of BMW’s high points of the last several decades, and have achieved collectible status only 15 years after they bowed,” Hagerty notes in its valuation guide.”
Hagerty suggests that concours-quality cars are worth $276,000.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.