THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 2001 BMW Z8 owned by Larry Lioz
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: Every so often, a major automaker launches a new model that becomes an instant collectible. Enter the Z8 limited production roadster, which borrows its design cues from the fabled BMW 507s of 1956 to 1959. Those early two-seaters are now full-fledged classics and one was sold at auction through RM Sotheby’s last year for over $2.4 million. The hand-built Z8 brings the sleek body of the 507 into the 21st century with mechanicals to match. “Only 5,703 were made in the model years 2000 to 2003,” Lioz says of his roadster, “and about half were sold in the U.S. It has a 396-horsepower five-liter V-8 engine, manual six-speed transmission and does 0 to 60 (miles per hour) in 4.2 seconds. The car listed for $128,000 new and has a removable hardtop.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT: Lioz bought the BMW in 2010. “It was an early retirement present for myself,” he says.
WHERE HE FOUND IT: The roadster was advertised online by an Albany dealer, who had gotten it from a Long Island dealer. “It was ironic that it went from Long Island to Albany and back to Long Island,” Lioz says.
CONDITION: “The car was in very good condition when I bought it,” he says, “but I did have to replace the headlights, leather dashboard and the rearview mirror. I also had a performance package installed. The car handles very well, is very easy to drive and is quite comfortable, even on long drives. BMW guarantees parts for this car for 50 years.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS: “Join BMW CCA (BMW Car Club of America) and become a member of the bmwz8.us website,” he advises. “That website is invaluable. Also find a good mechanic who is experienced with this vehicle.”
VALUE: Lioz has estimated the value at $125,000. Hagerty, the classic car insurer, places an “average value” of $130,905 on a Z8 of this year and says one in top condition could sell for as much as $197,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE: “I started my search for this car when my son, Randy, asked me what car I would want to have if price were no object,” he says. “He is a ‘car guy’ and when we get together, we inevitably talk about cars. When I told him I thought the BMW Z8 was one of the most beautiful cars, he encouraged me to go for it. I often get stopped at a light or in a parking lot. Most people do not know what car it is. They think it is brand new. Needless to say, Randy will get this car when I am gone or can no longer drive. I hope that is many years from now.”