Image credits: © BMW.
2001 BMW Z8T
he BMW Z1 Roadster, with its roll-up doors, was introduced in 1988. Next came the mass-market Z3 in 1995. In 2001, BMW introduced the Z8. It later played a role in the James Bond film, The World is Not Enough.
The Z8 was conceived under code Z07. A team from BMW Technik GmbH developed a concept car that was unveiled in October of 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show. The production version followed in 1999, and it remained very similar to the initial concept.
The design of the BMW Z8 was courtesy of Henrik Fisker, who was then heading up BMW's Designworks studio in California. It was given an advanced form of welded and extruded aluminum space-frame chassis construction. The same construction methods were later used to underpin the BMW-engineered Rolls-Royce Phantom when it appeared four years later.
The understructure was built at BMW's Dingolfing plant, with final assembly in dedicated workshops at the Munich plant. Power was from a 4.9-liter V8s offering 400 horsepower - the same engine found in the 5- and 7-series models. The engine was mated to a Getrag six-speed gearbox from the M5. The body and chassis were all-aluminum. Zero-to-sixty mph was accomplished in a factory claimed 4.7 seconds (Motor Trend magazine did it in 4.2 seconds) and the top speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h. With the delimiter, the top speed was estimated at 290 km/h. It had a 50-50 weight distribution, achieved by having the engine located behind the front axle.
The taillights and turn indicators used neon tubes which were expected to last for the life of the vehicle and were quicker to activate than standard lightbulbs.
Each example had a color-matching metal hardtop with rear defroster.
The production model went on sale in 2000, and just 2,543 of the 5,703 built came to the United States with a base price of $128,000 fully equipped. Although expensive, they were exclusive which helped ensure its value. BMW promised they would retain a stockpile of spare parts for five decades in order to support the Z8 fleet.
Each example was constructed or finished by hand, with the spaceframe produced in the Dingolfing Plant while the car was hand-finished in Munich. Each customer was given the option of bespoke interior treatments and paint.by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2017
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Chassis #: WBAEJ134X1AH60892
Chassis #: WBAEJ13481AH60437
Chassis #: WBAEJ13451AH60489
Chassis #: WBAEJ13401AH60917
Chassis #: WBAEJ13451AH60573
Chassis #: WBAEJ13471AH60297