In 1997, BMW released the Z07 styling study penned by Henrik Fisker (later to become head of design at Aston Martin). The Z07 concept was heavily inspired by the legendary 507 and was not intended for production, but the strong public reaction persuaded BMW to put it in production. The production Z8 differed slightly from the concept Z07, carefully retaining the themes and details while offering a refined production car. The Z8 featured a long hood and short deck, placing occupants nearly at the rear axle. The small doors, curvaceous fenders, low-slung stance, and the detailing evoked a retro feel, yet the car was also thoroughly modern. All Z8s came with removable hard tops, unique keys, an embossed tool roll, and a color-matched dashboard with centrally placed instruments.
Mechanically, the Z8 was very sophisticated. Both the chassis and suspension are made of aluminum. Initially available with the M5’s S62 4.9 liter quad-cam V8 with a 6-speed manual transmission, a special version of the car was produced in conjunction with storied BMW tuner Alpina at the end of the car’s production in 2003. Just 555 examples were produced, all of which were equipped with an automatic transmission and a tuned 4.8 liter version of the contemporary BMW 4.4 liter V8 from the 5 and 7 series. The Alpina version of the Z8 was further distinguished by a variety of other special features, including 20-inch wheels, improved suspension, supple Nappa leather interior with unique Alpina stitching, special blue Alpina gauges, and Alpina steering wheel with gear selector buttons. All Alpinas were delivered with special features including radio navigation, alarm system, 6 disc CD changer, an engraved production plaque, adjustable sport seats with seat heaters and adjustable headrests. The Alpina felt special from the outset and have always been collectible thanks to their exceptional design, high performance, and limited production.
This particular example is the 496th of 555 examples made and has been with its current owner since it was 18 months old. Originally delivered on the 12th of December 2003 by Fields BMW in Northfield, Illinois, its second owner bought it at Perillo BMW in Chicago in the summer of 2005 and had it shipped to Northern California, where it has remained since. Routinely serviced at the local dealer or by the same BMW independent shop, the car has service records showing regular maintenance as well as all recalls. Aside from a pair of dealer fitted Meisterschaft mufflers (the original ones are included), the car is completely stock and well documented. It comes with records, window sticker, hard top with cart, tool roll with tools, first aid kit, books pouch with books, convertible top rear window protector pad, wind deflector with bag, tonneau cover, tire compressor, car cover, and flashlight. It has been fastidiously owned and the excellent cosmetic condition reflects the careful ownership this car has enjoyed.