By on January 10, 2019

The Buy/Drive/Burn series has been all about convertibles lately. We started with some $40,000 luxury entries from 2010, then upped the dollar figure with three more from 2009 that asked over $90,000 for the pleasure of their company.

Today we step back in time to the year 2001, and spend even more money. The cheapest drop-top here is over $120,000. Let’s go.

BMW Z8

Though the BMW was the most expensive choice from the 2009 convertible trio (the M6), it’s the most affordable option today. We’ve seen it on Rare Rides previously, as well. Designed as successor to the very rare BMW 507, Chris Bangle and Henrik Fisker put their heads together to create the Z8’s retro-modern looks. It went on sale for the year 2000 after debuting as a concept in 1997. Underneath the sloped hood resided the M5’s 4.9-liter V8. That meant 400 horsepower traveled to the rear wheels via the six-speed manual. Just 2,543 Z8s made it into the hands of American consumers, all of whom spent at least $128,000 before adding anything from BMW’s Individual catalogue.

Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante

Upscale sibling to the Jaguar XK8, Aston Martin’s DB7 hit European showrooms back in 1994. The North American consumer waited a bit as the good people in Oxfordshire reworked the DB7 for left-hand drive markets. While 1997 was the first year for domestic DB7 availability, it would remain for just two model years in its initial inline-six powered guise. It went away again for 1999, returning as the new Vantage Volante model in 2000. Here, Vantage meant 12 cylinders up front. The engineers at Aston Martin took two Duratec V6 engines from their Ford overlords and fused them together. The resulting engine was 5.9 liters in displacement and produced 420 horsepower. Those English-American horses traveled to the rear wheels via the same six-speed manual found in the Dodge Viper. Volante asked a mid-pack $150,000.

Ferrari 360 Spider

Asking more cash than the others is the only flamboyant Italian on offer today. Replacing the chunky looks of its predecessor, the 355, Ferrari’s curvy 360 was brand new for 2000. Designed by Pininfarina as a coupe (Modena) and convertible (Spider), the 360 carried the entry-level flag for the Ferrari brand. The Modena got a year’s head start on the Spider, which debuted at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show for its 2001 release. A mid-engine model, the 360’s 3.6-liter V8 engine resided under a glass ceiling for all to see. 400 horsepower travelled to the rear, with a standard six-speed manual being the base option. At extra cost, the 360 could be fitted with an F1-style paddle-shift transmission, but the $171,000 price of the base model is high enough already.

Three top-tier sporty convertibles, in retro, formal, and Ferrari flavors. Which gets a Buy?

[Images: BMW, Aston Martin, ]

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38 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: Super Expensive Convertibles From 2001...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    First to comment (the advantage of being numerous time zones ahead!).
    Buy: BMW Z8. Elegant and just the right touch of retro
    Drive: Ferrari 360. Just. Once. I’d like to say I actually got to drive a Ferrari
    Burn: Somebody has to perish. It just doesn’t move me like the other two.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    This is tough as they are all out of my league even today I doubt my wallet could afford to maintain any of them so based on that I go in this order

    I am gonna spend my hard earn bucks on the non red Italian, the color is great but this is really a money decision , I think it would hold its value the most
    I would drive the Aston bc to me it looks the best and I hope the ford parts would make it somewhat easier on the wallet
    That means I am boring the BMW because on has to go, I would rather have a z4 with tons of left over cash, but really I could switch up the order in any direction. How sad that these super expensive vests do not do it for me.

  • avatar
    HelloWorld

    OK, thought long and hard for 15 minutes about this one and now I’m really exhausted :-}

    Have come to the conclusion that I couldn’t bring myself to burn ANY of these three, so I’ll buy and drive all three of them, and if I ever run out of money, I’ll put them in a garage and set *that* on fire to collect the money from the insurance.

    I’m an evil mastermind.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    “At extra cost, the 360 could be fitted with an F1-style paddle-shift transmission . . . .”

    Funny how that played out. The delta between an F1 transmission and a gated manual is approx. $40,0000 (more for the manual). Who knew?

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Who knew that a more rare configuration would eventually end up being worth more than a the common configuration? Pretty much everyone, though I suspect that people didn’t think that the F1 gearbox was going to be as popular as it was. As it turns out, only about 6% of coupes and 9% of spiders were ordered with the gated manual.

  • avatar
    arach

    Buy the 360…

    Its the first affordable to maintain ferrari, requiring only $1500 belt changes with no engine out services. There are also a lot of them putting on over 100k miles.

    It also aged well and drives well.

    Lastly, its already at the bottom of its depreciation curve or darn near it.

    Can’t go wrong with a 360.

    I can’t burn any of them… they are all too special.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Buy: Ferrari…cause well Ferrari. Supposedly they carry some panache, never owned one so can’t say for sure.

    Drive: BMW…easiest to find someone to work on it.

    Burn: Aston Martin…rules say we have to burn one might as well burn it first before the English wiring has a chance to.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Buy the Ferrari and hold for resale.

    Drive the BMW because in this crowd it actually makes me feel the LEAST like a D-BAG.

    Burn the Jag because it’s not an XKE.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      lol… I thought that Aston was a Jag!

      Burn the one that I can’t even tell what brand it is at a glance.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      You could be holding that Ferrari for a long time. In the UK, manual 360s are selling for around $80k, while the Z8 is more like $200k.

      Maybe the situation is different in the US, but on my side of the Atlantic, the Z8 is the only one that can be considered an investment.

      https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/ferrari/360

      https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/bmw/z8

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Buy the Ferrari, in manual, and in that blue

    Drive the Aston for its looks

    Burn the boring one

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Burn the aluminum BMW, it was a softy, never sold well and wasn’t a super-premium badge anyway – they made cheapo diesel 3 series with rubber floor mats as well. I mean, really.
    Drive the Ferrari because never read a bad review on it from anyone and it went like stink.
    Buy the Aston to show off the V12 to your wealthy impressionable friends and to swam about Hollywood or Miami Beach wearing expensive watches and polo shirts, while dining at only the finest clubs. Depreciation? Pfft. Who cares?

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Buy- BMW. It’s just plain cooler and almost rarer than the others. Plus M5 V8 noises are never a bad thing.

    Drive- Ferarri. Would you really want to drive an Aston over a Ferrari? Nah! +1 if it’s the gated manual. Not my favorite looking mid-engine Ferarri, but you don’t have to see it when driving.

    Burn – Aston. Not a bad car, but Aston’s always look better in coupe form. V12 noises are great, but this mid Ford/Volvo era Aston kinda cheapens the experience.

  • avatar
    John R

    Buy – BMW Z8. If I HAVE to own one of these three I’m guessing this one is the least painful.

    Drive – Ferrari 360 Spider. Bucket list item.

    Burn – Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante. Overated and underperforming given the cost, even back then.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    Buy: Ferrari. And man, I reallllly wish I could. God I love this car.

    Drive: BMW. Would be so much fun to drive.

    Burn: Aston-Martin. I normally like Astons, and the engine would be awesome. But the XK8 DNA sticks out way too much here (a car I’ve never liked), and IMO it’s a total eyesore.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Agree on all counts. At first glance I thought the Aston was a Sebring. For that kind of money a car should look special, and that’s the Ferrari. The Beemer’s nice, but not 100-Large-Plus nice.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Crumbs. I saw the jump photo and was ready to go all-out in buying the Bimmer (seems like it’d be easy to live with) and driving the Jaguar (so I could see my reflection in a window in it just once)… and then you drop the Ferrari.

    I think I have to drive the Ferrari, because early-2000s Ferrari, but buy the BMW, because if I owned the Ferrari I’d end up too scared to take it out of the driveway more than once a month. Sorry James, the not-quite-as-pretty-in-retrospect gets it.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Buy: Zed 8 — It’s really the best-looking roadster of the bunch
    Drive: Ferrari 360 Spider — Looks fast, probably fun to drive, but a flaming history makes it a risky buy
    Burn: DB 7 — The soft top, even booted, looks clunky and pasted on rather than an integral part of the car. Its looks would be good if you could just hide that bloomin’ top! On the other hand, while very probably a decent roadster, British cars don’t have the greatest reputation for durability. They may not be rolling torches like some cars but they do seem to be in constant need of hands-on loving to keep everything tight and functioning.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I oscillate between buying the Ferrari and the BMW. The BMW is an instant classic and enjoys strong resale values because of it. Meanwhile, the Ferrari is a Ferrari, and it’s also probably one with a manual transmission. It should hold steady or appreciate because They Don’t Make Them Like This Anymore. But, I can only buy one, so…

    Buy — the BMW
    Drive — the Ferrari
    Burn — the Aston Martin. Not only was this a “Jag in Drag,” it was an awkward design that looked dated by the time it arrived. Aston Martin didn’t get its mojo back until circa 2005, with the then-new Vantage.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Really, none of these deserve to burn.

    Buy: BMW. It’s mad sexy, and it was a Bond-mobile.
    Drive: Ferrari.
    Burn: Aston, only because something has to burn.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m actually going against the consensus here.

    Buy the DB7, just not in that champagne color. You get the most cylinders, I expect it’s the most comfortable, and it depreciated enough that I wouldn’t be scared to park it at Winn-Dixie or do my own work on it.

    Drive the 360. It has DeMuro stink, but manual-transmission Ferraris are well regarded.

    Burn the Z8. The styling is cool, but that’s about as far as it ever made it for me.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I guess I am in the minority but I would burn the Ferrari.

    The remaining two could go either way but the AM would sound much better than the BMW, but then again, I would NOT want to own an out of warranty BMW.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Buy the BMW as they keep appreciating and the S62 is such a gem.
    Drive the Ferrari, but in coupe and not blue/blue.
    Burn the AM…that DB7 looks so dated.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Buy the Ferrari – I guess some of the boy-racer/poster-on-the-wall person still lives within me.
    Drive the Aston – When you want to ride in in the ultimate convertible cruiser
    Burn the BMW – Not necessarily a bad car but doesn’t hold the same cache as the other two

  • avatar
    DanDotDan

    Buy the BMW because it’s appreciated in value and will likely keep climbing.
    Drive the Ferrari for the fun of it.
    Burn the AM for being an Aston Ford and for being an old man’s car.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    For fun let’s check in with the block on these:

    MY01 Aston Martin DB7 CONV (no MY00s showing)

    12/13/18 $20,400 *40,540 3.3 12G/A Black Regular SoutheastTampa
    10/18/18 $18,500 *18,142 3.5 12G/A Green Regular West Coast Southern California
    2/15/18 $23,500 *9,788 – – 12G/A Gray Regular NortheastNew York

    MY02 BMW Z8 4.9 (no MY00s or 01s)

    10/10/18 $150,000 *25,454 — 8G/- Silver Regular Southeast Tampa

    MY00 Ferrari 360 Modena COUPE

    6/1/18 $55,000 *35,088 4.1 8G/P Red Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
    4/5/18 $63,500 *12,588 3.8 8G/A Black Regular West Coast Riverside

    MY02 Ferrari 360 CONV

    6/8/18 $57,500 *20,687- -8G/A Gray Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
    4/19/18 $64,500 *20,572 3.6 8G/A Silver Regular West Coast Riverside

    Well, someone just *had* to have that used Z8!

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      BMW Z8s have been holding their value since the day they switched over to Alpina Roadster production. Unfortunately, creeping mental frailty at BMW cause it to have centrally mounted instruments, but the Z8 was otherwise hard to fault from behind the wheel. Definitely the buy back in the day.

      Drive the Ferrari, but only if it has a manual transmission. Otherwise, what’s the point? They weren’t that good looking, and the only gold diggers worth exploiting can tell they’re old and cheap.

      Burn the Jaguar-Martin. There are reasons they depreciate at the same rate as a pizza.

  • avatar
    TE Lawrence

    I’m having a hard time with this one.

    Won’t the Ferrari burn itself?

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I have always loved that Z8, so James Bondy. So I’d like to both buy AND drive that. If that means gotta torch the others, so be it.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: BMW Z8- Nice retro style new 507. The easiest to maintain.

    Drive: Ferrari 360- Because gated manual. The resale holds its own.

    Burn: Aston DB7- Nice luxury cruiser but not worthy over a Jaguar XK. The old I think it was Danny Davis quote “everyone should own a V12 at least once”. Maybe not this one.

    Honorable mention: Mercedes Benz SL 600 or the rare AMG SL 73

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Buy- BMW Z8. I’d rather have my M5 motor in an M5 as supposedly these aren’t any more fun to drive, but this one just might keep appreciating in value.

    Drive- Ferrari 360. This has always been my favorite Ferrari. I can’t think of a car from this era that’s aged better

    Burn- DB7. To much XK8-like blobbiness in the back

  • avatar
    markf

    Buy the BMW cause you can’t burn 2

    Drive the Ferrari cause it’s a Ferrari and it still looks great

    Burn the Aston Martin cause it looks like a tarted up Sebring convertible

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    Buy the 360. Gated shifter. I’ll take that exact blue on blue one. Use for special days.

    Drive the Z8, a piece of art you can drive. Classic sportscar proportions. Hell, throw a supercharger on it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0V2J13OKHU

    Burn that Aston, it’s been ugly since it was new.


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