Buy/Drive/Burn: Super Expensive Convertibles From 2001

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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, seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Markf Markf on Jan 10, 2019

    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

  • SirRaoulDuke SirRaoulDuke on Jan 10, 2019

    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.

  • Cprescott I'm sure this won't matter to the millions of deceived Honduh owners who think the company that once prided itself on quality has somehow slipped in the real world. Same for Toyoduhs. Resting on our Laurel's - Oh, what a feeling!
  • Jrhurren I had this happen numerous times with my former Accord. It usually occurred when on a slow right curve in the road. Somehow the system would get confused and think the opposite lane (oncoming traffic) was an impending head-on collision.
  • Cprescott The Ford Shamaro is ugly, thick bodied, and a Mustang pretender.
  • Analoggrotto Speaking of mud, does anyone here enjoy naked mud wrestling?
  • Jkross22 Nope. Too expensive, too little wear. Besides, there are so many great all seasons that are great to use that last longer, the use case for summer tires has gotten smaller.
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