Buy/Drive/Burn: Super Expensive Convertibles From 2001

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn super expensive convertibles from 2001

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.


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]

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2 of 38 comments
  • 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. Burn that Aston, it's been ugly since it was new.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.