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.

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]

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