Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was seldom seen in a boring car. He owned a Porsche 928 in the 1980s, which supposedly helped inspire the design of the Macintosh 128k, and later in life used a California legal loophole to stay out of having licence plates on his string of AMG Mercedes-Benzes. He liked speed and he liked flash, which explains why he had a BMW Z8 in the early 2000s. If you’re rich enough, you can own it too.
Up for grabs on Craigslist — I mean, RM Sotheby’s New York, sorry! Force of habit — is Jobs’ 2000 BMW Z8 sports car. According to the listing, Jobs bought the car new in 2000 and drove it regularly, but today it has just 15,200 miles on the clock. He was apparently convinced to buy it over one of his regular Mercedes SLs by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, “who enthused to Jobs that the car was a paragon of modern automotive engineering and ergonomics, reflective of Steve’s own products and psyche.” I have been sold cars the exact same way. (It should be noted Jobs was a fan of BMW motorcycles too.)
The Z8 itself is a rather interesting and objectively gorgeous machine. Inspired by the classic BMW 507 sports car of the 1950s, it was designed by Henrik Fisker to be BMW’s halo car in the four years it was made between 1999 and 2003.
The Z8 is a pretty rare machine — less than 6,000 were built, which somewhat helped its eye-popping $US128,000 ($170,000) price tag when new. All of them, except the Alpina versions, had a 4.9-litre naturally aspirated V8 putting about 400 horsepower. While it may not be the fastest or craziest BMW ever, its scarcity, ornate beauty and uniqueness make it a very special vehicle.
Jobs sold the Z8 in 2003, and it’s currently on its fourth owner, the listing says. It bears “JOBS Z8” on the licence plate. Here are some more interesting details:
With a production date of April 1, 2000, this early example was delivered to him on October 6th of that year. Within the recorded production of Z8s, this makes his car the 85th Z8 produced for the first year of U.S.-specification production and the 67th customer car. Jobs’ ownership is documented through several service invoices accompanying the car, as well as a copy of the all-important California “pink slip” registration in his name and at his personal residence. This is significant because Jobs famously rarely registered his cars to protect his anonymity (and also perhaps because of his anti-authoritarian streak!).
One thing Jobs did not like: the BMW-branded Motorola flip phone that came with the Z8. The listing says he hated that particular device, despite it being a pretty ubiquitous phone of that era. Perhaps it helped inspire him to make something better.
The Z8 is expected to fetch at least $US300,000 ($390,000) when it goes to auction on Dec. 6. Let’s hope it goes to a good new home.