The Bid is Right

Where do you think the hammer will fall on this BMW Z8 Alpina?

by Grady Eger
4 December 2021 3 min read
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Photo by Courtesy Bring a Trailer/PAGSF

**Congratulations to contest winner Salar Melli, of Edmonton, Canada. In addition to being a good guesser, Melli is an active entrepreneur. He’s created an online tea store and is working on a new pizza brand. Melli owns a 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK and a 1998 Suzuki Jimny; he hopes to convert a classic to an EV some day. “Not a classic, though!” he adds.**

If you’ve been following the auction scene of late, then you’re aware things are kind of nuts right now. Thanks to the continued growth of online selling platforms, classic cars are being bid on at an unprecedented pace. Insider has lots of thoughts about this phenomenon—you can find some here and herebut perhaps the most important one is that it’s fun. Who doesn’t like seeing amazing classics trotted out day in and day out, and who doesn’t like guessing just how much they’ll go for?

In the spirit of fun, we’re introducing a new contest. We’re calling it, The Bid is Right. The premise is simple and should be familiar to anyone who has watched daytime TV in the last few decades: The person who guesses closest to the final bid—without going over—wins.

Oh, and did we mention we’re giving out $500 to the winner? Yes, we take fun pretty seriously.

With no further ado, we present this week’s contest. Submit your guess in the comments section below no later than December 8, at 2 pm EST (24 hours before the auction officially closes—that’s right, no sniping!).

The Car: 2003 Z8 Alpina, for sale on Bring a Trailer

Hagerty Price Guide Value Condition #1: $290,000 Condition #2: $219,000 Condition #3: $168,000 Condition #4 $132,000

Our Take: Before there was wireless Apple CarPlay, we had our favorite CDs in the glove box. Before we had configurable AWD systems, we held our breath in hope the rear tires wouldn’t break loose. Before we had today’s, um, interesting looking BMW M4, we had the BMW Z8 Alpina, a perfect cocktail of Henrik Fisker design and Alpina performance wizardry. Nostalgia is funny like that. What was, in its time, a nod to the 1956–60 BMW 507 is now itself endearingly retro.

Powered by a naturally aspirated V-8, the Z8 is more of a high-speed, open-top grand tourer than a sport roadster. That’s particularly true in Alpina form, which traded some top-end power for low-end torque and came only with an automatic transmission. However, don’t mistake it for being some sort of country club cruiser. With 375 hp it shot to 60 in under 5 seconds—back when that really meant something.

Car collectors still seem to be figuring out whether the Z8 is an interesting old car or a bona fide classic. We have seen values of condition #1 vehicles reach up to $274,000 back in 2016, but they slipped afterward and, on average, have not surpassed their MSRP (when accounting for inflation). That’s particularly true for the Alpina models, which are exceptionally rare but also exceptionally expensive, with a sticker of $137,595 back in 2003.

But what was true a year or even a few months ago might not be true in today's red-hot collector car market. The 12-month moving average price for base Z8s have recently crept into appreciation territory, and, in October, a low-mileage Z8 Alpina eclipsed the $400k mark on Bring a Trailer.

The Z8 Alpina for sale now has more mileage—about 17k versus just 5k—but in today's wild market, there's no telling if that will make a difference. What do you think this Z8 will go for? Put your guess in the comments, below. More ground rules:

  • The commenter who guesses closest to the hammer price—without going over—wins. (Hammer price excludes auction house fees).
  • One guess per commenter.
  • If two people guess the same amount (within a dollar) the earlier guess wins.
  • Commenters must provide first and last name in addition to email address.
  • We will close the guessing on Wednesday, December 8 at 2 pm.
  • Your privacy is important to us, and we'll never sell your information.  By providing your email you will receive the weekly Insider newsletter, and you can opt out at any time.
  • You can read the full rules here.
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