UPDATE: Jobs' Z8 sold for $329,500.
Steve Jobs saw the importance of attractive industrial design both in things he owned and the products that he helped create. From the blocky Macintosh to the simple iPhone, Jobs put a major on the technology that surrounds us. Now there’s an opportunity to own one of his cars – a Titanium silver 2000 BMW Z8 with just 15,200 miles.
According to RM Sotheby’s listing, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison convinced Jobs to get a Z8 by telling the Apple boss that it was the pinnacle of auto engineering at the time. Apparently, Jobs was convinced because he took delivery of his silver Z8 with a black leather interior on October 6, 2000. It was the 67th example that BMW had assembled for customers. It’s funny today to think of Jobs using the archaic looking BMW-branded Motorola car phone seven years before the iPhone revolutionized the mobile market.
The Z8 was BMW’s halo product at the time. It featured a retro-modern design taking cues from the late 1950s BMW 507. The roadster used the 4.9-liter V8 from the contemporary M5 and a six-speed manual. During the production run, BMW reportedly built 5,703 of them, including 2,543 for export to the United States. Later, Alpina took over production with some mechanical tweaks like adding an automatic gearbox and produced 555 more.
The roadster had an interesting ownership after Jobs, too. The second owner acquired the roadster in 2003 and sold it about a year later. However, the person regretted the decision and convinced the buyer to sell the Z8 back in April 2006. The second (and technically fourth) owner kept the car until this sale.
This Z8 has received meticulous service throughout its life, according to RM Sotheby’s. This sale includes the original hardtop, the stand for it, car cover, all of the manuals, and more.
RM Sotheby’s will auction Jobs’ Z8 with no reserve at its New York Icons in Manhattan on December 6. The firm’s estimate puts the sale price between $300,000 and $400,000.
Source: RM Sotheby's
Gallery: Steve Jobs 2000 BMW Z8 Auction
2000 BMW Z8
$300,000 - $400,000 Offered without reserve
New York - ICONS
Purchased new by visionary Apple founder Steve Jobs
Documented with registration and BMW service records under Jobs’ own name
California ownership from new with 15,200 original miles
Before his untimely passing in October of 2011 at the age of 56, Steve Jobs and Apple contributed unimaginably to technology integrated into our daily lives as we know it today. Making computer technology user-friendly and accessible to the masses, Jobs turned computers and technology from objects for industrial use into objects of art and aesthetic design, showing that a product conceived to make communication and organization more efficient can also be intuitive, user-friendly, and beautiful. Steve Jobs endeavored to “Think Different;” so did Apple, and thanks to them, many other organizations and individuals did as well. The iPhone, in particular, upon release transcended not only the transformation of the mobile phone, but proved to be virtually magical from the standpoint of both users and the industry.
BMW similarly chose to “think different” when developing the Z8 throughout the 1990s and into the car’s regular production in the early 2000s. Serving as a halo car for the marque and a test bed for new engineering technologies, the Z8 convertible showed where not only BMW, but automotive technology could be heading in the 21st century. With styling influenced from the highly prized 507, but equally forward thinking, it pioneered an advanced technique of welded and extruded aluminum space frame construction (those methods would later underpin the BMW engineered Rolls-Royce Phantom). Modern amenities were abundant and with 400 bhp on tap, those lucky enough to own a Z8 new were left wanting for nothing. Widely considered by many to be one of the most attractive cars of the 2000’s, it quickly became a bona-fide modern collectable.
THE STEVE JOBS Z8
While not known to be a car enthusiast per se, Steve Jobs did have a penchant for German automobiles and design, owning both BMW automobiles and motorcycles, as well as Mercedes-Benz SLs. According to legend, Jobs was convinced to buy a Z8 by Larry Ellison the iconoclastic CEO of Oracle, who informed Jobs that the car was a paragon of modern automotive engineering and reflective of Steve’s own products and psyche.
Jobs’ Z8 was delivered in his signature, minimalist style and color, finished in Titanium over a Black leather interior. With a production date of April 1, 2000, the car was delivered to him on October 6th of that year. Within the hierarchy 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 car’s previous registration in his name and at his personal residence. The car’s California license plate number as 4NKE073 at this time. This is significant because Jobs famously rarely registered his cars to protect his anonymity (and perhaps because of his anti-authoritarian streak).
Jobs kept the car until 2003 before it was sold to the current owner, based outside of Los Angeles. This individual subsequently kept the car for about one year, driving it regularly during that time, before deciding to sell the car onto its third owner, a tech executive, in September of 2004, at which point it returned to the San Francisco bay area. Regretting his decision to sell and missing the car after about eighteen months, the current owner contacted his buyer from San Francisco and convinced him to sell the car back, and he did. In April of 2006, the car returned to its current (now second and fourth) owner and it has remained with him ever since.
Rather than let the Z8 sit, the current owner opted to drive the car regularly. Over the course of the last seventeen years, the car has been driven just 15,200 miles from new, averaging less than 1,000 miles a year. As one would expect, it remains in exemplary condition throughout, and has always been serviced and maintained as necessary on a regular basis by its current custodian.
The car comes with a plethora of important accessories, including its proper hardtop and hardtop stand, car cover, owner’s and service manuals, service records, two keys, navigation CDs, and – most significantly, its original BMW-branded Motorola cell phone, used by Jobs. Interestingly enough, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Jobs was known to have hated the Motorola phone…
Within the 21st century thus far, it is difficult to think of someone more influential than Steve Jobs, speaking to not only his superior intellect and entrepreneurial spirit, but also the quality of his products and reputation of Apple within the market, which has evolved into the nation’s most valuable company, bar none.
His work in founding and subsequently reinventing Apple with the Macintosh, iMac, iTunes, the iPhone, and finally the iPad revolutionized how people interact with computers, the internet, and music, making the Apple logo as recognizable around the world as Coca-Cola. Job’s involvement with Pixar and subsequently Disney revolutionized the animated film industry, bringing joy to millions with blockbuster after blockbuster. His work captivated a generation and transcended cultures, like musicians such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, or Janis Joplin.
Without a doubt, BMWs most iconic car of the 21st century, at its time the Z8 was the pinnacle of BMW design and technology, and it is not surprising that the car attracted the attention of someone like Steve Jobs. To the general public, Jobs’ legacy an influence in technology is tangible and highly accessible, with over one billion iPhones sold to date and hundreds of millions of iPods and Apple computers.
However, Jobs only owned only one Z8. This is that car.