Steve Jobs Saw The BMW Z8 As A Technical Masterpiece


And now the Z8 owned by Steve Jobs can be yours, complete with the original Motorola flip phone it came with that he hated.

The late Steve Jobs may have been best known as the boss of Apple, but the entrepreneur also had an appreciation for German cars and design. Despite not being a car enthusiast, he owned several BMW motorcycles and Mercedes-Benz SLs. He also bought this BMW Z8, which will soon be looking for a new owner when it heads to auction later this year. According to RM Sothebys, Jobs was convinced to order a Z8 by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison who told him it was a pinnacle of engineering and ergonomics like Apple products at the time.

Receiving delivery of the roadster on October 6 2000, he settled for a Titanium Silver finish over a black leather interior. It’s not hard to see why Jobs was won over by the Z8, which was a pinnacle of design and technology when it launched. At the time, the Z8 was a halo car for BMW, sporting a retro design inspired by the 1950s BMW 507. It was powered by the same 4.9-liter, 400-horsepower V8 as the E39 M5 mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Jobs’ Z8 was the 64th example out of the 5,703 that were built by BMW between 1999 and 2003, 2,543 of which were imported to the US. He drove it regularly, and over the years it’s clocked up 15,200 miles since it was new.

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Ironically, it still includes the BMW-branded Motorola flip phone that originally came with the car which looks laughably dated now. Jobs apparently despised the phone, which perhaps inspired him to improve on its design and eventually revolutionize the phone market with the iPhone. Jobs was clearly proud to have his name associated with the Z8, too. While the entrepreneur would frequently change cars every few months, he deliberately didn’t register them to protect his anonymity. The Z8 was an exception, however, which was registered in his name and even has a California license plate reading “JOBS Z8.” Jobs sold his Z8 in 2003 to a second owner who kept the car for a year before selling it on.

They lived to regret that decision however, and bought it back from the third owner in 2006. With its scarcity, low mileage, and celebrity owner, the Z8 is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $400,000 with no reserve when it goes under the hammer in New York on December 6.

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