Highlights of the 2015 Bonhams Auctions in Connecticut

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1996 BMW Z3 James Bond Edition

Connecticut, May 31, 2015

Feature Car: 1996 BMW Z3 James Bond Edition
Sold at $24,200

S/N 4USCH7325TLE00762
Bond Blue Gray over taupe leather interior with tan cloth top. 114-hp, DOHC, 1.8-liter inline-four; five-speed manual transmission. Less than 6,000 miles on the odometer. Excellent paint and chrome; well-maintained leather seat upholstery and wood dash trim. Fully equipped with air-conditioning, power seats, custom floormats, a trunk-mounted CD changer, and even a luggage rack. The previous collector clearly cared for this car.

The Story Behind the Sale

Just how many cars are ever offered through a department store catalog? Actually, Neiman Marcus has become quite famous for doing this, and among the “fantasy” gifts presented in its 1995 Christmas Wish List was this limited-edition, $35,000 BMW Z3. This car is the 62nd of 100 built and then sold exclusively through the Texas-based store.

Produced at BMW’s then-new assembly plant in South Carolina, the Z3 was the first American-made BMW and became a sales success. Still, many dismissed the roadster, though it was based on the popular E36 version of the BMW 3 Series sedan. Like so many collectibles before and since, the Z3 was under­­-cut by a lack of performance. This car has been rehabilitated in recent years thanks to the availability of go-fast goodies, and now Gen Y males are keen to spend big dollars on the Z3.

At a certain point, almost every collector car finds equilibrium, and often it’s not with the same group of people for which it was originally intended. With the price of the similarly styled, Henrik Fisker-designed 1999-2003 BMW Z8 exceeding $100,000, the Joji Nagashima-designed Z3 gives you one-quarter of the car for one-quarter of the price, especially when it comes with a story like this particular James Bond Edition inspired by the film “GoldenEye.”

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