This story really begins all the way back in 1998, I was only 14 when I saw my first BMW Z3. It was driving up Congress St in Portland ME, a beautiful Estoril Blue Zed with a matching convertible top. I later saw one in the James Bond film “Goldeneye”, albeit a good movie the car was a pleasant sight indeed. I was reminded of these beautiful cars again in 2017 while visiting Bar Habor ME with my wife, we saw a gorgeous Z3 M in hellrot red parked on the street.

Through the years I always wanted one of these roadsters, though eventually forgetting about cars as a hobby until I was older. I purchased my first BMW with my now-wife back in 2018, a silver 2015 BMW X5, the itch had begun, and the childhood dream was reignited.

As we enjoyed our X5 we craved another fun vehicle, I tried a few other Bimmers such as the F82 BMW M3 Competition, an F80 BMW M4 which I absolutely loved, and an F80 BMW 435is xDrive. At the time my wallet could justify the BMW F80 435, and I began searching for one, though I eventually purchased a Lotus Evora instead.

The BMW X5 was later totaled in an accident, but we sorely missed having a Bimmer over the next couple of years. Finally in 2022 after some discussions with my wife she agreed to let me find her a sports car, and I suggested the Z3. I took her with me on a test drive and she loved it just as much as 14-year-old me did, though I really wanted a yellow one.

The search began, and it did not take long, scrolling through Facebook Marketplace I eventually found a 1998 Z3 2.8 in Dakar yellow. The vehicle was in New Jersey which meant taking the risk of flying down to look at a poorly maintained vehicle, and all of the non-yellow ones we saw online did not appear to be in good condition. The seller thankfully had a really good quality walk-around video of the car and many detail pictures, so I felt confident this would be coming back to Maine. After negotiating an offer, I made the arrangements and took a one-way ticket to New Jersey, and the seller was kind enough to collect me at the airport.

Arriving at the seller’s home and seeing the car, it was clear from a distance and upfront the vehicle was meticulously cared for – even if it did have 260,000 miles! The engine bay was spotless, there was not even the slightest hint of rust anywhere, the common trunk weld issue was non-existent, and the interior was immaculate (apart from some marks near the stereo removal holes). Everything worked well for a 24-year-old car, although it did have the common valve cover leak. I exchange cash for title and began the 6 hours journey back home to Maine.

I’ve had the car for about a year and a half now, it gets more attention from me than the Lotus and receives less attention from passersby, which is rather nice I must say. The car is quiet, yet quick, and with a 5-speed manual transmission it’s almost as enjoyable as the Lotus. Unfortunately, my wife has never learned to drive the manual, and with two children one of whom is only 2 years old, it’s hard to find time to teach her. I have grown a significant attachment to this beautiful Z3, which simply means I will need to find her another Z3 or Z4 but with an automatic transmission.

Categorized in: