What was the first Alpina model to be sold in the U.S. through official channels? You’d be forgiven for guessing the E65-based B7, but it was actually the Alpina V8 Roadster, which was derived from the Z8. BMW produced approximately 5,700 Z8s from the tail end of 1998 until mid-2003, and as the model was signing off, manufacturing of the Alpina V8 Roadster began. Limited production initially included 333 units, but the final total was 555, of which 450 were exported to the U.S.
Although Alpina has long been known for improving BMW models, the Alpina V8 Roadster is perhaps best described as different, as opposed to better than the Z8. Instead of the S62 M V8 and six-speed manual drivetrain of the Z8, the Alpina V8 Roadster uses a version of BMW’s M62 V8 called the F5 with a lengthened stroke that displaces 4.8 liters, mated to a five-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. There are other differences as well, like a more supple suspension (ask Satch Carlson), different wheels, and changes made to the interior like Alpina’s signature blue gauges with red needles, among more.
Even with the Z8 being the obvious performance choice though, Hagerty assigns a slightly higher average value to the V8 Roadster, meaning the model’s rarity stands for something—there are roughly ten Z8s for every one Alpina V8 Roadster. No matter which one is your cup of tea though, it’s not hard to see why both are special vehicles models of a pampered existence.
Such was not the case for the Alpina V8 Roadster which is the subject of the video below. Described as having been driven regularly and then left to sit outside for four years, the Schwarz II paint was in need of revitalization after the roadster had led a harder life than its production stablemates. The task fell to Larry Kosilla, founder of detailing brand Ammo NYC. It took Kosilla something on the order of three days to complete the detail, but the transformation and end result are worth watching taking place. The dent on the nose still has to be dealt with—and aluminum bodywork doesn’t come cheap, especially on a hand-assembled vehicle like a Z8—but we’ll be curious to see what this rare Alpina roadster sells for when it cross the auction block later this year.—Alex Tock
[Photo courtesy BMW AG. Video courtesy Ammo NYC on YouTube.]