BMW E52 Z8

Thanks to twenty years worth of hindsight, the market has woken up to just how excellent the cars BMW was making at the turn of the millennium have always been. The year 2021 marks the twentieth anniversary of the 2001 BMW lineup, a product offering which included the Z8, E46 M3, E39 M5, E38 740i, the Z3, and the X5. BMW hasn’t seen fit to pay homage to what could be the brand’s greatest model portfolio, but one YouTuber, Tyler Hoover of Hoovies Garage, has worked to assemble his own version of what he calls the 2001 BMW Dream Team.

Hoover has already acquired an E38 740i in the short wheelbase configuration with the sport package, along with an E39 M5 which needs a bit of attention to be brought back up to par, and in the masochism that is the YouTube car scene, has since moved into finding the next candidates to fill the roster of the BMW dream team. These include a Z3 2.3i firmly in the project category, an E46 M3 that may or may not need a transmission replacement, and a Z8 that makes all of them look like child’s play. They’re all finished in Titanium Silver metallic, and Hoover plans to line them all up once he’s finished assembling the collection for the photoshoot that BMW itself never performed.

First up is the 2001 Z3 2.3i, which Hoover acquired for the low sum of $2,000. Described as a theft repossession which may also exhibit some flood damage, the Z3 has less than 100,000 miles, but looks like it needs almost everything. An inspection performed by Hoover’s BMW specialist, the Car Ninja, reveals that the Z3 isn’t quite as bad as it appears, but the cosmetic and interior issues alone would be enough to frustrate the average driver to the point of dropping the old BMW roadster off at the junkyard. The Z3 has almost all of the conventional oil leaks and will need wear items like suspension bits, brakes, and tires among much more, but considering the low entry price, it might turn out to be one of Hoover’s better car purchases, considering his track record with BMW.

If you’re wondering why Hoover opted for a project Z3 instead of something like a Z3 M roadster or coupe, it’s because he’s already owned and made videos of them.

Next up is Hoover’s recently purchased 2001 six-speed M3, which he was able to acquire for a price significantly below that of the current market rate, because it might just need a transmission. With less than 80,000 miles, Hoover’s E46 M3 looks like a well-kept example, a sentiment echoed by the Car Ninja, but even choosing the more reliable and desirable of the drivetrain choices (a six-speed manual over SMG) doesn’t mean the YouTuber is going to escape without a substantial repair bill. A post-purchase inspection confirms what the shiny side indicates, with the 2001 M3 having been well-maintained throughout its life, but with a whine that can be heard from the Getrag six-speed transmission when the clutch is applied. The sound isn’t the conventional throwout bearing rattle or the knocking sound of a worn dual-mass flywheel, and when the transmission fluid level is checked, the case being full indicates a transmission replacement might be in order.

The final estimate for the E46 M3 is far below what Hoover is used to having to shell out for his cars, German or not, but it doesn’t include the price of a used Getrag S6S 420G six-speed manual transmission. Hoover will likely the source the transmission at a steep discount from one of his sponsors, which happens to be a nationwide salvage yard network, but the need for a transmission in an otherwise pristine E46 M3 gives the YouTuber pause. When taken in concert with the other known issues of the E46 M3 as a whole, including the rear subframe, rod bearings, Vanos, and need for regular valve adjustments, Hoover questions whether the third-generation M3 is actually worth what they’re currently selling for—but soon relents after some time behind the wheel.

The final model up for discussion in relation to Hoover’s pursuit to own the 2001 BMW Dream Team is the best. It’s a 2001 BMW Z8 finished in the timeless color combination of Titanium Silver metallic over black. Hoover considers the Z8 to be the greatest BMW ever built, and his example had just 37,000 miles on it at the time of purchase. Nevertheless, it still ends up needing some work, with problems like a fuel door that doesn’t pop open on command and detached seat backings (a common Z8 fault). The good news is that, after just a few minutes behind the wheel on the way home, Hoover agrees with the current going rate for a Z8, proclaiming that such a driving experience simply isn’t available in the cars of today.

Viewers are clearly looking forward to the next installment of Tyler Hoover’s pursuit to acquire the 2001 BMW Dream Team, are curious to see what a full inspection of the Z8 reveals, and how it compares to the well-used E39 M5 he’s also fixing up, with which it shares a drivetrain.

There’s also something to be said for the renewed interest in cars from BMW’s golden age, but we’ve already devoted a number of articles to that here on BimmerLife.—Alex Tock

[Photos courtesy BMW AG. Videos courtesy Hoovies Garage on YouTube.]



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