The BMW Z3 isn’t considered particularly cool or desirable, despite starring in a Bond film, having a rear-drive chassis that shares plenty with the acclaimed E36 3-Series, and being available with some fantastic straight-six engines. The exceptions to that rule are the M versions: the M Roadster, and even more so, the oddball Z3-based M Coupe, which is affectionately known as the “Clown Shoe” by enthusiasts thanks to its quirky shooting brake design.
But the kit car industry has spotted that the regular Z3’s mechanical make-up and its classic sports car proportions, plus all the luxury and convenience kit you get on a late 1990s, early 2000s BMW, make it a great base from which to replicate some GT heroes from yesteryear, including the Ferrari 250 GT SWB.
A real one of those will set you back $10 million; a top-drawer reproduction from GTO engineering, around $1 million. Or you could buy this BMW Z3-based lookalike for $48,000. And while we’re not dumb enough to suggest anyone considering one might consider the other, is it dumb to think that someone about to spend the $50,000 a really nice Clown Shoe costs might have their head turned, at least momentarily, by the idea of buying this instead?
Okay, maybe it’s a slim chance, and the fact that this car is based on a regular 3.0-liter Z3, rather than an M Roadster, would probably help sway a decision for some interest parties. But the 3.0 Z3 isn’t short on go, its 228 hp (231 PS) straight-six ironically not being a million miles away from the power and performance of a 1960s Ferrari 250.
Related: GTO Engineering’s $1m 250 SWB Is The Ferrari Classic You Can Crash And Not Care
The hottest SWB cars might have been pushing 276 hp (280 PS), but many road-biased cars from the 250 family were rated at 237 hp (240 PS), and took around 7-8 seconds to reach 60 mph (96 km/h) according to period Road & Track test data, compared with 6 seconds for the Z3 – though the weight of all that fibreglass might make this one a little slower…
Located in the England and advertised for sale on eBay UK, this car is based on a 2000 model-year Z3 and was transformed by, or using a kit from, Tribute Automotive, whose website no longer lists this particular style of conversion. We’ve seen a few similar cars before but this is definitely one of the better ones because the builder has gone to the trouble of fitting a 1960s-style dashboard while still retaining the air conditioning, rather than taking the easy route and sticking with the BMW interior.
These kind of conversions will always divide opinion, but we kind of like this one. What do you think? This or a Clown Shoe?