1998 250 SWB Tribute


・Excellent build finish
・Thorough service history and paperwork
・Only 3000 miles since its conversion
﹒Reg plate included

The Background

Tribute Automotive specialise in designing and manufacturing body conversions based on the talented chassis and running gear of the BMW formidable Z3s and Z4s. As a sound foundation to build a car on, the company have created something of a desirable niche by adding a little retro style that will liven up anyone's drive. As a reworking of the iconic and rather unobtainable Ferrari 250 SWB, the Tribute is a perfect metaphor to describe the phrase ‘ best of both worlds'. 

To the casual observer, you’ll be seen as a multi-millionaire, to the slightly more focused, it will be a source of interest and conversation. Its build quality and attention to details mean that you don’t need to mention the F-word, but perhaps revel in its sensible everyday usability, reliability and practicality. Not words often associated with vintage Ferraris. The original builder of this car went beyond the scope of creativity, and incorporated many details and touches not seen on any other Tribute, which has provided it with a little extra class and finesse.

The History

The car started out as a 1998 BMW Z3 2.8, which was bought in 2012 and maintained by the original builder, a well-known body shop expert. The donor car is thought to have had 7 previous owners and was in good working order with no structural issues. The BMW had a full MOT when converted with a handful of suspension and brake related advisories, which were rectified once the transformation took place. The Tribute underwent extensive labour of love after being purchased as a kit from the manufacturers in 2014/2015. The hours spent building, fettling, refining and detailing ran into months of labour, but the creator had a clear vision of what the car should look like and finished it in a competition style, which piqued the attention of the current owner in 2019. As a die-hard car enthusiast who has a collection of delectable connoisseur automobiles, she was captivated by the beautiful finish and near-perfect contours of the Tribute and felt it needed a place in the collection. After two years of enjoying the double-glances, as well as the dialogue and goodwill from strangers, she has decided to sell the car, mainly to create a little more space. 

The Paperwork

The car retains its original BMW handbooks, which includes 13 service stamps as part of a comprehensive folder full of invoices and build costs which the owner has collated as part of the sale of the car. The car was also serviced by its builder in 2019, with the latest invoice for a service being carried out by a specialist in September 2020. The car has averaged around 3,000 miles since its rebuild and has been kept under cover during the current owner's two-year relationship with this unique vehicle. It has an MOT until September 2021.
The Interior

The original steering wheel has been replaced by a Springalex item, which is undoubtedly far better suited to the style of the car. The car has also been fitted with an aftermarket gear knob, which is also in good condition. The carpets and mats display hardly any suggestions of wear and have been looked after. There are no scuffs or damage on the custom door cards and cappings. The black leather low-back bucket seats with Willans harnesses are in very good condition with minimal wear. The original BMW dashboard is in good condition with the plastics wearing their years well and all of the dials, controls and switches said to be fully operational. The interior is geared up to suggest race use, with a roll cage and fire extinguisher, an array of period race car decals and scrutiny passes. In reality, the car has not seen any form of serious competition but helps to feed the imagination of the many admirers of this car and adds to the sporty ambience of the interior. The usable boot space comes with an original BMW tool kit, the boot is furnished with its original carpet, which is in good condition.

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The Exterior 

The build quality of the car is impressive. With the recent prominence of quality replica’s of iconic cars coming into the public domain, the Tribute potentially offers a finish that could arguably be better than the original Ferrari, thanks in part to the BMW base but also the quality dedication of the build. The finish of the fibreglass bodywork is good, with no creases, cracks and uneven gaps observed throughout. Obviously, rust is not going to be a concern externally so it's good to know that the car is structurally good, with no significant issues observed on the floor pan, engine bay or suspension mounting points. One of the numerous benefits of using a BMW donor is the doors still shut with the trademark BMW solidity. The bonnet is said to open and close with ease, aided by quality gas struts. The paint finish has been carried out to a high standard, and there are no significant blemishes observed that may distract from the well-formed lines. The shine retains a good even lustre throughout, with no swirls or imperfections noted. 

The door and glass rubbers are good, with no signs of perishing. The windscreen and back glass is in good condition, with no defects, chips or significant damage. The glass and finishing are in good condition and the sliding glass with steel surround provides a lovely aesthetic detail that neatly leads on to the trims and detailing. The fuel filler cap is a dummy item, but it is a pleasing piece of jewellery and neatly hides the original fuel filler. The reproduction Lucas P700 7” headlamps, spotlights as well as shapely indicators, go some way into providing the car with a faithful look. However, there is a touch of genuine Ferrari authenticity which provides a neat conversation point, as you can point out the use of the genuine prancing horse door mirrors and handles. To help complete the look, the car sports a set of near immaculate 17” steel race-style wheels finished off with a set of neat Dunlop spinners. The Falken tyres are around 5 years old and are in very good condition with limited evidence of wear. 

The Mechanics 

The Tribute is based on the first-generation BMW Z3 running gear and chassis, and it's that modern underpinning that holds the secret to the combination of everyday usability with genuine sporting ability. While it’s easy to dismiss the driver aids, such as traction control and ABS, the cars sporting and minimalist character shines through, particularly when you take into account the lightweight fibreglass body. The M52 2.8-litre 190bhp engine is a well-proven and reliable unit with a good reputation and this one has the added reassurance of impressive service history. As a result, the car runs well with no issues, unwanted noises or evidence of neglect. The physical condition of the engine is good with the owner stating it has offered reliability beyond reproach thanks to its yearly service and regular use. She also reports no engine components have needed replacement over the two years of ownership. The exhaust is noteworthy as the only additional piece of kit added during this time. The beautifully made straight-through stainless steel system, adds a little extra drama to the soundtrack of the car. The car is said to start up on the button, with no defects noted and retains the originals ability to suppress road noise once on the move. The engine is leak-free and reaches temperature as expected, with no reported problems with the cars cooling system. The suspension is said to be free from knocks and dampers absorb the ride well. On the road, the experience is said to be like a lightweight version of a Z3, encompassing the qualities of the precise and nicely weighted gear shift, nimble handling with a zingy rhapsody.

The Appeal

As most seasoned buyers of kit cars can testify, the fettling and finish depend on the talent and patience of the builder, so it's heartening to learn that this example has seen an astonishing level of care since its metamorphosis. With the market recognising the demand for top end replicas, this particular Tribute stands proud among one of the best of the breed. This Tribute 250 combines the style of what is probably a terrific take on one of the most desirable cars in the world at a fraction of the cost thanks to the high-quality finish, good service history, and well-maintained running gear. 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1998
  • Make BMW
  • Model Z3
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 101,972 Miles
  • Engine size 2793
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
14 bids from 8 bidders
  • Di•••• £40,000 09/06/21
  • Di•••• £39,000 09/06/21
  • Di•••• £37,000 09/06/21
  • bo•••• £35,250 09/06/21
  • Di•••• £35,000 08/06/21
  • Di•••• £30,000 08/06/21
  • Di•••• £25,000 08/06/21
  • re•••• £22,000 08/06/21
  • Ha•••• £20,000 08/06/21
  • re•••• £18,000 08/06/21

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