BMW never made a fixed-roof version of its lovely Z8 Roadster from the early 2000s. That hasn't stopped Smit Vehicle Engineering, a small team of two brothers, from building their own. The kicker? SVE's car isn't based on a Z8, it looks to be based on its smaller brother, the Z4.
Instead of mangling one of the original 400 Z8 Roadsters built by BMW by grafting a makeshift hardtop to the body, SVE decided to use an E86-generation Z4 Coupe as the basis for their car, called the Oletha. While that's not disclosed on the company's website, a few seconds of staring at pictures will give it away. The body is made from carbon fiber composite, while the front and rear fascias, with their distinct headlights, wide kidney grilles, and razor thin taillights, are a clear nod back to the original Z8.
Gone is the Z4 coupe's inline-six, in its place an S65B44 4.4-liter naturally aspirated V-8 from the E92-generation M3 GTS, a car that wasn't sold in America. It sports individual throttle bodies, a carbon fiber intake manifold and a custom stainless steel and Inconel exhaust system. The engine revs to 8500 rpm and sends power to the rear wheels via a proper six-speed manual and a mechanical limited-slip differential. It's like a BMW greatest hits mashup.
Tucked inside the wheel wells is a KW 2-way adjustable suspension system with stainless steel damper construction. It's paired to forged aluminum control arms that support AP Racing brakes and forged monoblock wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Inside you'll find a two-seater layout "dressed in the highest-quality materials," according to SVE, along with 8-way adjustable seats and an "audiophile-level" sound system.
The Oletha is available to order right now through SVE's site, though the company doesn't list any pricing—not surprising for a low-volume manufacturer like this one. Considering all of the high-quality materials and bespoke work necessary to build this car, we suspect it's not cheap. But what you're getting is one of the coolest tributes to early 2000s BMW history we've seen. Judging by the specs, it's probably a hoot to drive.
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