With only 252 units built from 1956 to 1959, the BMW 507 remains one of the rarest and most expensive BMWs ever built. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, BMW will be opening an exhibition at its museum in Munich. Called “Family Affairs – Variations on a Design Icon,” visitors to BMW’s facility will be able to see the design drafts to see where all of the elements of this car originally came from. A a Michelotti-designed red 507 concept can be seen also on display. Giovanni Michelotti is regarded as one of the most prolific and talented sports cars designers of the 20th century. A 507 prototype will make an appearance as well.
BMW’s new roadster was hastily unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn 1955, where it was presented to an enthusiastic crowd. Rumors have it that the Frankfurt show car carried cement bags instead of a proper engine in the engine bay and that the first real car was shown at the later Paris Show.
The BMW 507 Roadster was designed by Count Albrecht Goertz, a young German designer then living in New York and later responsible for another beautiful car, the Datsun 240 Z-series
A production-ready 507 was also unveiled at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1955 and its design has impressed everyone in the attendance. The car featured the now familiar roadster proportions with short overhangs and a long hood, the iconic twin-kidney grille and the dynamic stance.
Under the hood it featured a new 3.2 liter V8 engine with Zenith dual-barrel carburetors, producing 148 horsepower. A four speed transmission would send power to the rear wheels. The 0 to 60 mph sprint was recorded at around 10 seconds while the top speed was limited to 136 mph. An impressive automobile for the ’50s.
But what began very promising later turned into a financial disaster for BMW. When launched new it had not only a hefty price tag – $11,000 – due to BMW’s principles in build quality and strength but it was so expensive that even millionaires, a then rare species in Germany after WW II, considered not to waste so much money buying the luxurious car. Had BMW been able to reduce production costs, there would undoubtedly have been more 507 sales.
However, the 507 Roadster did manage to draw the attention of a particular American Rock star then stationed in Germany, his name was Elvis Presley and we BMW recently took possession of King’s car to restore it.
A recent auction had a 507 sell for $2.4 million, not a bad investment even considering the inflation.