In the 1950s, there was no bigger celebrity walking around on this planet than Elvis Presley. “The King of Rock ‘n Roll” however was not exempt from serving in the Army and his service took him to Germany for two years, the place where he witnessed none other than Hans Stuck doing his thing behind the wheel of a race BMW 507. Having fallen in love with the curves of the car, the legend decided to buy that exact car for himself in December 1958.
The color of the 507 wasn’t initially to the liking of The King. Being Feather White when it came into Presley’s possession, it was quickly covered in kisses, phone numbers, and messages— often written in red lipstick. Therefore the man decided to eventually repaint the roadster in a flashy red to camouflage the marks and had its 3.2-liter V8 engine rebuilt.
The ultimate celebrity automobile, Presley’s 507 was featured in international magazines and even had a role in a minor movie. By 1960 the car made its way to the United States and was campaigned by Tommy Charles. After passing through several other owners, Jack Castor purchased it in 1968 and kept it for decades.
It took Albert Graf Goertz only three sketches to design the lines of the 507 roadster we know and love today. The prototype was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1955. It had a top speed of 205 km/h (127 mph) and made a remarkably significant contribution to Bayerische Motoren Werke’s image. Of the 254 BMW 507 models that were made, almost all of them still exist today.
Now in the care of BMW Group Classic, the car has received a complete restoration over the course of the past two years. The restored BMW 507 “Elvis Presley” roadster — now back to its original Feather White — is making its public debut at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Sunday, on August 21.
Resting alongside this BMW 507 on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links will be a hand-picked selection of important BMWs that tell the story of the marque’s centenary. Included are a pair of racing BMW 328s that drove in the last prewar Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as a pair of BMW Art Cars, including the very first one painted by Alexander Calder and the most recent by Jeff Koons. A 1930 BMW 3/15 DA2 Cabriolet, one of the first motor cars BMW built, will be present as will the smallest BMW ever built, an Isetta 300 Police “Bubble Car,” and one of the largest BMWs ever, a 3200 Autenrieth Cabriolet. Rounding off the BMW story will be a special class of BMW motorcycles, which is where BMW’s story really began.