1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II
$2,500,000 - $3,000,000
RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 2019 - Offered on: Friday, January 18, 2019
- One of just 252 examples
- Desirable Series II example with rare factory hardtop
- Correct and desirable five-speed gearbox
- Comprehensive restoration by TT Workshops
- Fitted with a correct-type 160-hp engine
- Presented at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
It was the drumbeats from Max Hoffman’s New York office that led to the creation of the Porsche Speedster, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and 190 SL, and this car, the BMW 507. While BMW would have eventually recognized the performance capabilities of its engineering, or how the American market’s thirst for fast, beautiful, open two-seaters had not yet been quenched, it was Hoffman who spurred on the effort, by demanding stylish machinery that would bridge the divide between low-priced MGs, the Porsches, and the pricey 300 SL in his lineup.
The 507 would utilize the best of Bavaria, with mechanical components sourced from the 502 and 503 series, including a 3.2-liter, overhead-valve aluminum block V-8, which had been improved with twin carburetors in order to produce some 150-plus hp. Like most great automobiles, however, it would not have become a legend if not for its flowing, downright sensuous curves. It was Max Hoffman who had final approval of the design, so he requested the services of Count Albrecht von Goertz, a protégé of famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, whose futuristic themes for Studebaker in the early ’50s had caught Hoffman’s discerning eye. For Hoffman and BMW, Goertz imagined some of the most beautiful lines ever folded into metal.
The 507 was hand-built at a price that eventually reached over $11,000, which was a towering sum for any car at the time, and it was discontinued after only two-and-a-half years and 252 examples. The basic lines of the 507 went on to inspire one of the greatest modern BMW designs, including the Z8, which became its spiritual successor in the carriage houses of the wealthy and stylish.
This BMW 507 roadster is a later series II example and was completed and delivered on 10 July 1958 to G. Dagmar in Munich, Germany. The car was originally finished in Spring White and included the attractive removable hardtop. The car was then sold to Werner Preis in Dusseldorf. According to BMW Group Archive, at some point in the car’s life, it was fitted with a replacement 160-hp engine which was stamped with the original number. The original engine is believed to exist in another 507 in Europe.
In early 2000, the car was discovered by Charles Crail and sold to Microsoft Vice President Rick Thompson of Bellevue, Washington, who was in search for a Pebble-Beach restoration candidate. At the time the car was finished in white with a black leather interior and with 77,000 km (48,000 miles). The car was shipped to John Giles at TT Workshops Ltd. in Westbury, England, for a complete body-off restoration. Upon delivery, Giles noted that the car was, “a very nice, well-maintained automobile. Very complete, and virtually all parts correct.” This made for an excellent starting point for a Pebble Beach-quality restoration, which was completed over a two-year period. The engine and gearbox were completely rebuilt at this time. The concours-quality restoration was featured in the July 2002 issue of Roundel, the publication for the BMW Club of America. Upon completion, the car was shipped to the U.S. in July of 2002, just in time to partake in the Pebble Beach festivities the following month where it participated in the Tour d’Elegance as well as the Concours d’Elegance.
In February of 2003, Mr. Thompson sold the car to a private collector. Under his ownership the BMW was driven roughly 2,000 miles and attended numerous events, including the Kirkland Concours in 2007 and 2008, winning 1st in Class both years; campaigned in the 2008 Copperstate 1000; and The Allure of the Automobile at Portland Art Museum in July 2011. During this ownership, the car was well maintained by Vintage Racing Motors of Redmond, Washington.
In August of 2014, the car was acquired by another private collection. The current owner has enjoyed the car, choosing not to show it but always keeping it well maintained. The car has benefitted from an annual service each year, while addressing any maintenance items that arose. The 507 remains in splendid condition, with its restoration holding up very nicely. It is accompanied by a complete tool kit, three volumes of documentation, including restoration photos and invoices, as well as a convertible top boot cover and tonneau cover.
Presented in Midnight Blue with a color-matched hardtop over a red leather interior, this 507 is a wonderful example of the marque. Featuring reliable disc brakes and desirable five-speed gearbox, this classic German sports car is a very usable classic, ideal for road rallies and vintage touring.