- One of only 273 Coupé variants of the BMW 503
- Powered by an accomplished 3.2-litre V-8 engine with five-speed manual gearbox
- Retains charming period features such as Becker Mexico radio and sunroof
As global economies looked to rebuild after World War II, automotive manufacturers vied to develop new ideas to reignite sales. BMW eyed the high-end market as a viable solution, in-part influenced by Max Hoffman, the New York-based importer of luxury European cars, who was convinced such cars would yield a profit in the US. As a result, the BMW 503 became the manufacturer’s first purpose-designed post-war coupé, also made in cabriolet form.
In either closed or open form, the 503 was positioned as an opulent grand tourer and was built alongside the luxuriously appointed 507 Roadster. With its welded tubular frame construction, aluminium panels, and alloy V-8 engine, the 503 quickly proved very expensive to build. During a production run from May 1956 to March 1959, BMW built just 413 Coupé and Cabriolet examples; 273 of those were the attractive tin-top version. Despite attempts to appeal to the US market with the fitment of a 3.2-litre V-8 engine, both the 503 and 507 struggled to bring in the sales expected by BMW, in large part due to a higher-than-expected list price, inflated due to spiralling build costs.
Today, the low production numbers of the 503 Coupé result in the model being highly coveted among collectors. The limited consumer interest during its years of manufacture reflect unfairly on the 503, an attractive classic powered by one of the most characterful engines BMW had produced. The long bonnet, 2+2 seating configuration, and ample boot space affirm the 503 Coupé’s status as an elegant and capable grand tourer.
The example offered here, chassis 69359, is presented in beige over a tan leather interior. Its light colouring is complemented by the generous application of chrome lavished on both the exterior and interior. The BMW features many charming period features, such as the Becker Mexico radio and sunroof. A tin-box toolkit can be found mounted within the engine bay.
Arguably one of the rarest and most desirable BMWs of the 1950s, the next owner of this 503 Coupé will surely revel in its attractive styling and characterful road manners.