Along the current cars in their range, BMW also has a special department, called BMW Classics, that is busy bringing to life lost treasures of the brand. Like this BMW 507, owned by Elvir Presley a few decades ago. The car has a special story and now is alive again.
The BMW 507 was driven by US musician Elvis Presley, famous already at that time as the “King of Rock’n’Roll”, while he was doing his military service in Germany. After that it disappeared for nearly 50 years and was believed to have been lost before returning to the limelight.
It took almost two years of exacting restoration work, and now BMW Group Classic is presenting the roadster for the first time in a public arena. Restored to its original condition, it will be exhibited on 21 August 2016 at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.
The BMW 507 with chassis number 70079 will be on view for visitors to the popular classic car show exactly as it was when soldier Elvis Presley took delivery of the car on 20 December 1958: with paintwork finished in Feather White, the 150 hp V8 aluminium engine under the bonnet, centre-lock rims, black-and-white interior and a Becker Mexico radio.
The condition of the two-seater really was a cause for concern. Although the original body parts and other components were virtually all present and intact, the roadster had lost its engine and gearbox. The rear axle was a “replacement part” of unknown origin, rust was eating away the floor assembly, the seats were worn and there was no instrument panel.
Elvis Presley used the BMW 507 to drive between his home in Bad Nauheim and the US Army Base in Friedberg. His female fans always kept a close eye on him and he was often mobbed by them. The paintwork of the roadster was frequently daubed with messages of love painted in lipstick. These signs of adoration were by no means unusual for a rock star but they were an embarrassment to Presley as a young US soldier. A new livery in Red for the vehicle solved the problem.
The BMW 507 has always been one of the most exclusive and sought-after rarities in the model history of the brand with just 254 automobiles being produced between 1955 and 1959. Right after its world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in 1955, the two-seater penned by designer Albrecht Graf Goertz was hailed in the press as the “Dream from the Isar”. Celebrity owners like Alain Delon, Ursula Andress and John Surtees contributed to the image of the roadster as a status symbol.