Arizona

19 - 20 January 2012

Lot 128

1959 BMW 507 Roadster

To be auctioned on Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sold for $990,000

  • Chassis no. 70203
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


150-155 bhp (DIN rating), 168 cc all-alloy OHV V-8 engine, dual carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with dual A-arms and torsion bars, live rear axle with torsion bars, and hydraulic front disc, rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 97.6"

• A very desirable Series II example
• Professionally restored by RM Auto Restoration
• 3.2-liter, dual-carburetor V-8; excellent color combination
• One of only 251 examples built in total
• Attractive Rudge wheels

The BMW 507 was a brief but brilliant reinstatement of BMW’s sporting heritage that had flourished with the successful BMW 328 prior to World War II. Launched in 1955, the 507 was envisioned by American BMW importer Max Hoffman to fill the divide between the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the far less expensive and powerful offerings from MG and Triumph. Mechanical components were largely sourced from the 502 and 503 series, with engineering led by Fritz Fiedler. Since Hoffman was dissatisfied with preliminary body designs, he eventually had Count Albrecht Goertz, who had the earlier 503 already to his credit, pen the sensuous lines of the 507.

As with all its cars, the 507 was a tangible expression of the characteristic BMW excellence in performance, construction and design. At once an elegant masterpiece and a downright gorgeous design with sensuous curves, the 507 was powered by the 3.2-liter overhead-valve aluminum block V-8 engine that was shared with the 502 and 503 series but developed a rated 150 bhp with twin carburetors.

Hoffman initially targeted a $5,000 price point for the 507, but BMW, which essentially hand-built each car, could not reach profitable production levels. The 507’s initial $9,000 price quickly escalated to over $11,000. Despite the increase, BMW reportedly lost money on each one. Production began in November 1956 following an unveiling at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show and ended two-and-a-half years later with only 251 examples built, not counting a completely different prototype and two “one-off” examples.

However, the lofty price of the 507 did not deter the elite target market envisioned for the 507, including iconic entertainer Elvis Presley. Eventual Grand Prix world champion John Surtees was given a 507 by Count Agusta as a reward for winning the 1956 500cc World Motorcycle Championship with an MV Agusta motorcycle.

The design was slightly revised in 1957 with the appearance of the Series II models. Differences included increased engine output and a little additional space behind the seats to give taller drivers a more comfortable driving position. While many 507 Roadsters were purchased by their original owners purely on the basis of their stunning aesthetics and sporting open bodywork, the cars were sophisticated performers in the finest BMW tradition. A number of final-drive ratios were available with the 507, ranging from 3.70:1 to 4.20:1 depending upon the customer order, with top speeds for the 507 ranging from 124 to 136 mph. Acceleration from rest to 60 mph was equally impressive at 8.8 seconds, and while not intended for the drag strip, the 507 covered the quarter-mile in just 16.5 seconds.

According to BMW Classic, the example offered here, chassis 70203, was completed on December 9, 1958, and on February 26, 1959 it was delivered to the official BMW importer FADEX Commercial Corp., located at 487 Park Avenue, New York City. Eventually the car found its way to Puerto Rico, where it was located and then returned to North America for a recent professional restoration by RM Auto Restoration.

During the exhaustive restoration process, the car was equipped with a proper BMW 507 V-8 engine. Although BMW Classic confirms that this engine is not original to the car, it is of the correct type.

As offered, this 507 sports excellent colors, with the sleek and sexy body finished in black and complemented by a green interior. The car presents “as-new,” and the engine bay is likewise nicely detailed. The car is complete with a set of correct reproduction Rudge alloy wheels, which are strikingly finished in black and silver, at a cost of some $20,000. Exceedingly rare when new and even more so today, this BMW 507 boasts all the essential ingredients for collectability and desirability: sinuous open bodywork, sophisticated V-8 power, a professional restoration and superb presentation.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

pgiddings@rmauctions.com

+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

pblond@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

jwhiteside@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more