19-20 January 2012

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Lot 128

1959 BMW 507 Roadster

  • Chassis no. 70203
  • Engine no. 40190
  • Body no. 1201

Sold for $990,000

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.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

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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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

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California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more