1957 BMW 507

Sold For €728.000

Villa d'Este

Chassis No.
Engine No.
150 bhp, 3,168 cc all alloy overhead valve V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bars, live rear axle with torsion bars, and front disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,480 mm (98")

- From the highly-respected Panini Collection

- An extremely original Series II example, with its original hardtop

- Delivered new to Zurich; believed only three owners from new

- Well documented, with long-term single ownership

- One of only 251 examples built

The BMW 507 was a brief, brilliant reinstatement of BMW’s sporting heritage that had flourished with the successful BMW 328 before World War II. Launched in 1955, the 507 entered production in 1956 as a 1957 model. It was a tangible statement that BMW embodied the highest standards in performance, construction and design. Envisioned by Max Hoffman with a stunning design by Count Albrecht Goertz, it was an elegant masterpiece and a downright gorgeous design, powered by a 3.2-litre pushrod-operated, overhead valve aluminium block V-8.

Hoffman 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-offs.

The design was slightly revised in 1957 with the appearance of the Series II. Differences included increased horsepower and a little additional space behind the seats to give taller drivers a more comfortable driving position. Front disc brakes were first offered as optional equipment in 1959.

Chassis no. 70048

The extraordinary BMW 507 we have the pleasure of presenting here, chassis 70048, was delivered new to Zurich, Switzerland, where it remained for most of its life. A Series II example, it is fitted with front disc brakes. Indeed, beginning in 1959, BMW marketed kits for the drum-to-disc brake conversion, which the car’s first owner likely took advantage of. According to a letter from BMW Mobile Tradition to its previous owner in June 1996, the car was finished new in Papyrus and fitted with a Becker Mexico Radio, precisely the way it is presented today.

It was delivered on 18th July, 1957 to the general BMW importer in Zurich before being sold to its first owners, Bernhard and Elly Gerwer of Uetikon am See, one of the suburban towns along the Lake of Zurich, a short 30-minute drive from the city centre. One or both of the Gerwers were architects, with an office on Weinbergstrasse 68 in downtown Zurich. It seems they drove the car quite regularly, accumulating about 71,000 kms by the late 1970s, likely commuting to and from their office along the north shore of the lake, like so many other Zurich professionals who work in the city and live elsewhere in the canton.

The car is offered with correspondence relating to parts inquiries and service repairs. Indeed, in 1977, Bernhard was involved in a minor fender-bender at the Tiefenbrunnen rail station in the Seefeld quarter of Zurich. According to insurance paperwork included in the file, Mr. Gerwer rear-ended a motorist who was forced to halt abruptly after a city bus veered into traffic.

The car was fully repaired but nevertheless remains extraordinarily original to this day, appropriately finished in cantonal colours of white over blue leather. After residing with the Gerwers, the car was ultimately acquired by Umberto Panini through high-end Swiss car dealer Christoph Grohe. Prior to selling it, Grohe treated the car to a comprehensive mechanical overhaul as evidenced by the correspondence in the file. The car has resided in the highly respected Panini Collection of Modena, Italy ever since, where it keeps company with one of the most complete and important assortment of Maseratis in the world.

The car is in excellent and largely original condition having been re-sprayed only once. Most of the mileage was accumulated while in its first ownership, and the odometer currently shows less than 90,000 kms. The car comes with its original factory hard-top, original factory-fitted interior, including the original Becker Mexico radio which is all in very good condition, and tight-fitting carpets. The only blemish being a small, easily reparable tear in the driver’s seat. Even more remarkable is the fact that it comes with its original protective rubber mats in white, original wheel brace and the spare wheel. Nevertheless, a thorough professional cleaning would be of benefit.

In extraordinary time-warp condition and complete with ASI Gold certificate as well as FIVA documents, this is unquestionably one of the very best and original BMW 507s available today. Very few of these cars were built, and they have stood the test of time beautifully, as they are admired not only for their stunning, trendsetting design which has influenced contemporary BMW models (including the Z8), but also because they are tremendously capable event cars, participating regularly in European driving events and taking top honours at concours events the world over.

Ownership of a BMW 507, both then and now, signified a taste for the very best. They were owned by such celebrities as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Mario Del Monaco, Jean Marais, Elvis Presley, John Surtees, Ornella Vanoni and Luchino Visconti, and certainly the price tag of $11,000 placed them in league with the finest Italian and British exotics. That said, a collector car’s originality cannot be replicated. With known history, including long-term ownership by its first owner, this 507 offered from the highly respected Panini Collection is undoubtedly one of the most desirable examples on the market.

Lot Number

6 December 2017

New York - ICONS

Sotheby's 10th Floor Galleries, New York, New York

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18 - 19 January 2018


Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona

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