A drop-dead gorgeous design with sensuous curves and sophisticated performance, the BMW 507 Roadster has the lot.
Launched in 1955, the 507 was a fleeting albeit brilliant return to the sporting heritage that once flourished with the successful BMW 328 prior to World War II. American BMW importer Max Hoffman appointed Fritz Fiedler to handle the engineering, with mechanical components largely sourced from the 502 and 503 series, and had Count Albrecht Goertz pen its sensuous lines, who had the 503 already to his credit.
Unarguably an elegant masterpiece, the 507 was powered by the same 3.2-liter aluminum block V8 found in the 502 and 503, but with twin carburetors the 507 developed a rated 150hp. Following its unveiling at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show, production of the car began in November 1956 and two-and-a-half years later it ended, with only 251 examples built. Essentially a hand-built car, BMW lost money on each one even after the initial price point of $5,000 increased to $9,000 and then $11,000. That said, the lofty price tag failed to deter the elite target market envisioned for the 507, which included Elvis Presley.
Count Agusta also rewarded Grand Prix champion John Surtees with a model for winning the 1956 500cc World Motorcycle Championship with an MV Agusta motorbike. In 1957 the design was slightly revised with the appearance of the Series II models, with increased engine output and additional space behind the seats to accommodate taller drivers. Although many 507 Roadsters were purchased for their aesthetic quality, the cars were sophisticated performers. Top speeds ranged from 124 to 136mph, with a 0-60mph time of 8.8 seconds and a quarter-mile of 16.5 seconds.
A recent professional restoration by RM Auto Restoration has resulted in the car being equipped with a correct but not original, BMW 507 V8 engine. The sleek and sexy body is finished in black, complemented by a green interior and complete with $20,000 reproduction Rudge alloys in black and silver. This very desirable Series II example was an exceedingly rare car when new, and is even more so today. RM Auction will be putting it under the hammer on 19 January at their Arizona auction and expect it to be sold for between $900,000 and $1.2 million. Photos courtesy of RM Auctions.