But if Elvis himself had two, it must be worth the cash.
In the 1950s, BMW decided the USA needed an upmarket sports car explicitly aimed at the wealthy. The economy was very healthy back then, and by the end of the decade, income grew by roughly 30% across all income groups. Unemployment was low, as was inflation. The same thing was happening in Europe, but America was a much larger market, so the German automaker began work on a breathtakingly beautiful luxury roadster. That car was the 507, an expensive car in its day. BMW planned to sell it at $5,000, but the actual retail price was double that. Still, BMW managed to sell 254 units when the first-generation Corvette sold for just over $3,000. But compared to the price that this multi-million-dollar example of the 507 is commanding, a few grand seems like a steal.
The 507 was a favorite amongst celebrities. Elvis Presley loved it so much, he bought two. Unfortunately, even $10,000 wasn't enough to cover the cost of building a car to such painstaking detail. The 507 nearly drove BMW to bankruptcy, but it made the German brand way more desirable in the US. In a way, it's like the Bugatti Veyron. The VW Group made a loss on every car it made, but brand equity went through the roof.
BMW borrowed mechanical components from the 502 and 503, most notably the 3.2-liter V8 engine with dual carbs. It produced 150 horsepower, which was more than enough for the dainty roadster.
Production was split into Series 1 and Series 2. The car you see here is a Series 2 and is currently on sale through Hemmings for $2,450,000. Series 2 cars offered more passenger room because BMW relocated the fuel tank. They also had a nicer interior, an upgraded folding top, and front disc brakes. BMW also offered a replacement cylinder head for hotter climates, as the factory head was prone to overheating. Essentially, BMW ironed out the kinks, much like manufacturers do with facelifts these days. This example has the newer head and a four-speed ZF gearbox and is number 110 of 254 total examples and one of only 21 finished in Silbergrau metallic silver. It's believed this car was displayed at the BMW Munich Pavillion before being sold to a customer in Venezuela. The buyer was Gustavo King, who was sent to Venezuela by his employer, Mercedes-Benz. At least at the time, there was no social media, so King was never busted for driving a rival brand's car.
The car eventually returned to Germany, where it was kept for 50 years. It passed through several owners and received a thorough rebuild from 2006 to 2008 by BMW's Classic department. It was returned to BMW Classic in 2014, and an extensive inspection was done on the car. The report states that the vehicle has the original chassis, suspension, braking, and original body panels. As we can see, the interior is finished in luscious red leather with hand-stitched details. The black roof still fits beautifully, and the gauges look as good as the day they left the assembly floor.
BMW tried to replicate the 507 with the Z8. It was a glorious thing but not as desirable as the original. Still, it remains more beautiful than today's alternative, the BMW Z4.