RE: Showpiece of the Week: BMW 507

RE: Showpiece of the Week: BMW 507

Monday 19th November

Showpiece of the Week: BMW 507

One of the rarest and most beautiful classic cars ever made. What could be more of a showpiece than that?



There are a handful of usual suspects when conversation turns - as it inevitably does around here - to the most classically beautiful cars ever made. The Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Toyota 2000GT, Ferrari 250 GTO and lesser-spotted Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta all springing to mind. Often among that number, but frequently overlooked, is this: the BMW 507.

Maybe it's because 'BMW' and 'beautiful' haven't been words we've associated for a good few years now, or perhaps because 507 sounds more like a name you'd find on the boot of a bedragled Peugeot than a timeless roadster. Either way, as you'll hopefully agree, it is no doubt deserving of a place on the list.

The story of its designer, Albrecht von Goertz, is a tale of the American Dream made reality. Born in Germany in 1914, he originally attempted to become a banker but, finding that ladder a harder one to climb than he'd hoped, emigrated to the United States in 1936. Having initially earned a living working at a car wash, it was a job at a factory manufacturing aircraft engines which set him on the path to legendary status.


Using experience gleaned there, he soon opened his own business modifying Fords, before going on to build a Mercury-based vehicle of his own design, confidently dubbed the Paragon. His automotive career was temporarily halted in 1940 by a small dispute between his fatherland and the rest of the world but, having served for five years in the US army, he was about to experience a remarkably lucky strike.

Whilst out driving the Paragon, he bumped into Raymond Loewy, a man who just happened to be in the process of becoming one of the most prolific industrial designers of all time. Loewy took a specific interest in Goertz, guiding him first through design school and then into a job at Studebaker, from which he left in 1953 to found his own design firm. Just two years later, and fewer than twenty since he left Germany, the Goertz-designed BMW 507 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The 507 was the result of a suggestion by famed automobile importer Max Hoffman - who's also credited with pivotal roles in the creation of the 300SL and 356 Speedster. Intended to offer European styling in a US-friendly package it boasted an all-aluminium 3.2-litre V8 and aluminium body a panels, for a total weight of 1,280kg. As a result its 150hp was enough to see 62mph in 11 seconds and a top speed of 125mph, but performance wasn't it's primary attribute. It's beautiful design and eye-watering cost - it was more than double the price of a Corvette - made it unimaginably cool. From John Surtees to Ursula Andress and Elvis to the Aga Khan, anyone who was anyone had to have a 507.


Unfortunately for BMW, not that many people could count themselves as 'someone' and the 507 was a sales disaster. Compared to Mercedes' similarly-positioned 300SL, fewer than one tenth as many 507s were sold and ultimately only 252 examples of what was originally intended as a mass-production model were ever made. Back then it nearly bankrupted the company, but today it means that the 507 continues to be a fantastically rare and wildly expensive machine.

This week's Showpiece even more so; it isn't simply any old celebrity's 507. No, this example was once owned by Goertz himself, who purchased it in June 1971. He had the engine replaced personally, and it has since undergone a seemingly extensive restoration, meaning that it's in excellent condition for its next owner when it goes under the hammer on December 1st with an estimate of £2.1m. They may not be a famous star, but they'll certainly have bought their way into one of the most glamourous owners club there's ever been.


See the full ad here

See the auction lot here

(All images courtesy of Bonhams)

Author
Discussion

skylarking808

Original Poster:

194 posts

22 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
Certainly glamour and style by the bucket load.

They look even better in white wink

amacl10

225 posts

166 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
“Bedraggled Peugeot”....ahem!

ilovequo

695 posts

117 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
Beautiful
I wonder if it fed into the pagoda design?

theJT

271 posts

121 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
Certainly on my list for best looking cars ever, especially with the optional hard top fitted imho.

donutskidmark

663 posts

89 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
You have to ask yourself- what would Wayne Carini think of the car ?
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g3org3y

12,798 posts

127 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
If it's cool enough for the King...


Julian Thompson

569 posts

174 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
Imagine having one of these and a 300SL together in your garage.

Just wow!

margerison

299 posts

186 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
Pfft, if John Surtees had owned it, it would be worth £4million cool


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-44826858

AMGSee55

74 posts

38 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
I realise I'm going to be in the minority here, but the styling leaves me cold - looks like a posh Triumph Spitfire. Much prefer the AC Ace / Cobra as a contemporary design.

Each to their own of course wink

Robert-nszl1

217 posts

24 months

Monday 19th November
quotequote all
Much as car companies have to be careful when looking at their histories not to make a parody of what came before, BMW do occasionally get it right; this 507 was a real beauty and the Z8 that owed it so much from a design point of view was a great looking car as well, even though for most it was too much of a boulevard cruiser rather than a true sports car. So when one looks at this, it is absolutely incomprehensible the best they can do is the Z4.

Arsecati

98 posts

53 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
AMGSee55 said:
I realise I'm going to be in the minority here, but the styling leaves me cold - looks like a posh Triumph Spitfire. Much prefer the AC Ace / Cobra as a contemporary design.

Each to their own of course wink
You can add me to the minority - I could never get the fuss over these: I feel absolutely zero about this car. wink

Arsecati

98 posts

53 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
amacl10 said:
“Bedraggled Peugeot”....ahem!
That looks fantastic! If you took the value aspect out of it, I'd actually far prefer this over that Beemer! wink

BVB

541 posts

89 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all

Gorgeous car, always liked them. I recall the mpg being ludicrously bad, but who cares with a beauty like that.

rtz62

1,550 posts

91 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
Arsecati said:
AMGSee55 said:
I realise I'm going to be in the minority here, but the styling leaves me cold - looks like a posh Triumph Spitfire. Much prefer the AC Ace / Cobra as a contemporary design.

Each to their own of course wink
You can add me to the minority - I could never get the fuss over these: I feel absolutely zero about this car. wink
And me. And to be fair I've never understood the allure of the Gullwing either, something that wants to tuck its rear wheels underneath and kill you if you're not careful on a bend or over a brow of the hill when the suspension load goes light (reported of course, I've never driven one. And have no wish to...)
Im not sure why people find this more attractive than, say, a 3.0 CSL or a S1 'E'-type, and why prices are so high.
As above, each to their own....

garypotter

961 posts

86 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
Stunning car but not in that colour, the first one of these i saw was several years back at Goodwood revival and it blew me away

but i prefer the 190sl.....

PHMatt

577 posts

84 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
Robert-nszl1 said:
Much as car companies have to be careful when looking at their histories not to make a parody of what came before, BMW do occasionally get it right; this 507 was a real beauty and the Z8 that owed it so much from a design point of view was a great looking car as well, even though for most it was too much of a boulevard cruiser rather than a true sports car. So when one looks at this, it is absolutely incomprehensible the best they can do is the Z4.
Few things - agree, the Z8 takes all its inspiration from the 507 and all the better for it. I actually think it's slightly better looking and due to being deliberately sparse, should age just well.

In regards to "the Z4 is the best they can do" - it's not really.
The Z4 is a 3 series roadster and priced thereat.

The 507 and Z8 were both top end halo models that, in comparison to the range at the time, cost a shed load more.
BMW haven't really had this in their range at all since the Z8
they've had uber priced M6's and soon the new 8, but not 2 seat roadster at that end of the spectrum.

Robert-nszl1

217 posts

24 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
PHMatt said:
Few things - agree, the Z8 takes all its inspiration from the 507 and all the better for it. I actually think it's slightly better looking and due to being deliberately sparse, should age just well.

In regards to "the Z4 is the best they can do" - it's not really.
The Z4 is a 3 series roadster and priced thereat.

The 507 and Z8 were both top end halo models that, in comparison to the range at the time, cost a shed load more.
BMW haven't really had this in their range at all since the Z8
they've had uber priced M6's and soon the new 8, but not 2 seat roadster at that end of the spectrum.
I'm not sure that's quite right, not least because they didn't have the range at that time. The 507 was a strict 2 seater, as was the Z8. I'm conscious the Z4 is not a hallo model, but to suggest the M6/M8 is the right comparator is also wrong. The convertible is a coupe with the roof chopped off, not a roadster.

Either way, this is about design language, and the M8 is hardly a beauty either. I know car design should evolve, otherwise all cars would be 911s in their design principle (maybe no bad thing!) . BMW designers need to look back in my opinion, if only to understand the purity of line that existed in their older designs.

lufbramatt

3,095 posts

70 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
Surely current 2 seat halo model= i8?


Thornaby

132 posts

5 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
i8 is a 2+2

Bill

37,891 posts

191 months

Tuesday 20th November
quotequote all
rtz62 said:
Im not sure why people find this more attractive than, say, a 3.0 CSL or a S1 'E'-type, and why prices are so high.
The price is down to rarity rather than desirability, no?

That said, I've never really got the E-type. The way the skinny wheels sit deep in the arches makes it look like it's on castors.