The Uber-Rare BMW 507
Originally conceived to fill the gap between the very expensive Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the cheaper MGs and Triumphs, the 507 almost bankrupt BMW. The initial business plan was very sound: create a mid-level, attactive roadster with ample power and the market will respond. BMW banked on this plan and anticipated production of at least 5,000 units per year. In fact, BMW thought the 507 would be the vehicle to reinvigorate its sports-car image. Originally debued in 1955, the 507 began regular production in 1956. Immediately, BMW ran into high production costs which drove the sticker price over $10,000. This turned off the purchasing public resulting in extremely low sales. BMW was losing money on each and every 507 produced and after just three short years, production stopped. Only 252 BMW 507s were ever built, making it one of the most rare BMWs today.
1957 BMW 507 - California Mille 2012
The 507 was propelled by all aluminum 193 cu. in. OHV V8 pushing 150 horsepower through a four-speed transmission. The powerplant was fed by two Solex doube-barrel carbs and lubricated by a chain-driven oil pump. The car had a solid rear axle following double wishbones, torison springs and anti-roll bars to improve handling. Early versions of the car had four drums, but later editions recieved discs up front.
Famous owners included Elvis Presley (who opted to remove the BMW V8 and replace with a Ford 289) and also Georg Meier, a famous motorcycle racer of the day. It is believed that 200 507s exist today which speaks to the attractiveness and legacy of the car. Further pushing the rarity envelope - each 507's body was hand formed from sheet aluminum and no two are exactly alike. So if you're in the market for one, be prepared to open your wallet wide. We had the good fortune of seeing a 507 in person on this year's California Mille. The car ran flawlessly and stayed at the head of the pack for most of the rally.
These cars are rarely for sale, and when they do pop up, they tend to be offered through one of the premier auctions. The last known transaction occurred earlier this year in Arizona when RM Auctions sold a 1959 model for $990,000.
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