The 507 – considered by some to be the most beautiful BMW ever manufactured and indeed one of the most fascinating cars produced in the post-war period – has pride of place amongst the most sought-after vehicles of the last century. Appearing in the mythical mid-1950s, the 507 stole the hearts of some of the most famous people of those times, including rock legend Elvis Presley, whose car appears here in the photo gallery.
The history of this vehicle is closely associated with the name of Max Hoffman, the importer of luxury European cars, already jointly responsible for such legendary cars as the 300SL Gullwing and the 356 Speedster.
BMW was living through an economic downturn in the 1950s and needed, more than ever, a vehicle permitting it to succeed in the American market and raise the company’s fortunes. It was at this point that Hoffman approached BMW with an idea for the features of a car able to seduce the transatlantic market.
The famous Bavarian car manufacturer listened to him, and commissioned the designer Albrecht Graf Goertz to produce the car. Thus was born the 507.
The vehicle was officially presented at the 1955 Frankfurt International Motor Show, but its success did not live up to expectations and production ceased in 1959 with only 254 models made.
The causes of this were varied. First and foremost, the price doubled on account of production problems. In addition, the car’s performance lagged behind that of its main rivals, above all the 300SL Gullwing.
Experience teaches, however, that what might have been unsuccessful in the past could prove the opposite in the future, and this was the case for the 507. During the 1960s, BMW expanded to the point of being one of the world’s most important automobile manufacturers – and the 507 became one of the best-loved in the history of motor vehicles. Quality always emerges sooner or later.
The photograph shows Elvis Presley’s legendary 1958 507, recently restored by the BMW Group Classic department and now the property of the BMW Welt Museum in Munich.
Munich, February 2017