1957 BMW 507 Roadster That Almost Bankrupted BMW

This 1957 BMW 507 Roadster will be auctioned in the UK with an estimate of £2m (around US$2.64m). Who would have thought that this very car almost led to the bankruptcy of BMW when it was first presented to the market?

The story began in the 1950s when the American car importer Max Hoffman planned to persuade the BMW management to produce a roadster version of the BMW 501 and BMW 502 saloons. His idea was to plug the contemporary gap between the expensive German Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the cheap and relatively under-powered British Triumph and MG sports cars.

That’s how BMW 507 was born. With a wheelbase length of only 2,480mm and its shapely and fluid bodywork, the car is elegant yet dynamic. In terms of technicalities, it has an aluminium-alloy pushrod-operated overhead-valve V8 unit that is mated to a close-ratio four-speed manual transmission. It also features a chain-driven oil pump, high-lift cams and polished combustion chambers.

The brand-new BMW 507 made its debut at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in the summer of 1955 and production began in November 1956. Yet, things took a turn when unfortunate circumstances came about.

BMW planned to produce 5,000 cars of the 507 model a year, selling each for around US$5,000. However, the production cost was much higher than expected, forcing them to raise the selling price to US$10,500.

Although adored by Elvis Presley and many other celebrities, the 507 roadster was proved to be less popular than BMW anticipated. Its sales were extremely low, performing much worse than its competitor 300 SL. In the end, on the brink of bankruptcy, BMW had decided to stop the production of the 507 model after only making 252 of them. BMW might have never thought that the car would become a rare limited model today.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

Convertible 507

507 is a convertible. The specific 507 car for sale has a removable hardtop.

John Surtees CBE is the only person who won World Championships on both two and four wheels

John Surtees CBE and his BMW 507

In the auction world, provenance plays a huge role on the final price sold. This hardtop 507 belongs to John Surtees (1934 - 2017), the only person in the world to win World Championships on both two and four wheels. Car lovers must be beyond eager to get their hands on this limited 507 model that was owned by the legendary Formula One racer.

1957 BMW 507 Roadster with Hardtop

Auction house: Bonhams
Sale: The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
Location: England, Chichester
Date: 2018/7/13
Lot no.: 330
Provenance: John Surtees (1934 - 2017)
Estimate: £2,000,000 - 2,500,000