Auctions and Brokerage
*Please note that post-cataloging, BMW Group Archiv has indicated the engine fitted to this car is a replacement 160 HP unit that has been stamped with the original engine number and that the 5-Speed gearbox is correct. BMW records do confirm that the car was completed and delivered on July 10, 1958 with a hardtop to G. Dagmar of Munich. Please also note that the estimate has been revised to $2,000,000 - $2,500,000.
From a Private Northwest CollectionWerner Preis, Düsseldorf, Germany (acquired new in 1958)Rick Thompson, Bellevue, Washington (acquired via Charles Crail in February 2000)Current Owner (acquired from the above in February 2003)
Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, August 2002Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, August 2002Kirkland Concours d’Elegance Tour, September 2007Kirkland Concours d’Elegance, September 2007 (First in Class)Kirkland Concours d’Elegance, September 2008 (First in Class)Copperstate 1000, April 2008Cars in the Park, The Allure of the Automobile, Portland Art Museum, July 2011
When the Frankfurt Motor Show opened in late 1955, the principal BMW attractions were two new variations on the V-8-powered 502: the 503 and the 507. Though both models were influenced by New York car dealer Max Hofman and designed by Count Albrecht von Goertz, it was the spectacular 507 that stole the show.
The new BMW roadster was so pure and perfect from every angle that it immediately took its place among the all-time greatest automotive designs. Possessing sweeping, harmonious lines, a purposeful rendition of the classic kidney grille, unmistakable side vents, and aggressive rear haunches, the 507’s lightweight alloy body appeared to be stretched tightly over the mechanical underpinnings and evoked speed even when standing still. Not only did the 507 look like a true sports car, it also drove like one.
With a rigid box frame, upgraded suspension, synchromesh gearbox, and large Alfin drum brakes, the 507 possessed an ideal foundation for BMW’s robust twin-carburetor V-8 engine. Depending on the gear ratio selected, the 507 was capable of 125 mph to 135 mph and offered brilliant acceleration, reaching 0 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Though the 507 was not designed with motor sports in mind, its performance was such that several examples were entered in major racing events, including the Mille Miglia and the Tour de France.
Production of the 507 commenced in November 1956 and came to a close in May 1959, after just 252 examples were built.
Initially intended to fill a gap between the low-priced English imports and the phenomenally expensive Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, the 507 commanded a princely $8,988 in the US and 26,500 marks in Germany, making it one of the most expensive – and therefore exclusive – cars of its day. As a result, the elegant BMW attracted celebrities as diverse as pop icon Elvis Presley and motor sports hero John Surtees.
While it was far from a commercial success, the 507 certainly accomplished BMW’s goal; and, today, the limited-production V-8 roadster is surely the most desirable postwar model ever built by the Munich-based company.
Factory records indicate this 507 (chassis 70157) was delivered new to Werner Preis in Düsseldorf, Germany finished in Spring White and outfitted with engine 40175 and a hardtop.
Sourced in early 2000 by Charles Crail, the BMW was then sold to Microsoft Vice President Rick Thompson of Bellevue, Washington, an enthusiast seeking a Pebble Beach-quality restoration project. Photographs of the car in Germany at the time show a wonderfully original 507 finished in white with black leather. It was described as follows, “This car has gone 77,000 km since new (approximately 46,000 miles). It is equipped with disc brakes, Rudge wheels, hard top, full complement of tools, full ownership history which is verifiable, and the original engine. All numbers match. It has the large 160 bhp engine.”
In February 2000, Thompson’s new 507 was delivered to John Giles at TT Workshops Ltd. in Westbury, England. Prior to starting the project, the noted BMW restoration firm assessed the car’s condition and inventoried the large number of spare parts. Mr. Giles recalled later that the BMW was “a very nice, well-maintained automobile. Very complete, virtually all parts correct. All panels correct and matched with numbers. No sign of any prior body damage.” Per Mr. Giles comments, the assembly number (118) can be seen on the inside of the doors, the hood, the trunk, and the bumper irons.
The complete, body-of restoration took over two years, and included the rebuilding of the engine (numbered 40175) and five-speed gearbox. Progress photos and copious invoices thoroughly document the work performed. The 507 was also pictured and discussed in the July 2002 issue of Roundel, extolling the quality of TT Workshops BMW restorations.
Shipped to the US in July, the BMW 507 was completed just in time for its participation in the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance the following month. Finished in a striking shade of BMW Midnight Blue with rich, dark red leather, the car’s appearance was further accentuated by the hardtop and Rudge wheels, painted to match. After the enjoyable experience, the BMW was finally sent to Bellevue, Washington.
In 2002, the 507 caught the attention of the current owner, who was taken by the BMW’s overall presentation and ideal specifications. Given the car’s significance, the consignor reached out to Mr. Thompson hoping to arrange a purchase, but it was not until February 2003 that he was able to acquire the car.
During its current ownership, the BMW has been used and enjoyed, and has been a focal point of the collection. Over the past 11 years, the car has accrued some 2,000 miles and participated in the 2007 Kirkland Concours d’Elegance Tour and Kirkland Concours d’Elegance where it won First in Class; the 2008 Kirkland Concours where it again won First in Class; the Copperstate 1000 in April 2008; and Cars in the Park, The Allure of the Automobile at Portland Art Museum in July 2011. During this time the 507 was consistently well maintained, often entrusted to Vintage Racing Motors of Redmond, Washington, whose expertise in BMW and other significant sports and racing cars is well known.
Today, 70157 remains a notable example of the model given its purity, current presentation, and overall quality. Thoroughly documented since acquisition in 2000 by Mr. Thompson, the car’s file, amassed in three binders, includes photos, invoices, correspondence, event entry memorabilia, an original factory photo of a 507, and a rare, original 507 sales brochure.
A fine example of the legendary German sports car, this particular 507 boasts ideal specifications with disc brakes, a five-speed gearbox, Rudge wheels, and a hardtop. Strikingly finished and authentically restored, the 507 further benefits from roughly 10 years of caring use, having attended both high-level concours and driving events; confirming the fantastic usability and versatility of the model. A welcome sight at elite international events, this 507 is a delight to behold.
A finer BMW 507 has not come to market in some time, making this a significant opportunity to acquire an absolutely superb example of the stunning and iconic sports car.
OFFERED FROM A PRIVATE NORTHWEST COLLECTION
Gooding & Company is pleased to offer an exceptional group of low-production postwar sports cars from a visionary private northwest collection. This selection comprises some of the best-specified and finest examples extant of each model: a BMW 507, a Camaro Z/28, a Mazda Cosmo, and a Toyota 2000 GT. In addition to their impressive quality, these cars remain well-known, noteworthy examples.
The consignor’s passion for cars extends back to his childhood, and he still owns his mother and father’s 1956 Thunderbird, which they purchased new. Over the past couple of decades, the collection has grown in depth and scale, with an eye toward innovative design; and now encompasses unusual German, Italian, American, and Japanese sports cars, each meticulously chosen and exhaustively maintained at the highest level. Furthermore, many of the collection’s cars see both concours and driving use with regularity.
With the time and effort dedicated to acquiring and presenting each of these four cars, the presence of these automobiles at auction should be seen as a significant opportunity for an astute collector who shares the equal desire to own the very best.