Auctions and Brokerage
Hans Durst, Davos, SwitzerlandPeter Groh, Switzerland (acquired in July 1997)Michael Quinn, Montecito, California (acquired circa 1999)Current Owner, California (acquired from the above in 2009)
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 Hoffman 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 Al-fn 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–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 Automobile.
Production of the 507 commenced in November 1956 and came to a close near the end of 1959 after just 252 examples were built.
Initially intended to fill a gap between the lower-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 Elvis Presley and motor sports hero John Surtees.
It has often been said that development and production costs of the 507 would have bankrupted the company were it not for the Isetta and a thriving motorcycle division. In fact, the flagship model was never intended as a moneymaker. Instead, it sought to re-establish the outstanding sporting reputation BMW enjoyed in the prewar years with the legendary 328, which continues to this day. 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.
This gorgeous white over black leather BMW 507 is a stunning example of the iconic model that has become so sought after by the world’s leading collectors. Chassis 70244, according to BMW records, was completed on November 4, 1959, and by November 13th had been delivered to Glöckler BMW in Frankfurt. While the earliest ownership history of this late-production 507 is unknown, it spent a long period of time as part of the extensive and well-regarded Hans Durst collection in Davos, Switzerland. Durst was known for the fastidious care that his collection received, regardless of expense, and the high quality of the cars that he selected. The BMW was subsequently sold in July 1997 to German collector and racer Peter Groh, who put just 2,000 miles on the car during his short ownership. Michael Quinn of Montecito, California, purchased the car in 1999 and stated that around 2003 he had approximately $50,000 worth of work performed on the car at Winning Makes in Santa Barbara, California.
Purchased in 2009 by the current owner, a noted West Coast collector with a stable of highly significant cars, the 507 was again sent to Winning Makes for extensive servicing. This work, which is documented by receipts on file, included the rebuild of the brakes, gearbox, cooling system, and shock absorbers, as well as the crack testing and refurbishment of all suspension components. This thorough work is indicative of the care lavished upon this particular collection and should serve as notice to potential buyers as to the level of attention this beautiful 507 has received. While researching the 507 for the current owner, BMW reported that the engine in this car appears to be a later model 160PS unit, potentially from a 3200 that has been stamped with the correct engine number.
Another addition to this wonderful roadster is a factory hardtop that was sourced by the current owner and accompanies the sale of the car. The hardtop will require fitting due to the hand-built nature of the 507’s coachwork; and although not original to this chassis, it will still be an ideal complement to the fantastic specifications. Additionally, the BMW is equipped with an original sales brochure and copies of the factory BMW service and user’s manuals.
Beautifully presented, this striking BMW is poised to become a favorite of any collector. A unique combination of style, rarity, and substantive German engineering, the 507 garners the attention it deserves from the world’s most discerning collectors. An example as well appointed as this is sure to please its fortunate next steward, and the presence of this particular 507 at public auction marks an opportunity not to be overlooked.