1957 BMW 507 Series I Roadster

A 1950s Icon of Automotive Design

In the 1950s, automotive designers on both sides of the Atlantic crafted vehicles that have become legends. Among these, the BMW 507 is a paragon of classic beauty. This masterpiece’s legacy is so profound that BMW paid homage to it with the Z8 roadster, introduced after a 40-year hiatus. This tribute underscores the 507’s enduring significance and highlights BMW’s dedication to incorporating heritage-inspired styling into their contemporary designs.

The Transatlantic Influence on the BMW 507

The BMW 507 was an actual product of transatlantic collaboration. It was designed specifically for the U.S. market by Count Albrecht Graf von Goertz, a German expatriate based in New York. The car was manufactured in Germany, but its genesis lay in the vision of Austrian entrepreneur Max Hoffman. A prominent figure in importing European vehicles to America, Hoffman envisioned a roadster rivaling the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.

The Visionaries Behind the 507

Max Hoffman’s foresight in 1954 led to the birth of the BMW 507. He saw the potential for a sleek, stylish roadster that could captivate the American market. To bring this vision to life, he enlisted Count Albrecht Graf von Goertz, a designer renowned for his work with Raymond Loewy. Von Goertz sculpted the 507’s distinctive look, crafting an elegant and sporty vehicle.

Engineering Excellence

From Saloon to Roadster

The foundation of the BMW 507 lay in the 502 saloon, a robust and sophisticated vehicle. The 507 inherited a 3.2-liter, all-aluminum V8 engine from the 502, which was then mounted on a shortened chassis. This engineering marvel ensured that the 507 was a beauty to behold and a joy to drive.

The 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show Debut

The BMW 507 debuted at the 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show, earning critical acclaim for its design and performance. However, the car faced significant challenges in the U.S. market. Initially targeted to be priced competitively, it ultimately debuted at $9,000, nearly double the cost of American competitors.

Production and Revisions

From Launch to Enhancements

Production of the BMW 507 commenced in 1956. Over time, the vehicle saw several revisions, including interior enhancements that added to its luxury appeal. Despite these improvements, the high price tag limited its accessibility, restricting its ownership to a niche clientele.

A Niche Clientele and Cultural Impact

Celebrity Owners

The BMW 507 attracted a distinguished group of owners, including the legendary Elvis Presley and racing champion John Surtees. These high-profile endorsements added to the car’s allure, cementing its status as an icon of automotive elegance.


Limited Production and Enduring Legacy

The End of an Era

The BMW 507 struggled to achieve significant sales despite its beauty and acclaim. By December 1959, only 254 units had been sold, leading to the discontinuation of its production. Nevertheless, the BMW 507 remains a symbol of automotive elegance, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

Captivating Collectors and Enthusiasts

Today, the BMW 507 is revered as one of the most beautiful and desirable classic cars. Its limited production run and storied history make it a prized possession among collectors, and its timeless design continues to inspire and captivate automotive enthusiasts.


The BMW 507’s journey from a bold vision to an enduring classic underscores the significance of design and heritage in the automotive world. Its legacy lives on in the preserved models cherished by collectors and in the design language of modern BMW vehicles, epitomized by the homage-paying Z8 roadster. The 507 is a testament to a bygone era’s artistry and engineering excellence, forever etched in the annals of automotive history.

Source: Bonhams Cars

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