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To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' The Tegernsee Auction event, 27 July 2024.

  • One of just 78 examples of the BMW 503 Series I Convertible built, and believed to be one of just 13 sent by the factory to the USA
  • Just three owners from new; remaining in California from new until acquired by its most recent keeper in 2017
  • Powered by its matching-numbers 3.2-litre V-8 engine
  • Presented in Fjord Blue over Cognac upholstery with a Blue Sonnenland convertible top; originally finished in Steingrau with Red upholstery
  • Subject to a nut-and-bolt restoration carried out between 2018 and 2023, performed by Hoffes Restorations and EBS Engineering in the Netherlands at a cost of €125,000

Produced from 1956 to 1962, the BMW 503 made its debut alongside the BMW 507 at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show. It received an update in 1957, with the earlier cars referred to as Series I and the later cars Series II; the former were distinguished by a column gear shift, hydraulic window lifts, and for the convertible, a hydraulic-operated hood. All were powered by a 3.2-litre V-8 engine that the factory rated at 140 horsepower.

Manufactured on 7 December 1956, this BMW 503 Series I Cabriolet was one of just 78 such examples constructed. Rolling off the factory floor with Steingrau paintwork and Red upholstery, chassis 69091 was sent to Hoffman Motors in New York and arrived on 14 January 1957. Thought to be one of 13 units of the first series BMW 503 Convertible sold new to the USA, this 503 was delivered to its first owner, Fred B. Phillips, in Topanga, California. Mr. Phillips retained the BMW for 25 years, before parting ways with the car and selling it to the second owner, Franz von Uckermann, on 10 December 1982, trading for $2,400. Taking the car to San Francisco at some point, Mr. Uckermann had the 503 repainted in a metallic deep red. He held onto this BMW until 2017, at which point it was acquired by its most recent owner. The car still had its metallic red paintwork and had been in dry storage for a number of years. However, the car’s condition was commensurate of its years spent in the Californian sun.

Now with the third and current owner, chassis 69091 was shipped to the Netherlands, where a nut-and-bolt restoration was commissioned. The work was carried out by Hoffes Restorations and EBS Engineering in the Netherlands, with invoices on file showing that from October 2018 to July 2023 more than €125,000 was spent. The car is accompanied by these invoices, a previous US title, and notes from the 1982 sale to Mr. Uckermann. At the point of restoration, the bodywork was painted in BMW Fjord Blue and complemented by a Blue Sonnenland convertible hood with Cognac upholstery. Not one part of the car was left untouched, with the final result truly stunning. Upon inspection BMW Classic has confirmed the engine number is matching.

The offering of this incredible 1950s BMW presents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an excruciatingly rare 503 Convertible that has just three owners from new. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/auctions/tc24/.

RM Sotheby's
5 Heron Square
United Kingdom
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