1958 BMW 507
Year of manufacture1958
Abraham Eckert, Langhorne, Pennsylvania (acquired in 1958)
F.H. Breeman, Rotterdam, Netherlands (acquired by 2013)
Ulrich Berberich-Martini, Heilbronn, Germany (acquired in 2013)
Pinehurst Concours, Pinehurst, North Carolina, May 2017
When the Frankfurt Auto Show opened in late 1955, BMW’s spectacular 507 immediately grabbed the spotlight. Influenced by New York importer Max Hoffman and designed by Count Albrecht von Goertz, the 507’s lightweight alloy body appeared to be stretched tightly over the mechanical underpinnings and evoked speed even when standing still. It has since become recognized as one of the all-time great automotive designs. Built upon a rigid box frame, the 507 was fitted with a three-liter 90º alloy V-8 engine that produced an intoxicating exhaust note. The 507 was equipped with synchromesh gears and large finned-aluminum brake drums, with discs fitted on later examples. In top gear, the elegant sports car could reach over 120 mph.
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 its legendary 328, a reputation that continues to this day. The 507 certainly accomplished BMW’s goal, and today the limited-production V-8 roadster is considered by many to be the most desirable postwar model ever built by the Munich-based company.
Production of the 507 commenced in November 1956 and concluded 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 more expensive Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, the 507 commanded a princely $8,988 in the US, making it one of the most expensive – and therefore exclusive – cars of its day. As a result, owners of 507s included celebrities as diverse as Elvis Presley and motorsport hero John Surtees.
This gorgeous example, chassis 70081, was manufactured in October 1957 and delivered new in February 1958 to New Jersey. According to its FIVA identity card, its first known owner was Abraham Eckert of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. By 1995 it was registered in the Netherlands and, by 2013, owned by F.H. Breeman of Rotterdam. That same year, the 507 was purchased by Ulrich Berberich-Martini of Heilbronn, Germany.
This Series II was restored from 2014 to 2015 by Berberich-Martini’s shop, Martini Garage of Heilbronn, Germany, which has worked on numerous 507s over the years. Berberich-Martini states that the car returned briefly to the shop in 2015 to correct a scratch to the rear underside of the car that occurred during transport. Finished in Graphite Gray Metallic over a beige interior with black piping, and fitted with knock-off wheels, 70081 makes a stunning presentation.
According to its BMW Classic Certificate, 70081 was originally equipped with a hardtop and finished in the color of Federweiss (Feather White). The engine number corresponds to that listed on the BMW certificate, and it is a desirable Series II example, featuring the improved, relocated gas tank that increased room in the passenger compartment and boot. It is also fitted with an underhood tool kit.
In 2015, the 507 was exercised around Lake Como, Italy, by its current owner before he took delivery of it in the US. The consignor has retained it in his collection of fine postwar sports cars, and his personal mechanic has rebuilt and tuned its carburetors. The 507 has been driven sparingly and was shown at the 2017 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance. Compared with a production run of over 1,800 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadsters, BMW 507s are quite scarce. Due to their rarity and historical significance, they are welcome at the finest automotive events in the world, from exclusive concours d’elegance to prestigious rallies such as the Colorado Grand. A fine example of the legendary German sports car, this particular 507 boasts a desirable specification, with a hardtop and knockoff wheels, and is finished in a handsome color scheme. This is a great opportunity to acquire a beautiful example of BMW’s famed postwar sports car.