In the 1950s, automotive designers on both sides of the Atlantic crafted iconic vehicles, with the BMW 507 standing out as a paragon of classic beauty. BMW’s homage to this timeless model, after a 40-year hiatus in the form of the Z8 roadster, attests to the 507’s enduring significance. Few manufacturers match BMW’s dedication to incorporating heritage-inspired styling into their contemporary designs.
The transatlantic influence on the 507 is evident, designed for the U.S. market, styled by a German expatriate based in New York, and manufactured in Germany. Born from the vision of Austrian entrepreneur Max Hoffman in 1954, the 507 aimed to rival the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Renowned designer Count Albrecht Graf von Goertz, who had previously collaborated with Raymond Loewy, sculpted its distinctive look. The car’s foundation lay in the 502 saloon, featuring a 3.2-liter, all-aluminium V8 engine, mounted on a shortened chassis.
Despite critical acclaim at the 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show, the 507 faced challenges in the U.S., missing its price target and debuting at $9,000, double the cost of competing American models. Production commenced in 1956, with subsequent revisions, including interior enhancements. A niche clientele, including Elvis Presley and John Surtees, embraced the 507’s style. However, limited sales led to its discontinuation in December 1959 after only 254 units were sold. The BMW 507 endures as a symbol of automotive elegance, captivating enthusiasts and collectors alike.