1958 BMW 503 Serie II

In 1954, BMW introduced its cutting-edge V8 engine in the opulent 501 saloon, signaling its prowess as a potential sports car powerhouse. The visionary Max Hoffman, an Austrian import tycoon in the United States, fueled BMW’s ambitions. He enlisted Count Albrecht von Goertz, a versatile industrial designer renowned for collaborating with the iconic Raymond Loewy on Studebakers, to create a sports car that could showcase the new engine.

At the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show, Goertz unveiled two prototypes born from his creativity: the 503 and the 507. The 503, exhibiting a more conventional design, utilized the 502 saloon’s chassis and retained its suspension and column-mounted gear shift. On the other hand, the 507 boasted a shorter wheelbase, allowing for a unique gearbox placement next to the engine. The 503 Series II, introduced in 1957, adopted the 507’s engine/transmission configuration with a floor-mounted gear shift.

Equipped with a 3.2L V8 producing 138bhp, the 503 with its alloy coachwork achieved a top speed of 118mph. The executive car, characterized by its elongated hood, 2+2 passenger compartment, and spacious trunk, captivated admiration, earning accolades even from Pinin Farina, who hailed it as the standout at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The 503’s exclusivity continued, with both coupe and cabriolet models attracting a select clientele, including motorsports luminaries. Limited to 273 coupes and 139 cabriolets produced between 1956 and 1960, the 503 secured its place as an expensive and elite symbol of automotive craftsmanship.

Source: Bonhams