Elvis Presley’s fully restored BMW 507 set to go to auction at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance after 40 years ‘in storage’ in a pumpkin warehouse.[Not a valid template]
If you want to take a second and dramatically rub your eyes, we’ll wait. This after all is a pristine BMW 507 Roadster, once owned by Mr Rock’n’Roll himself Elvis Presley, and which was unearthed only two years ago just outside San Francisco after more than four decades ‘in storage’. It has since been meticulously restored by BMW Classic Group and is set to go under the hammer at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The work required to bring chassis 70079 back to full strength though was enormous.
Originally falling off the production line in 1956, only 254 of the 507 was officially produced to plug the gap between the Mercedes 300SL and the Triumph TR3. A rarity in itself, the particular model was actually one of two owned by Presley himself, the second – a ‘78 Roadster – being gifted to then-beau Ursula Andress.
This particular Bimmer’s illustrious history though begins in May 1958, when the Korean War’s most famous draftee met local hill climb legend – and future 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – Hans Stuck and the ‘57 507 he was competing with. 150bhp, a 3.2-litre V8 and looks that had already earned it the ‘Dream from the Isar’ moniker. ‘The King’ just had to have one, and bought Stuck’s on the spot.[Not a valid template]
Rumour has it that, in an effort to stop adoring female fans writing their phone numbers in lipstick on the panels, the ‘Feather White’ was repainted Porsche Red. Problem solved, sort of. His national service completed, private Presley then returned to the USA in March 1960 where, his days of open top BMW motoring clearly done, the King traded chassis 70079 to a Chrysler dealership in New York, radio moderator Tommy Charles taking custodianship shortly thereafter.
Bafflingly, to prepare the Bimmer for the track, Charles traded out BMW’s engine for a blown Chevrolet V8 and the Borg-Warner four-speed and beefy rear axle that went with it. Eventually engineer Jack Castor took mercy on the 507, putting it into storage shortly after purchase in 1968 and amassing a vast collection of spare parts with a view to renovating it completely. Not until American journalist Jackie Jouret came knocking 46 years later though would restoration actually get underway.
Shipped back to Munich in early 2014 – presumably under the instructions ‘Return to Sender’ – the 507 was stripped completely back to the chassis by BMW Group Classic, the red paintwork mercifully removed via an acid bath. Archive photographs were used to replicate the leather upholstery and rubberised coconut mats, while winders for the windows and the door handles – by now a lost cause – were remanufactured through 3D printing. Chevy’s big block also hit the scrapheap, the 3.2-litre V8 reconstructed from scratch out of spare parts, the Feather White paintwork making a welcome finishing touch.