To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 507, BMW has prepped a special exhibit commemorating the model’s heritage.
With only 252 units built from 1956 to 1959, the BMW 507 remains one of the rarest and desirable Bavarian automobiles ever constructed. One of the most beautiful ever made, too.
Among the cars showcased in the gallery, a Michelotti-designed red 507 concept can be seen. Giovanni Michelotti is regarded as one of the most prolific and talented sports cars designers of the 20th century. The guy worked for Stabilimenti Farina, Vignale and Allemano and associated with Ferrari, Maserati, British Leyland, Lancia, Alpine, BMW and countless others.
Many of the cars he penned came to be known as some of the most iconic vintage rarities; Ferrari 250 Europa Vignale, Ferrari 166 MM, Maserati 3500 GT, Triumph Spitfire MKII, Lancia Aurelia and the list can go on and on.
In fact, BMW’s “sports sedan” motif and design language started with Michelotti’s design of the iconic 2002. So, you can probably say that the father of swift, frisky, German sports sedan – an idea that BMW is continuing to this day – is none other than Michelotti.
Sitting next to Michelotti‘s take on the German cabriolet, is the 507 prototype. Few know that the 507 was actually commissioned and conceived (the idea) by Max Hoffman – a very illustrious car importer and entrepreneur.
In fact, Hoffman is the same guy who suggested to Mercedes to build the 300SL Gullwing , importing 80% of them in the U.S.A. He was a very persuasive man, apparently, because he convinced Porsche to create the 356 Speedster, Alfa Romeo to create the Giulia Spider and, of course, BMW to create the 507. All cars were destined primarily for the American market.
The first prototype of the 507 didn’t appeal to Hoffman and he dismissed it, even though its initial design was generally praised. I personally find it peculiar and funny as the prototype somewhat resembles an AC Ace, which transformed into a Cobra on American soil.
Unfortunately, unlike the 300SL, or the Porsche 356 Speedster, the BMW wasn’t so successful. In fact, it was a total flop, mainly due to its high price tag. Hoffman intended to sell it for about $5,000, but its high production costs pushed the price up to $10,000. That’s $81,300 in today’s money, adding inflation.
The 507 was intended to revive the German car manufacturer, but instead it nearly took it to the edge of bankruptcy.