How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand

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A roadster almost brought BMW to ruin

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-brand

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European premiere: the BMW 507, here with a hardtop, at the IAA in 1955. Even earlier than in Germany, the audience at the world premiere in the New York hotel “Waldorf Astoria “take a look at the elegant two-seater. After all, the car should primarily find its buyers in the USA. It had drawn …

Source: sp-x

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-roadster

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… the designer Albrecht Graf Goertz, who gained a formidable reputation with this stroke of genius. The roadster was advertised…

Source: sp-x

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… from the manufacturer as a companion for the jet set. That was a problem, because the car drove past the automotive needs of post-war Germany. Together with the 2nd+2-seater 503, the pretty roadster stood for a failed model policy that almost brought the brand to ruin. The 507 also flopped in the USA, the planned core market, even though it had a V8. But the roadster couldn’t do anything against the cheaper competition a la Chevrolet. Incidentally, the 503 came from …

Source: sp-x

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… also from the pen of Graf Goertz. The vehicle was available as a convertible and a coupe. And it was also very expensive – too expensive to be a commercial successn. That didn’t help either …

Source: sp-x

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-ruined

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… the celebrities stood on the models. For example, actress Sonja Ziemann (pictured) drove the distinguished 503, but Count Faber-Castell also liked to get in. The 507 bThere were also sonorous names: Alain Delon, Ursula Andress and …

Source: sp-x

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-roadster

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… Elvis Presley, this is a photo from 1958. The King of Rock’n’Roll bought his roadster while he was working as a GI in Hessen. Later he should paint it in redhave ied. Recently it was …

Source: sp-x

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… BMW tracked down the car in the meanwhile deplorable condition and shipped it to Germany. Unrestored it was on display for a while in the BMW Museum in Munich, thetime it is laboriously repaired. Well-refurbished copies of the 507 can fetch two to three million euros at auctions. Is cheaper …

Source: sp-x

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… its modern successor, the BMW Z8. Used vehicles are currently priced at around 200,000 euros.

Source: sp-x

A feast for the eyes, yesterday and today – the BMW Roadster 507 is a masterpiece in terms of design. That was not reflected in the sales figures. But that only makes it more valuable today.

D.he most famous of them reappeared recently. It was a rather scratched specimen, with chipped paint, dents in the sheet metal and a layer of baked-in dust on the panes.

The BMW Museum had taken the patina hype in the classic car scene too literally and even made the imported good, a sufficiently gutted 507 without an engine, an exhibit for a while before it was handed over to the BMW Classic Group as a restoration object. But that is only the half truth. Because: The roadster had a prominent previous owner who gave it a lot of museum pieces: Elvis Presley.

This year the Munich-based manufacturer is celebrating the 60th birthday of the two-seater BMW 507, which many classic car fans consider to be one of the most beautiful roadsters ever built. However, and this is irritating in view of the prices in the millions that the speedster achieves today: It looks back on a history that is anything but exemplary, which almost brought the brand to ruin.

Messages of love with the lipstick

When the King of Rock’n’Roll bought the sports car during his service as GI in Bad Nauheim, Hessen, he was one of the few customers. The car was expensive and only rolled off the assembly line 254 times in its three-year construction period.

Elvis’ car was initially painted white. According to an anecdote, the master of the swing of the hips had it repainted in red to scare off women who had left their love messages with lipstick on the white metal sheet in high contrast. When Elvis had had its day in Germany, he took the pretty BMW with the chassis number 70.079 back to America.

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-roadster

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Top 11: In September 1972, the first Mercedes S-Class (W 116 series) was presented to the world. In 1980 the last copy of the first generation rolled off the production line. M.he W 116 is now one of the most sought-after classic cars in Germany. Around 3315 copies are currently registered.

Source: picture alliance / dpa-tmn

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Top 10: On March 20, 1974, the first Golf I rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg. With its successor models, it has become the most successful ever in Germany over the past three decadessland built car. This makes it a piece of automotive cultural history. In the meantime, some vehicles of the second generation Golf can even have an H license plate. A total of 3344 (and the trend is very steep) are registered as classic cars.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa / dpaweb

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Top 9: In 2014 alone, the number of vehicles with H license plates grew by more than eleven percent – the Opel Kadett (here from 1973). Around 4,000 copies of the Kadett are currently registered as classic cars.

Source: Opel

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Top 8: The Mercedes SL of the W113 series, popularly known as the Pagoda, impresses with its timeless elegance, robust technology and, last but not least, affordable prices. Currently sind around 4680 copies of the pagoda are registered in Germany.

Source: picture alliance / Fritz Fischer

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Top 7: Mighty sofa seats, huge trunk, steering wheel gearshift – and of course the "Peilstege" at the rear. The Mercedes "fintail", here as type 200 D (diesel), produced from two Litern displacement 55 HP at 4200 revolutions per minute. Measured values ​​attest her 28.2 seconds for the sprint to 100 km / h and 133 km / h top. This earned the car the nickname "shifting dune". There are currently 5183 tail fins (there are both the small and the large tail fins) registered in Germany.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa

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Top 6: The VW Bulli is one of the Germans’ favorite old-timers. Production of the Volkswagen Transporter started on March 8, 1950 – the beginning of a unique success storystory. The VW buses, affordable for dealers and craftsmen at prices from 5850 D-Marks, could be used in a variety of ways for a wide variety of business sectors and simply transported everything that the “economic miracle Germany” needed. And the camping versions in particular are still very popular today. Around 6000 historic VW Bulli are currently registered in Germany – and the trend is growing rapidly.

Source: picture alliance / Fritz Rust

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Top 5: In eight years of production, Daimler-Benz produced almost two million vehicles from the Mercedes "Strich-Acht" (W 114, 115 series), named after the start-up year 1968; in comparisonCompared to the previous series, there were almost three times as many. There are currently around 7000 Stroke Eights registered in Germany.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius eco-design

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Top 4: A Porsche 912 has always been an object of desire. In this photo a couple is looking at an orange Porsche 912 in 1965 in Frankfurt am Main almost 9000 copies of the Porsche 911 and Porsche 912 are on the road in Germany as vintage cars.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa

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Top 3: The Mercedes SL series, known internally as the R 107, came onto the market in 1971. Around 10,300 copies of the classic are currently registered as oldtimers in Germany.

Source: picture-alliance / gms

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Top 2: View of three different models of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class of the W 123 series: Coupe, sedan and T-model. The series started in 1976 brought with the T-Modell the first station wagon in the Mercedes-Benz model range. By the end of production in 1985, a total of 2,697,000 vehicles from the W 123 series had been built. There are currently 15,523 units with H license plates on the road – and the trend is growing rapidly.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius eco-design

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Top 1: Germany’s most popular classic car is still the VW Beetle – here a specimen from the 1970s. With more than 21.5 million vehicles, the Beetle was the best-sellinge automobile in the world before the VW Golf surpassed it in June 2002. Around 30,676 copies are currently registered in Germany. The trend continues to rise.

Source: Volkswagen

In fact, American support was needed to get the 507 rolling at all. Because without the commitment of the influential New York car dealer and importer of numerous luxury brands Max Hoffman, the Roadster might not have existed at all.

Hoffmann, keen to keep the affluent American high society satisfied with new products, put pressure on BMW and other German manufacturers. Other German sports car icons such as the Porsche 356 Speedster, the Mercedes 190 SL or the 300 SL would not exist without the perseverance of Max Hoffman.

White-blue diamonds from the Isar beach

The 507 made its debut in the New York “Waldorf Astoria” hotel in the summer of 1955, and celebrated its European premiere the following autumn at the IAA in Frankfurt am Main. The roadster and the likewise new BMW 503, a 2 + 2-seater with coupe and convertible bodies, all powered by V8 engines, were celebrated by the trade press as "white and blue diamonds from the Isar beach".

The prices of the cars of almost 30,000 marks each were as high as for a residential building. Back then, nobody saw the pretty cars as an investment.

507 and 503 owe the flowing and dynamic shapes to the designer Albrecht Graf Goertz, who had previously worked for Studebaker. The draftsman made a name for himself with the style-defining BMW icons that brought him close to well-known designers such as Bertone, Pininfarina and other form artists of the time.

The icons of Italian car design

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The initial spark after the war: in 1954, Bertone presented the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint at the Turin Motor Show, a compact coupe with immortal lines with a future-oriented lookrelated vehicle concept. After that, countless manufacturers vied for the designer’s favor. Another design icon …

Source: picture alliance / ROPI

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius eco-design

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… automotive history came out in 1966 with the Lamborghini Miura. Marcello Gandini, once chief designer at Bertone, was responsible for the design of the V12 mid-engine sports carverbally. Giorgio "Giorgetto" Giugiaro had …

Source: ampnet

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius eco-design

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… have already left the design forge. He designed the Fiat 850 Spider, which was built from 1965 to 1973. The Italian also designed bodies for everyday cars like the …

Source: ampnet

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… Fiat Croma, which was available from 1985 and was the first car with a direct injection diesel engine. Giugiaro remained loyal to the Fiat group for a long time. He designed for the daughterrke Alfa Romeo among other things …

Source: ampnet

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… 156, a car that the manufacturer had high hopes for when it was launched in 1997. The old master drew one of the most famous designs for …

Source: ampnet

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-almost

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… VW with the Golf I from 1974. It was to become one of the most successful car models in automobile history. A little less known is that …

Source: ampnet

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… the VW Passat Giugiaros Studio, published a year earlier, also comes from. The Italian also worked for another German automobile manufacturer. A masterpiece succeeded ...

Source: ampnet

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius

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… with the BMW M1, for the development and manufacture of which BMW founded BMW Motorsport GmbH. The mid-engine sports car was considered the highest art of engineering in its time. Even earlier beautiful …

Source: ampnet

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… Giugiaro pulled out the pen for the Munich-based car maker, which led to beautiful results – example: this 3200 CS. He designed the body in his time as Employee at Bertone. That comes from Bertone himself …

Source: ampnet

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius

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… Maserati Khamsin from 1974, another milestone in Italian design. Similar wedge-shaped runabouts, Bertone also thought up later how …

Source: Maserati

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-ruined

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… can be seen on the basis of this Lamborghini Countach, here the last series (1988 to 1990). The fact that the experts from northern Italy were and are not too good for each other is also completely normalThere is hardly a model better than this, showing that helping to shape cars …

Source: ampnet

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-roadster

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… Hyundai Matrix that Pininfarina dressed in 2010. Lately, the name of the design forge has been known mainly in connection with the Ferrari racing cars. 2012 showse the Italian brand at the Geneva Motor Show …

Source: picture-alliance / dpa-tmn

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius eco-design

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… the FF. The abbreviation stands for Ferrari Four, which should indicate that the sports car is a four-seater. New design territory: the rear comes with dthe steep disc is unusually strong. Founded in 1930, the Pininfarina company survived as a design studio thanks to its close association with Ferrari.

Source: Christian Schroth

“Measure the great distance confidently – proud privilege at the steering wheel of a BMW,” promised the BMW advertising. In the case of the 4.75 meter long and 1.5 ton heavy BMW 503 with 140 hp, this meant a top speed of 190 km / h.

With the 507 Roadster, which is almost 40 centimeters shorter and 170 kilograms lighter, with ten additional horsepower and a long rear axle ratio, even 220 km / h. The speeds were determined by BMW technicians together with the TuV on the specially cordoned off Munich-Eiching motorway.

Wrong cars at the wrong time

The list of BMW 507 drivers reads glamorous: alongside Elvis, racing legend Hans Stuck drove the sports car to the finish line victoriously in the 1958 Schauinsland race. Alain Delon, Ursula Andress, Olympic ski champion Toni Sailer and Formula 1 world champion John Surtees also appeared in the BMW 507, while screen star Sonja Ziemann and Graf von Faber-Castell preferred the distinguished BMW 503. The then troubled BMW brand could not have hoped for better testimonials and a better image.

Yet the 507 and 503 were the wrong cars at the wrong time. BMW importer Max Hoffman had hoped that American customers in particular would scramble for the car. But the dreams were bursting – in the USA people still preferred to buy the stronger and cheaper V8 counterparts from their own country, such as the Chevrolet Corvette or the Ford Thunderbird.

No Corvette has been so strong before

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With the new top model of the Corvette, Chevrolet will soon enter the top super sports car league in this country as well. The coupe with the nickname Z06 can be ordered for 109,500 euros.

Source: Thomas Geiger

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius eco-design

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This eight-cylinder is the most powerful engine in the brand‘s history. Competitors from Lamborghini, Porsche and McLaren are significantly more expensive than the American sports caren.

Source: Thomas Geiger

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The Corvette Z06 is powered by a 6.2 liter supercharged gasoline engine with 659 hp and a torque of 881 Newton meters.

Source: Thomas Geiger

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The Corvette is impressive with a performance package that costs 17,000 euros extra.

Source: Thomas Geiger

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The four tailpipes of the Corvette are impressive.

Source: Thomas Geiger

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Nothing is from yesterday in the cockpit: the digital tachometer.

Source: Thomas Geiger

Until the official end of production of the BMW 507 in 1959, there were only 254 vehicles, while a total of 3258 gullwing and roadsters were built for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The customer response to the BMW 503 was similarly cautious. And in Europe there was hardly any potential buyers for the car – the luxury BMWs with the aluminum body drove past the mobility needs of the post-war years.

The resurrection of the 507th

After motorcycle sales collapsed in the mid-1950s, the grotesque model range of luxury and economical vehicles a la Isetta brought the BMW brand into a financial dilemma, from which only a completely new start and the saving millions of major shareholder Herbert Quandt could lead. The ongoing restructuring plan also saved the Bavarian brand from the almost bagged takeover by Daimler-Benz.

Alpina bedded the double carburetor on straw

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Coupe, sport, lightweight construction: this is what the type designation on the CSL 3.0 stood for. The series was first manufactured in 1968. Together with Alpina, homologation models for touring car racing. Based on the classic, BMW presented …

Source: Alpina

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… as one of the most sensational concept cars of 2015 at the Concorso d’Eleganza in Villa d’Este, the 3.0 CSL homage. But everything started for Alpina founder Burkard Bovensiepenit with …

Source: sp-x

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-Almost nobody here likes Prius

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… the double carburetor system for the BMW 1500. In the first model of the "New Class", the modification raised the performance to the level of the 1800. The component was sent in a wooden box bedded on straw. Iconic models like the …

Source: Alpina

How a roadster almost ruined the BMW brand-roadster

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… BMW 8 Series took on Alpina. The B12, based on the 850i with V12, had 350 hp at the beginning of the 90s. As the B12 5.7, the 850 CSi was brought to 418 hp. In 2002 the …

Source: Alpina

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… Alpina Roadster V8. He reinterpreted the Z8 – with more torque. The model achieved just under ten percent of all Z8s sold. The first M5 was …

Source: BMW

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… built in 1984 based on the E28. While this came to a maximum of 218 hp, the B7 Turbo – the first complete vehicle (1978 to 1982) that Alpina produced (pictured) – went with 300 PS at work. The latest models of the tuner are …

Source: BMW

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… the B5 and B6 Biturbo Edition 50 based on the BMW 5 and 6 Series. Both drives a 4.4-liter V8 with 600 hp and 800 Nm. At 330 km / h, the B6 is seven times fasterr and thus the fastest model from Buchloe to date.

Source: Alpina

It was the so-called New Class of the 1500 to 2000 models that symbolized the restart in 1961. But the people of Munich no longer wanted to do without glamor entirely. From 1961 onwards, the BMW 3200 CS V8 Coupe designed and built by Bertone carried away the flame that the BMW 503 had lit..

Today the former V8 timelapses are sought-after collector’s items. The 507 brings in two to three million euros at auctions. And the Elvis copy is likely to remain unsaleable after its restoration.

But there is some consolation: Because in its ancestor Z8, which was based on the original in terms of design, the 507 lives on. And if you are concerned, you can get hold of this used roadster for around 200,000 euros. Not a bargain, but relatively cheap. And possibly with the potential to increase in value.

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