Development of BMW 507 concept

Nevertheless the fact that after the World War II, in the beginning of fifties the economy of Europe was still in deep recession, BMW company (hereinafter – BMW) considered that success could be obtained when directing efforts towards the segment of luxury cars. It was very important for BMW to reveal pre-war reputation for fast, durable, uniquely styled road cars. Furthermore, BMW endeavoured to provide the “response” to Mercedes Benz 300SL.

The supporter of this risky BMW direction was importer of the cars in US - Maxx Hoffman, which persuaded BMW to produce the roadster version of BMW 501 and BMW 502. Consequently BMW Company, impelled by Maxx Hoffman, concluded the contract with designer Albrecht von Goertz regarding the designing of BMW 507 (hereinafter – 507) in November, 1954.
507 was introduced in New York, summer of the year 1955. In respect that the American upper class loved to drive European cars down the highways in order to distinguish themselves from the majority of Americans, who were driving huge American saloons, Maxx Hoffman thought that 507 will be the product hitting US market.
Market attractiveness of 507
Serial production started in November, 1956. Expected car price prior the production was ~ 5 000 $ and the production volumes were projected approximately 5 000 units per year. However, due to the specific technologies (hand formed aluminium alloy body, V8 engine), during the course of the release the price of 507 in Germany was 26 500 DM, moreover hard top additionally cost 1 500 DM. The price of the car subsequently reached 29 950 DM.
The price in US new car market was in a range from 9 000 to 10 500 $. To make a comparison, the “king” of that time Mercedes 300sl cost from 6 800 to 8 900 $. In UK market 507 was priced 4 201 £, when Jaguar XK140 cost 1 693 £ and Aston Martin could be purchased for 3 901 £.

This price comparison illustrates that regardless the exclusive and snazzy design, worldwide known persons, which fancied buying this car and initial euphoria, consequently it was evident that the ration of price and performance of 507 wasn’t most reasonable. 507 was just too heavy, and instead of expected 200 HP the engine had only 140-150 HP.

Even though the potential buyers were asking themselves a question “whether to buy 507”, they easily persuaded themselves to forget it, because they could buy for less money Mercedes Benz 300SL, which was more powerful (215 Hp) and was able to reach 235 km/h maximum speed. Moreover well-liked Porsche models in fifties of twentieth century were even more reasonable priced comparing to Mercedes Benz 300sl. As if that were not enough, both of those cars had racing pedigrees, while the 507 had none.

Production lines, technical data

507 was produced in two production runs: Series I and Series II. Series I was produced since November, 1956 till June, 1957 and Series II since June 1957 till December, 1959. The Series I had a fuel tank with the capacity of 110 litres, which was installed against the seat back in the trunk area. In order to increase the space of trunk area, the fuel tank was decreased up to 65 litres and positioned under the floor of the trunk. The Series II 507 had also renewed dashboard and the rear bulkhead was moved back slightly to provide more luggage space behind the seats. It was built 42 units of Series I and 210 units of Series II in total.

The 507 shared the frame of the 503, shortened from 2,835 millimetres (111.6 in) to 2,480 millimetres (98 in). Overall length was 4,835 millimetres, and overall height was 1,257 millimetres. Curb weight was about 1,330 kilograms. It should be emphasized, that the body, as described above, was almost entirely hand-formed of aluminium, and no two models were exactly the same. Many cars were sold with hand-fabricated removable hardtop. Because of the car-to-car differences, each hardtop fits only the car for which it was made.

From the design point of view 507 is an exclusive work-piece. To compare it with other cars, it is exceedingly low, smooth and seems like having endless side contour. Exceptional feature of the design were air intakes, installed on the front fenders, between the door and wheel. This detail easily expressed BMW symbolism, containing blue and white tones. At the front, chrome grills, emphasizing the individuality, and widened but still recognizable BMW “kidney” were fitted. 507 had twin exhaust system, which was exquisitely “protruded” underneath the rear part of the car.

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D&S Automobiles