Following a painstaking two-year restoration, Elvis Presley’s BMW 507 will be one of the star attractions at this year’s Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California – the first time it has been shown in a public arena since its restoration. So if you…ahem… can’t help falling in love with the roadster, California is the place to be. Join us as we take a look at The King of Rock and Roll’s coolest car.
The wonder of you
This BMW 507 may not have been Elvis Presley’s first car, but it’s arguably his most beautiful. The 507 was delivered new to racing driver Hans Stuck in Germany, before Elvis chanced upon it at a dealer in Frankfurt. A Little Less Conversation took place, with ‘The King’ simply saying: I Want You, I Need You, I Love You. OK, we promise there’ll be no more half-baked references to Elvis’ back catalogue. Well, not many.
Elvis was stationed in Germany on military service and used the BMW 507 to drive between his home in Bad Nauheim and the US Army Base in Friedberg. Having such an eye-catching and rare car — only 252 were built — meant it was easy for his female fans to keep tabs on him. The roadster was frequently daubed with messages of love painted in lipstick, causing some degree of embarrassment for the young soldier.
Shipped to America
The solution: respray the BMW 507 in red paint. In March 1960, when Elvis completed his military service, he returned to the US and later traded in the now red roadster at a Chrysler dealer in New York. A Chevrolet engine transplant soon followed, with the 507 enjoying a new life on the race tracks of America. Cutting a long story short: the car was put into storage, where it remained for many years to come.
In the spring of 2014, the BMW 507 was shipped to Germany in a container, where it went on display at the BMW Museum in Munich under the banner of ‘Elvis’s BMW 507 – lost and found’. A painstaking two-year restoration followed, with BMW Group Classic dismantling the vehicle, effectively starting from scratch.
As good as new
The results are nothing short of stunning. BMW used a mixture of old and new techniques to create what must surely be the best 507 in the world – certainly the one with the most provenance. Window winders and door handles were re-manufactured using 3D printing, while the 3.2-litre V8 engine was reconditioned using the original specifications. It really has got us all shook up.