Elvis’ BMW 507 Roadster Is Finally Ready For Another Drive
Photography courtesy of BMW
History always seems to catch up to the world’s most interesting cars. This particular BMW 507 Roadster, a 1957, was famously owned for a few years by a young Elvis Aaron Presley while serving with the U.S. Army in Germany. The car’s early days—and its later revival—are perhaps even more interesting than its popstar owner. How did BMW bring this car back from the brink?
The automaker has recently completed the full, two-year restoration of this car, and along the way uncovered several fascinating details, many of which involve the car’s early life—things Elvis likely didn’t even know when he bought the car! Chassis 70079 was built in September 1957 and immediately pressed into service with BMW itself and racing driver Hans Stuck, where it featured at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, was driven on reporter test drives, shown at the London Motor Show, shown to King Baudouin, taken to the Turin Motor Show, featured in a German film…and raced on occasion.
Presely bought the car used, a fact highlighted initially by Bimmer writer Jackie Jouret who’d finally figured out what serial number the car had. Once Presley owned the car, its U.S. military registrations made it difficult to properly ID the car. In period, it would have been easy to spot this 507: its white paint was a magnet for women to write love notes in lipstick on its fenders. Presley, smartly, had it repainted red.
Once exported to the U.S., the car was traded in before long and found its way to an amateur racing driver who modified the car significantly—including by fitting a Chevrolet V8—before the car traded hands to a few owners. Finally, a long-term steward recognized the value of having a 507 to restore and started to collect parts for it, and this is when the car (thanks to Jouret’s article) was both properly ID’d by its owner and got onto BMW Group Classic’s radar.
Its first public appearance? The Monterey car week, and specifically at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it’ll be one of the headlining machines with which BMW and its fans celebrates the company’s 100-year history.
We’ll be there, of course—will you plan on seeing this reborn 507 in Monterey? Something tells me BMW’s security detail will be watching out for Elvis fans carrying red lipstick…