The BMW 507 was a sports car considered by many to be the best sports car ever made (we’re talking about classic cars, of course, so obviously it can’t do much in terms of performance against more modern vehicles). The car came from the mind of Max Hoffman (a BMW importer in the United States), and represented a revival of the marque after it had been badly damaged during World War II. Hoffman succeeded in convincing BMW to build a sports car that would show the world its capabilities, a suitable rival to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
The body of the BMW 507 was designed by Count Albrecht von Goertz, who drew elegant lines for a two-door, two-seat roadster. The result of this challenge was the unique 507, which was unveiled to the public at the 1955 New York Motor Show, although production was to begin the following year.
The body of the 507 was made entirely of aluminium, which enabled it to keep its weight down.
The engine chosen for this car was a 3,200 cc V8 – a boosted and enlarged version of the engine used in BMW’s 502 saloon – which delivered 150 hp. It was fed by two twin-barrel carburettors and could reach speeds of up to 217 kilometres per hour (km/h).
The BMW 507 is one of the most valuable cars in the world, with a price tag of up to $3 million.
The 507 was designed by Albrecht von Goertz and was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1955, where it caused a sensation. Its design was inspired by aeronautics and its interior was similar to that of a fighter jet. Its engine was also unique: it had an aluminium block with two overhead camshafts, four carburettors and a three-bearing crankshaft.
With this engine, the BMW 507 reached a top speed of 160 km/h and accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 11 seconds, making it one of the fastest cars of its time.
However, according to Max Hoffman’s forecasts, the 507 would sell for $5,000 (12,000 marks) with sales of 2,000 units per year. However, these forecasts turned out to be very wrong and when the sports car finally went on sale, its price reached $9,000 due to high production costs. This high price meant that production of the model was much lower than expected, bringing BMW close to bankruptcy. Only 254 units were built between 57 and 59.