BMW 507

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BMW 507
1957 BMW 507 Roadster
Automotive industryBMW
Production1956–1959
Car classificationRoadster/GT
Car body style2-door Convertible
Automobile layoutFR layout
Internal combustion engine3168 cc V8, 16 valves
Transmission (mechanics)4-speed Manual transmission
Automotive designAlbrecht von Goertz

The BMW 507 TS is a Roadster produced by BMW from 1956 to 1959.

Contents

Development


The BMW 507 TS, or "Touring Sport," was the brainchild of BMW importer Max Hoffman, who in 1954 persuaded the BMW management to produce a Roadster version of the BMW 501 and BMW 502 saloons that could compete with Jaguar (car) and Mercedes-Benz Sports car. Hoffman pushed for designer Albrecht von Goertz, who also designed the contemporary BMW 503, as the designer, over existing designs by Ernst Loof, whose sketches Hoffman felt were not commercially viable. Goertz was hired by BMW in November 1954. BMW engineer Fritz Friedler was assigned to design the mechanical package, using existing components wherever possible.

The 507 made its debut at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in the summer of 1955 [1]. Production began in November 1956. Max Hoffman intended the 507 to sell for about $5,000 U.S., which he believed would allow a production run of 5,000 units a year. Instead, high production costs pushed the cost in Germany to German mark 26,500 (later 29,950)[2], driving the U.S. price initially to $9,000 and ultimately $10,500[3].

Intended to revive BMW's sporting image, the 507 instead took BMW to the edge of Bankruptcy -- the company's losses for 1959 were DM 15 million. The company lost money on each 507 built, and production was terminated in late 1959 [1] [4]. Only 252 were built, plus two Prototypes. Fortunately for the company, an infusion of Financial capital from Herbert Quandt and the launch of new, cheaper models (the BMW 700, Isetta and eventually the 'New Class' 1500) helped the company recover.

The 507 prototype remains a milestone model for its attractive styling, which attracted some famous buyers. American icon Elvis Presley was the most noteworthy purchaser. In addition to owning another car, while on duty with the US Army in Germany in 1959 he bought a white 507 for US$3,500, a fortune at the time. He brought it back with him to the US, and at some point had the engine replaced with a 289-cubic inch Ford V-8. He gave the car to one of his most famous co-stars, the Swiss-born actress Ursula Andress, in 1963. She kept it for some 20 years and, in 1997, it sold at an auction for US$350,000. Another famous owner is John Surtees, who was given a 507 by MV Agusta (he still owns it). His series of engine upgrades yielding 194 hp became popular, and is known as the Surtees upgrade.

202 507s are known to survive, a tribute to the car's appeal. Bernie Ecclestone's 507 fetched £430,238 ($904,000) at an Auction in London in October 2007[5].

The styling of the 507 later influenced the BMW Z8 and BMW Z3.

Design


The 507 shared the frame of the 503, shortened from 2835 mm (111.6 in) to 2479 mm (97.6 in). Overall length was 4835 mm (172.6 in), and overall height was a low 1257 mm (49.5 in). Curb weight was about 1,485 kg (2,835 lb). The body was almost entirely hand-formed of Aluminum, and no two models were exactly the same. Many cars were sold with an optional hand-fabricated removable hardtop. Because of the car-to-car differences, each hardtop fits only the car for which it was made.

Front suspension was parallel Double wishbone, with Torsion bar springs and an Anti-roll bar. Rear suspension had a Live axle, also sprung by torsion bars, and located by a Panhard rod and a central, transverse A-arm to control acceleration and braking forces. Brakes were Alfin Drum brake of 284.5 mm (11.2 in) diameter, and Power brakes were optional. Late-model 507s had front Girling Disc brake.

The engine was the Aluminum Alloy BMW OHV V8, of 3.2 L (195.8 in³) displacement, with Pushrod-operated overhead Poppet valve. It had two Solex Zenith Carburetters 32NDIX two-barrel Carburetor. It rated 150 hp (111.9 kW) DIN, with 160 hp (119.4 kW) optional. It was mated to a four-speed Manual transmission with various rear-end ratios optional. It was capable of 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in about 10 seconds; the factory claimed a top speed of 141 mph (227 km/h), depending on gearing.

References


  1. 1.0 1.1 Seeliger, Georg (1993). BMW 503/507. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. p. 83. ISBN 3-613-01563-3. 
  2. Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol.4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. p. 172. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. ; a contemporary Mercedes-Benz 300SL was DM 32,500.
  3. Covello, Mike (2002). Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002. Iola: Krause Publications. pp. 137–38. ISBN 0-87341-605-8. 
  4. BMW Konzernarchiv
  5. Report of auction in classicrallies.com

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