Elvis Presley’s once-lost BMW 507 Roadster has been restored to its former glory by the German automaker, with the alloy-bodied V8-powered drop top meticulously repaired, renewed and rebuilt to brand-new condition by BMW Group Classic.
It’s also set to make a comeback tour later this month in California, where it will roll across the grass at arguably the world’s most prestigious car event, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Owned and driven by The King while he was stationed in Germany with the US Army between 1958 and 1960, Elvis’ 507 was already notable for being BMW’s display vehicle at the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show and the whip of hillclimb champ Hans Stuck (father of racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck).
Only 254 examples of the 507 were ever built too, making any 507 – let alone Elvis Presley’s one – highly collectible.
Elvis took the 507 back to the USA with him after his posting to Germany ended, but not before repainting the white car in red to camouflage the love notes frequently written on his car in lipstick by adoring female fans.
Not long after returning to the USA Elvis traded in the 507 to a Chrysler car dealer. Its next owner raced it, albeit with a Chevrolet engine under the bonnet and extensive modifications to the gearbox and rear axle. Two more owners came and went before it was bought by its final owner in 1968.
After spending roughly 45 years parked in a warehouse, the car’s provenance was unearthed and its link to Elvis established. With newfound celebrity status, BMW decided to sponsor the restoration of the thoroughly-dilapidated roadster and transported it to Munich to begin the rebuild.
The work required was extensive, and has taken roughly two years to complete. Its first owner after Elvis turfed the original BMW V8 engine (which BMW claims was the first production all-alloy V8) and hacked up the engine bay to fit that Chevy V8. It’s believed the original gearbox and rear axle also went AWOL around this time.
BMW Classic built a replacement 3.2 litre V8 engine from original spare parts and repaired the front end structure. Meanwhile, the car’s all-aluminium body was separated from its steel chassis and the red paint applied by Elvis stripped off and replaced with the cars’ original colour of Feather White.
BMW Classic has documented the full restoration process from acquisition to completion, and you can read all about it at the link provided. If you happen to be on the central coast of California later this month, you can check out Elvis’ former daily driver in person at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 21.