Among BMW 507 landmarks cementing the brand’s sporting personality, few prove as consequential as the illustrious 507 roadster. Unveiled in 1955, the shapely two-seater channeled BMW’s interwar roadster heritage into a modern sculpted silhouette reflecting continental sophistication and performance advancing the brand image beyond economical sedans and practical cars.
Through beauty and brawn, the 507 roadster forms a rolling symbol of BMW’s automotive exuberance seeding the brand’s aspiration and passion during a conservative era in Germany. This article looks back at the 507’s timeless allure as an inspiration creating BMW’s modern sporting DNA. While short-lived, the model’s importance far exceeds its original 251-unit production through design, engineering and personality making this BMW an undisputed icon.
Bringing Excitement to BMW’s Lineup
By the early 1950s, BMW’s model range centered almost exclusively around practical 4-door sedans and economy cars appealing to rational buyers. Yet company leaders sensed opportunities rekindling the marque’s sporting spirit from the pre-war 1930s when rakish roadsters ruled the autobahns.
This changing mindset culminated in the landmark 507 unveiled at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dramatically styled by Count Albrecht von Goertz, the voluptuous V8-powered roadster channeled flowing curves and sporting ambitions into an optimistic halo showcasing BMW’s capabilities through sensuous shapes matching exhilarating performance.
Almost immediately, the stunning 507 attracted celebrity admirers from King Elvis to motorsport racers São Paulo and Hans Stuck, earning fame cruising the world’s most glamorous coastal roads. For a company rebuilding postwar reputation, this elevated attention signaled BMW’s sporting ambitions reborn.
Innovative Technology Matched With Style
While sensuously styled, the 507 encased serious performance credentials under its hand-formed aluminum bodywork. Power came from an aluminum-alloy OHV V8 enlarged to 3.2 liters developing 150 horsepower conveyed to a 4-speed transmission. Aided by a lightweight unibody chassis and independent suspension, the two-seat roadster delivered scintillating acceleration reaching 140 mph alongside nimble reflexes carving alpine switchbacks.
Yet 50 years ahead of predecessors, the 507 integrated safety with style through first-of-their-kind features improving control. Among them, racing-derived finned aluminum drum brakes enhanced cooling for repeated heavy stops and a ZF limited slip differential kept power balanced accelerating out of corners.
This polished combination affirmed BMW’s advanced engineering aligning with the roadster’s aspirational style and purpose.
BMW 507 Racing Heritage & Collectability Today
While intended only for limited production, the 507’s beauty seduced celebrities and racers spurring demand resulting in over 250 examples built through 1959. On track, the model earned class wins at Nürburgring and grueling Carrera Panamericana road rally revealing durability equaling style.
Almost immediately, the charismatic roadster joined elite company among 1950s automotive icons including Mercedes 300SL and Jaguar XK120. Today, the 507 persists as a prized collector commanding seven-figure auction sums thanks to timeless allure and racing pedigree allied with BMW Motorsport heritage.
BMW 507 Lasting Influence on BMW’s Personality
Despite short production dictated by high build costs, the landmark BMW 507 roadster established an infectious charisma and design influence continuing through modern BMW models. By channeling pre-war BMW passion into a visionary roadster, the model renewed sporting automotive enthusiasm in conservative post-war Germany.
The resulting explosion of interest and media around the 507 helped transform perceptions of BMW from merely building sensible Hansel sedans towards chasing driving emotions. In many ways, the sleek roadster laid groundwork for every sporting model since through excitement transcending practicality alone. The principles central to BMW’s DNA today – blending technology, innovation and soulful passion – remain seeded in this rolling symbol from the past.