Taking stock – first things first.
After arriving in Munich, the BMW 507 was first presented to the public at the BMW Museum under the glare of a suitably intense media spotlight. While the sports car was greeted by excited faces among the audience, many were also rather taken aback by its sorry, bedraggled condition. There was a similar response from the experts at BMW Group Classic when they took a closer look at the car for the first time as part of the assessment process.
What does an assessment consist of?
The assessment process begins with an examination of the car’s authenticity and verification of the chassis number and other body numbers. Checks are also carried out on the engine and gearbox numbers and their technical components. However, as the roadster was missing its engine and gearbox, not all the stages of the assessment process could be completed.
The rear axle was not original either: it had been taken from a US vehicle, provenance unknown.
Next up was an evaluation of the condition and authenticity of the car’s components and a check to see whether these parts belonged to this particular car.
Here, the experts quickly came to a unanimous if not exactly complimentary verdict: “high-class scrap”, they concluded.
By contrast, larger sections of metalwork, such as the bonnet, doors and add-on parts, were all original and had the same body number – not something to be taken for granted with vehicles of this vintage.
Layers of history.
The paint inspection was undertaken by experts from BASF, and revealed some interesting goings-on beneath the surface. The subject of much discussion, the car’s colour scheme – which changed from white to red under Elvis’ stewardship – was shown to consist of eight coats of paint in total (cream, white, red, black, red and red again), garnering some quizzical looks among the assembled experts.
All in all, though, the BMW Group Classic experts did not encounter many other surprises. The company’s relationship with Jack Castor stretches back a long way, so the car was already well known to Klaus Kutscher and his colleague Axel Klinger-Köhnlein, in particular.
A precious gem.
A find like the Elvis-owned roadster is about as good as it gets for the experts at BMW Group Classic. It’s like finally unearthing a priceless treasure after a long search – notwithstanding the initial furrowing of brows prompted by the car’s condition. “We found the pitiful condition of the 507 quite shocking,” reflects Klinger-Köhnlein. “When you think how expensive the 507 was back in the day and consider its past owners...”