The German automaker calls it “one of the most spectacular classic-car discoveries of recent times,” and it might very well be. BMW Group Classic has found and restored the BMW 507 driven by U.S. musician Elvis Presley while he was doing his military service in Germany. It was originally believed that the car disappeared for nearly 50 years, but after almost two years of painstaking restoration, BMW is ready to present the roadster for the first time in public at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California on August 21.
Sporting chassis number 70079, the classic car will be shown exactly as it was when soldier Elvis Presley took delivery on December 20, 1958, with the exterior finished in Feather White and the 150-horsepower V8 aluminum engine residing under the hood.Naturally it was a daunting task to restore the roadster to its former glory. Even BMW admitted that the condition of the car really was a cause for concern. The original body parts and other components were virtually all present and intact, but the car had lost its engine and gearbox, while the rear axle was a replacement part of unknown origin. Rust was also eating away at the floor assembly, the seats were worn and there was no instrument panel at all.
According to BMW, the engine for the restoration was completely rebuilt from spare parts, starting with the 3.2-liter V8 getting reconditioned precisely in conformity with the original specifications of the BMW 507. And when it came to giving the classic a fresh coat of paint, BMW didn’t turn to modern-day processes. Instead, the automaker applied the primer coat, the filler and the top coat using a procedure that corresponds to the technology in use some 60 years ago. This allowed BMW to avoid the excessive color brilliance that is desired in today’s cars, but is deemed inappropriate on classic cars.
“The opportunity to bring back the BMW 507 owned by the King of Rock’n’Roll to us here in Munich for purposes of restoration in accordance with the wishes of the previous owner, Jack Castor, was a dream come true for all those involved,” commented Ulrich Knieps, Head of BMW Group Classic. “This was an exceptionally fascinating project. The outcome is not simply a source of great pride to us. Jack would undoubtedly have been delighted by the outcome.”