Category Archive 'BMW 507'

11 Aug 2016

Elvis’s 1958 BMW 507 Restored

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ElvisBMW
Elvis Presley’s 1958 BMW 507 Restored

Road & Track 2014:

Only 253 examples of the BMW 507 were ever made, and Elvis Presley owned two of them. The first, a white ’58 roadster, he famously gifted to his Fun in Acalpulco co-star Ursula Andress; the other, a ’58, has been in storage for over 40 years. Now, BMW Classic has obtained Elvis’s “lost” sports car and will give it a full restoration.

This Bimmer’s circuitous history begins in March 1958, when the US Army officially inducted its most famous Korean War draftee. While assigned to the Third Armored Division, Elvis met hillclimb ace Hans Stuck, who was racing a 1957 BMW 507 at Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry in southern France. Presley was smitten with the 150-hp droptop. After having its 3.2-liter V8 rebuilt and a new four-speed manual gearbox installed, he leased it that December.

The car was originally Feather White, but the King quickly tired of female fans scrawling their phone numbers in lipstick across its hood and fenders. To solve the problem, he had the car re-sprayed in Porsche Red.

When he completed his tour of duty in the spring of 1960, Elvis returned home without his BMW, but by way of a different owner, the car was brought to New York soon afterward. It was used for drag racing in Alabama (fitted with a blown Chevy V8, Borg-Warner four-speed, and beefy rear axle) before being sold several times, eventually winding up in the possession of BMW Classic.

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Design Boom 2016:

In the spring of 2014 the automobile was shipped to Germany in a container, together with the spare parts. The first stop in Munich was the BMW Museum where the roadster was presented to an admiring audience in the special exhibition ‘Elvis’ BMW 507 – lost and found’. work then began on restoration in the workshop the classic divison. the vehicle was completely dismantled, a process which in this special case took an entire week, rather than the two days that had been originally planned. Initially, the aluminium body was separated from the floor assembly made of sheet steel. The paint was then removed from the floor assembly in an acid bath and from the body in an alkaline bath. The engine had already been removed and the remnants of the interior that remained had been set aside.

Many of the components had to be remanufactured from scratch because the stocks of original parts for the ‘507’ are so rare. Traditional craftsmanship in the style of the 1950s was melded with high-tech production procedures of the modern world. The instrument panel was newly cast on the basis of the original. The leather upholstery was created to precisely match the pattern shown in old photographs and catalogues. When the seats were reconstructed, it proved possible to use the original steel subframe for the seats after all the rust had carefully been removed. A rubberized coconut mat was then drawn over the steel springs. This natural material was already being used in the 1950s for series production of the ‘507’, alongside the overlaid felt and linen layers to make the seats as comfortable as possible. Window winders and door handles were remanufactured in an advanced, modern 3D printing process based on the original dimensions. After producing a digital data set by three- dimensional scan of the original part, a facsimile was generated with the help of additive manufacturing and mirror finished afterwards. By contrast, the rubber seal for the tank cover was reproduced in a conventional manufacturing procedure.

The engine for Elvis’ car was completely rebuilt from spare parts. The 3.2 litre v8 engine was reconditioned precisely in conformity with the original specifications of the ‘507’, but it was not given an engine number on account of the unavoidable but otherwise unusual use of old and new components. The front frame carrier, which had been cut down at an early stage, also had to be reproduced in its original geometry and integrated in the floor assembly. The wooden nailing strip for fixing the soft top in place was also reproduced using materials and processing methods in keeping with the 1950s.

Maximum authenticity was also the objective in painting the vehicle. The BMW is now resplendent once again in feather white. the primer coat, the filler and the top coat were not applied by the methods that are commonplace today. Rather, they were implemented in a procedure that corresponds to the technology in use some 60 years ago. This enabled the excessive colour brilliance to be avoided which is considered desirable nowadays but is inappropriate for classic cars.


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