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Elvis Presley's BMW Brought Back to Life
Elvis Presley’s rare BMW is about to make its debut after a painstaking two-year restoration.
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Elvis Presley's rare BMW is about to make its debut after a painstaking two-year restoration. Car collectors, not to mention fans of the King of Rock and Roll, will be wowed.
BMW Group

The BMW 507 had been collecting dust for over 40 years until its owner and a writer for Bimmer magazine traced the car’s history to Presley, who acquired the roadster when he was stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany. BMW Group Classic, the company’s in-house restoration unit, bought Presley’s car for an undisclosed amount and restored the car to its original condition.
BMW Group

BMW is ready to show off the project at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a prestigious car exhibition that will conclude Monterey Car Week on Aug. 21.
BMW Group

The BMW roadster is considered the most collectible production car from the German automaker. BMW built just 254 examples, and Presley owned two of them.
BMW Group

Presley’s BMW 507 was surrounded by mystery. BMW says there were questions about the chassis number. Car specialists weren’t even sure if the famous musician shipped the car back to the U.S. when he completed his military service. Jackie Jouret, a writer for Bimmer magazine, and BMW’s experts were able to put the pieces together.
BMW Group

The definitive evidence came in the form of an insurance proposal that listed the car’s owner as Elvis Aaron Presley, who purchased the BMW 507 in late 1958.
BMW Group

It turned out that Presley’s car was first owned by racecar driver Hans Stuck, who won multiple hillclimb races in Europe behind the wheel of BMW 507 chassis number 70079. Stuck also took the car on a tour of sorts, showing it off at the London Motor Show and presenting it to Belgium’s King Baudouin. The 507 later appeared in a German film called “Hula-Hopp Conny.”
BMW Group

Presley was drafted by the U.S. Army and officially began his service in March 1958. He was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, West Germany. Presley, 23 years old at the time, bought the BMW 507 from a dealer in Frankfurt. He took delivery of the car on December 20, 1958.
BMW Group

Presley liked to drive the two-seat convertible between his home and the base. There was one problem: Presley’s female fans would follow him wherever he went, and they liked to paint messages on his BMW with lipstick. Presley solved the problem by having the white car painted red.
BMW Group

Back home in America after leaving the Army in March 1960, Presley traded his beloved BMW 507 to a Chrysler dealer in New York. Radio host Tommy Charles bought the car and installed a Chevrolet engine, eventually entering the BMW in several races. Eventually, following two more changes of ownership, California space engineer Jack Castor purchased the car in hopes of restoring it.
BMW Group

The BMW 507 was stored in a pumpkin warehouse, where it sat for nearly five decades. Castor had only speculated about the BMW’s possible connection to Presley. A visit from Jouret, the journalist, confirmed exactly what he had thought. Jouret called its chassis number, 70079, the “Holy Grail among BMW numbers.”
BMW Group

After acquiring the car from Castor in 2014, BMW Group Classic brought it to the BMW Museum in Germany. (The company arranged an exhibition under the slogan, “Return to Sender.”)
BMW Group

The unrestored 507 was in rough condition with rust eating away at the floor. It was also missing its original engine, gearbox and instrument panel. But the original body and other components were intact, and Castor had already collected some parts for a future restoration.
BMW Group

BMW started the project by completely taking the car apart, a process that took an entire week. Specialists had to remanufacture many parts from scratch. Some parts, like the door handles, were created using a 3D printer.
BMW Group

BMW rebuilt the 507’s 3.2-liter V8 engine using old and new parts.
BMW Group

BMW used old photos of the car to match the leather seat upholstery to the original look. The BMW 507 also got a new coat of Feather White paint, the same color it sported when Presley bought it. The paint was applied in the same way it was nearly 60 years ago. BMW says its goal was “maximum authenticity.”
BMW Group

BMW will display the 507 in Pebble Beach, California, where visitors will see the car in the same condition it was in when Presley owned it.
BMW Group

Castor, who passed away at the age of 77 in November 2014, will be remembered at the Pebble Beach exhibition. “The BMW 507 will be presented there for the first time not simply as the automobile of the ‘King,’ but also as the legacy of Jack Castor and a masterpiece of BMW Group Classic,” BMW says.
BMW Group

The famed BMW isn’t for sale, but it’s worth a fortune. The BMW 507 model has an average value of $1.7 million, according to Hagerty, and Presley’s car would be worth even more considering its owner. A 1963 Rolls-Royce Phantom V touring limousine owned by Presley sold for $393,000 at a Bonhams auction in 2014. The Rolls-Royce would normally be worth about $140,000, meaning the buyer paid an Elvis premium of about 180%.
BMW Group

Elvis Presley's BMW Brought Back to Life

Elvis Presley’s rare BMW is about to make its debut after a painstaking two-year restoration.

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