If you’re a classic car fan and you’re heading to Monterey this August for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, prepare to get all shook up.
Elvis Presley’s 1957 BMW 507 Series I Roadster is heading to this year’s event as part of BMW’s Centennial Display.
The King’s love affair with cars is almost as well documented as his life in music. And while he’s most famous for an obsession with Cadillac and for shooting his De Tomaso Pantera — such was his frustration at the car’s complete lack of reliability — his first automotive crush was on the Albert Graf Goertz-designed 3.3-liter V8-powered roadster.
The story goes that while completing his national service in Germany, Presley traveled to France where he saw the 507 race at the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry. It was love at first sight and in December 1958 he leased the actual car.
Unfortunately the car was finished in feather white, meaning that every time he parked it, its color made it easy for fans to cover it in phone numbers, pledges of devotion and lipstick kisses.
To counter this issue and to hide the marks, Elvis had the car repainted a bright red. Elvis sold the car in the early 1960s, but not before he’d been photographed in it many times — the car even appeared with him on film — raising the 127mph sportscar’s profile significantly in the US.
Two years ago it came into BMW Group Classic’s possession and it has now undergone a complete ground-up restoration including returning it to its original white exterior finish.
And on August 21 at Pebble Beach the finished car will be revealed to the public for the very first time alongside a host of other BMW classics including two of its Art Cars (standard BMWs painted by famous artists Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons).
The 507 Roadster and its rarer Series II convertible sister are among the most sought-after and collectable BMW cars. So much so that when the company wanted to build a luxurious yet incredibly fast modern-day convertible the end result, the Henrik Fisker-designed Z8, was essentially a contemporary reimagining of the 507 Series II.
However, unlike the Z8, only 254 BMW 507 Series I and 525 507 Series II models were built, and most of them are still on the road. In terms of value, a pristine example, without the provenance of being once owned by ‘The King’ is worth upwards of $2 million.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance takes place August 21 in California.