“Around 2006, I drove down to the Half Moon Bay. The car was standing for years in a barn on a pumpkin farm,” begins Klaus Kutscher, Restoration Expert at BMW Classic. “It was really rough. A lot of parts were missing…” he says. Even finding a BMW 507 is an achievement, but true ‘barn find’ cars often require a Herculean amount of work to get right. This particular car had a saving grace, however: “We searched the VIN number and realized that the car belonged to Elvis.”
That’s right: when Elvis Presley was based in Germany for the U.S. military, he drove this very car as his daily driver, even buying a second to give to friend Ursula Andress. As you could imagine, Elvis driving around Germany in a white BMW 507—of which there were roughly 250 examples made—wasn’t difficult to spot. “He loved the 507,” Kutscher says.
“The car was normally white, and all his fans made kisses with lipsticks on the car, so he was mad and he painted the car red after that,” with Kutscher confirming the legend. It’s stories like those that helped to keep the restoration moving, even as the true measure of the task began to present itself.
“The dashboard was cut and they had other instruments also in the car. They cut the frame. The car was painted twice, then black, and then after that again in red. Then the car [had] …a big accident.”
Responsible for restoration at BMW Classic, the car presented both an opportunity to preserve history, as well as showcase the talents of his team in front of some serious crowds. After recently making its full public debut during Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as the centerpiece of BMW’s 100-Year anniversary celebrations, the car will undoubtedly be active and present at classic car events for years to come.
“We always want to keep the car in this condition. That means in perfect condition. Now you can see the result looks, for me, beautiful, more than beautiful.”