Bonhams will commemorate their 10th anniversary of the Scottsdale Auction in Arizona on 21 January 2021 at the gorgeous lawns of the Westin Kierland Resort.
The auction is set to present 37 thoughtfully curated collectors’ cars that reflect over a century of American and European automotive history.
Top Ten Listings of the Bonhams Scottsdale 2021 Auction:
1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet A
1959 BMW 507 Series II Roadster
Price Estimate: US$ 1,900,000 – 2,300,000
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SC Roadster
Price Estimate US$ 775,000 – 875,000
2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante
Price Estimate US$ 500,000 – 700,000
1958 Porsche 356A 1600 T2 Speedster
Price Estimate: US$ 475,000 – 550,000
Alfa Romeo-based 6C 2300 Monza Replica
Price Estimate: US$ 300,000 – 400,000
1955 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide
Price Estimate: US$ 280,000 – 320,000
Price Estimate: US$ 225,000 – 250,000
1968 Lamborghini 400GT Islero 2+2
Price Estimate: US$ 200,000 – 250,000
1954 Fiat 1100/103 Turismo Veloce Charmant Coupe
Price Estimate: US$ 175,000 – 225,000
Featured Vehicle: BMW 507, Chassis # 70205
The 1950s was a great time in terms of automotive styling as car designers on both sides of the Atlantic were producing exceptional designs, a perfect example being the classic beauty of the BMW 507.
Indeed, the 507’s iconic significance was reflected when BMW Z8, inspired by the 507, was released after 40 years.
The story of the 507 started with entrepreneur, Max Hoffman, in 1954. At the time, he was the US importer of many different European makes, and the Austrian-born entrepreneur convinced BMW that if they produced a sports car that could rival the successful Mercedes-Benz 200SL, he will be able to sell enough units in the United States to make the project worthwhile.
Hoffman even knew the person that would be perfect to style the vehicle – Albrecht von Goertz, the independent industrial designer whose previous work history included working for Raymond Loewy on their trend-setting Studebakers. Although Goertz had designed almost everything, from furniture to fountain pens, he had never worked on designing an entire vehicle before.
The basic elements of the proposed new sports car were already seen in the 502 saloons, specifically its 3.2-liter, all-aluminum V8 engine, which was placed in a shortened chassis.
Fritz Fiedler and Alex von Falkenhausen took care of the mechanical design, while Goertz went back and forth between Germany and the USA to manage the production of the full-size clay model.
The sturdy nature of the 502-based chassis required that aluminum be used for the 507’s bodywork assisting in weight-saving. The vehicle ended up weighing around 1,280kg.
The car’s drivetrain can produce 150bhp and achieve speeds up to 200kph or 125mph. The vehicle has the ability to travel up to 100kph or 62mph in only 11 seconds.
The 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show displayed the prototype and it was met with critical acclaim, but the same cannot be said of its New York debut a couple of months prior.
BMW completely missed Hoffman’s price target of $5,000 as they had set the initial US selling price at $9,000. It was more than double the cost of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Thunderbird.
The 507 did get the attention of the Stuttgart firm and they answered with the introduction of direct competition in the form of the 300 SL Roadster.
In 1956 the main production of the 507 began with the first series being produced until June 1957 when they revised a few details in the design. Most of the changes were done to the interior, giving the 507 a deeper dashboard, a rear parcel shelf, and a bigger range in fore-and-aft seat adjustment. Unsurprisingly, there was also an increase in price which made the 507 more unreachable in the market.
Those who could afford the price tag spared no expense as the curvaceous BMW roadster was the car to have. A few notable owners of the 507 are Elvis Presley, film stars Ursula Andress and Alain Delon, motorcycling World Champion John Surtees, Prince Rainer of Monaco, skiing champion Toni Sailer, and the Aga Khan.
Given the very limited number of potential clientele, production stopped in December 1959 after selling only 253 cars.
Chassis # 70205 on Offer
This exquisite example of a Series II BMW 507 is on offer after near 30-year ownership and will offer the next custodian entry into some of the most prestigious events all over the world such as the Ville d’Este, Colorado Grand, and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
This example, chassis number 70205, was presumably produced in 1958 at the Munich-based BMW factory.
As a second series example, it has the increased engine capacity of the all-aluminum V8 engine, giving a greater performance to the series one. It also has a roomier cockpit and revised dashboard to accommodate taller drivers.
It is believed that the top-of-the-line BMW was delivered to the US, so it is safe to assume that Max Hoffman was the importer. Further cementing the belief that it was intended for the US market are the original VDO gauges in the dash that reads MPH and Fahrenheit.
Upon closer inspection, a lovely silver blue metallic paint can be seen under the dash area, which is what is most likely the color of the car from new.
In the late 1980s, a sympathetic restoration was done on the example, which is when it is believed that the BMW was given its current black exterior.
It appears that chassis 70205 received a factory replacement engine early on as the engine block has no engine number stamped on it.
The beautiful 507 Series II Roadster is presented in great condition, and when inspected closely, shows that it has kept most of its original parts. Significantly a rare Becker Mexico radio is fitted in the dash.
The smooth and stylish design of the 507 paired with an impressive sporting lineage of the Bavarian marque makes the 507 a truly timeless collector car.
Further details of Bonhams Scottsdale 2021 Auction can be found at Bonhams.