Cars

BMW Is Restoring Elvis’s 507 Roadster

Elvis was best known for driving Cadillacs, but The King didn’t limit himself. Near the end of his military stint in Germany, he picked up the BMW 507 roadster you see here for a fraction of what it should have cost. Of all 252 507s that BMW built, this one undoubtedly led the most fascinating life, and now, BMW Classic is going to restore it.

Long before Elvis acquired it, the car was BMW’s official show car for the Frankfurt Motor Show. It then saw rough duty as BMW’s official press fleet car, wherein the world’s motoring press likely neglected every BMW precaution to drive the car responsibly. The car was abused even further after that, seeing professional race duty in the hands of the legendary Hans Stuck.

By the time Presley took possession of the car it was in need of a pretty substantial overhaul, so in addition to rebuilding the engine and having some body issues sorted, Elvis decided the time was right to have the car repainted.

Out went the factory white, replaced with a bright red. Legend has it that Elvis chose red to prevent women from writing their phone numbers on the car in lipstick. To quote Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the king.”

Elvis didn’t own it forever, though, and it ultimately wound up in the hands of an Alabama disc jockey, who promptly put an American V8 under the hood and proceeded to regularly drag race it.

In the end, either a sick, twisted dealer put their badge on a piece of automotive history, or they had zero clue about the car’s provenance. Either way, a California collector snatched up the car and promptly locked it in a garage for several decades.

Recently, the car wound up in the hands of an owner with an appreciation for its history. They’ve sent it to BMW Classic to be fully restored, which brings us full circle.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He looked up some background on Elvis while writing this piece, and learned some things he can never unlearn.