Elvis Presley’s 1958 BMW 507. Lost, Found & Restored.
BMW 507 #70079 left BMW’s Munich factory on September 13, 1957, painted Feather White with black leather interior. Options included a Becker Mexico radio, Rudge knock-off wheels, removable hardtop and the lighted “D” over its rear bumper signifying German registration. The car was sent straight from the factory to the Frankfurt auto show where it stayed outside the hall to demonstrate the 507’s performance. After its debut, it was driven by Hans Stuck, Sr. in various demonstrations and hillclimbs, winning the GT class three times.
After Stuck was finished with it, the 507 was delivered to Autohaus Wirth in Frankfurt. Eight days later, a young U.S. Army PFC named Elvis Presley took it for a test drive and bought it. Elvis was stationed with the Army in Frankfurt, so the car was registered under Armed Forces plates for 1958 and 1959. At some point in 1959, #70079 received a coat of red paint to try and cover up the lipstick marks left by female fans while the car was parked around Elvis’ barrack. When Presley was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1960, he and the 507 returned to the U.S.
The 507 disappeared from everyone’s radar. For over 50 years, classic car collectors and BMW enthusiasts have been searching for evidence that the car still existed. Finally, after an intensive investigation by BMW themselves and a magazine devoted to the marque, it was finally found in Half Moon Bay, California. Turns out, the 507 was purchased in 1968 by Jack Castor, an aerospace engineer. Castor was not aware of the car’s history and famous owner.
When Castor purchased the 507 it was barely recognizable. In 1966 two years before he took possession, it was purchased by an Alabama DJ with no sense of history and very little taste. The car’s engine had been replaced by a Chevy 327 V8 and tuck-and-roll upholstery was added to the interior. Castor drove it for about five years as-is, but then put it aside with the intention of restoring it to all-original condition one day.
Jack and his brother Tom eventually purchased another 507 #70089. It was later discovered that this second 507 had actually raced against 70079 when both were new. They gathered up as many other necessary parts as they could find for the restoration, and Jack documented their efforts extensively.
Eventually Castor agreed to sell the Elvis 507 directly to BMW Classic, but only if they agreed to fully restore the car to its original condition. Ultimately BMW Classic agreed to restore both of Jack’s 507s, the ex-Stuck/Elvis #70079 and #70089. 507 #70089 would return to Castor in California while 70079 remained on loan to BMW Classic, as a permanent display in the Museum and taken out for special events.
During the summer of 2014, a team from BMW Classic flew both cars and their parts to Munich. Upon arrival, #70079 went straight to the BMW Museum where it was shown throughout the summer in unrestored condition. Jack Castor passed away on November 4, 2014, at the age of 77 and never got to see either of the cars in restored original condition. 507 #70079 is the most significant of all 507s. As per Jack’s wishes, BMW Classic restored the car to its original specification. Also per his wishes, #70079 was transfered to BMW’s ownership, this beautiful car will remain in the public eye in perpetuity, enjoying a post-comeback career worthy of Elvis’ continued popularity.
Source: BMW Group Classic