Barn Stored For 43 Years This BMW 507 Roadster Makes $2,315,000 USD At Auction

Bought and driven straight into a garage 43 years ago this rare BMW 507 Roadster is quite possible the ultimate barn find.

The BMW 507 is one of the most desirable classic cars in the world with just 252 of them ever produced there really aren’t many chances to see one let alone own one. And when they do come up for sale they are very expensive. So, even this one as a light restoration project fetched $2,315,000 USD which exceeded the Bonhams estimate of $1,800,000 to $2,200,000 at the Audrain Concours Auction on September the 30th 2022.


The exclusivity of the car appealed to the rich and famous of the 1950s. Owners such as The King, Elvis Presley, to other royalty such as King Constantine II of Greece. The rarity of the car and this exclusivity when new has made it the most collectable of all the BMWs ever made.

This particular is very much original, except for the paintwork, with the optional hard top and Rudge knock-off were fitted when new and before being delivered to Caracas, Venezuela.

Later the car moved to Montreal in Canada where the current owner’s father bought it in 1979.

Somewhat unusually upon purchase the 507 was driven straight into an unassuming garage in a residential part of Philadelphia where it has spent the last 43 years, without even turning a wheel. It has been started up from time to time, but never driven.


The car was kept as part of a fleet of 507s by the family over the last 50 years. As it is largely original, the paint was redone in the 1970s if you couldn’t guess from the colour, Pontiac Bright Blue Metallic, which was done before the current owners bought the car.

The original leather has a nice patina, a lived in sort of look, but does not look to have been altered in any way.

Eric Minoff, Senior Specialist, Bonhams US Motor Cars, said: “This treasure of a garage find, which has been squirreled away for more than 40 years, offers a spectacular opportunity to the serious collector – and it’s offered at no reserve.

“The new owner has the choice of sympathetically refurbishing or fully restoring this recently discovered gem.”

Minoff added: “We are so excited to be returning to this exclusive venue and look forward to welcoming back our East Coast clients and collectors to the Audrain Concours Auction and to working with our partners at this world-class Concours.”


BMW 507s are very rare with only 252 ever built, this car, chassis 70059 was one of 13 that were delivered new to Venezuela. The records at BMW Classic and those at the BMW V8 Registrar Wolfgang Niefanger have confirmed that the car was originally finished in Silberblau (silver blue) over matching Silberblau leather and completed on July 19, 1957.

The order was placed through the Venezuelan BMW importer Eduard Zingg for the first owner, an American expat Lester Stebbins, who was a successful salesman with American Circle Company selling chewing gum before he moved to South America shortly after the Second World War. As the car was to be delivered to a hot climate it was fitter with a Jaguar radiator fan to improve the cooling.

Whilst Stebbins was settled in Caracas, Venezuela, he became involved in local motorsports and was eventually became the Chief Scrutineer and the Director of Automobile Racing of Venezuela. Not only did he host multiple racing drivers, but he also entertained politicians and celebrities. But in 1959 he was a part of a Franco-Venezuelan team that raced a Ferrari 250GT at Le Mans where they finished 6th overall.



Soon after purchase Stebbins added a small scoop to the cabin vent ahead of the front windscreen to improve the air circulation in the cabin and sometime during his ownership the car was repainted white.

In 1967, Stebbins was transferred to Toronto, Canada and took the 507 with him where it would remain for the next 18 years where he would eventually sell it and it would fall into the possession of Jack Koch in Ottawa, where in 1979 the 507 was resprayed in Pontiac Bright Blue Metallic.

At this point Koch sold the car to BMW collector Herman Bold though the BMW 507 enthusiast group. Herman and is brother Gerhard collected 507s and were starting to acquire spare parts and complete cars, including this one. The aim was to keep 70059 as a spare in case one of the others became incapacitated and it was locked away never needed. The price was $22,000 USD, a small amount now considering the value of that investment.

BMW 507

The 507 is one of the best looking roadsters ever produced and reflects the styling trends of the time which were popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Aimed at the US market the 507 was styled by a German living in New York, delivering a style for the local market but being obviously European in its origin.

Max Hoffman, the US importer of European cars, convinced BMW that if they could make a car to rival Mercedes 300 SL, then he could sell enough off them to make it a viable exercise. It was down to Hoffman that the 507 ended up looking the way it did as he introduced the independent industrial designer, Count Albrecht von Goertz, who had worked for Raymond Loewy designing Studebakers.

Goertz had never styled and entire car himself before, he had designed everything else, fountain pens and furniture to name two product groups. Even though the styling was a huge success, it would take until the 1980s for him to work for BMW again.

The base for the new sports car would be the 502 saloon, which provided its 3.2 litre all aluminum V8 engine which was dropped into a shortened chassis

Mechanical design work was delivered by BMW, while Goertz travelled back and forth to Germany to oversee the production of the full size clay model.

As the 502 was quite a substantial car, the chassis was heavy and even though weight had been taken out by shortening it necessitated using aluminum for the car’s bodywork. Even so, the car came in at 1280 kg and with 150 bhp performance was decent enough, if not what would be considered fast. The top speed was around 200 km/h, 124 mph, and the 0 – 100 km/h, 62 mph, would come up in 11 seconds. But for relaxed cruising the 507 was better than nearly all of them, with the V8 providing smoothness and lots of torque across the rev range.

The 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show was successful, with the new car receiving critical acclaim. However, the debut in North America in New York some two months earlier was met with disappointment. The price target of $5,000 had been missed by so much the initial selling price of $9,000 was more than double that of a Ford Thunderbird or even a Chevrolet Corvette.

Back in the UK that price would buy two Jaguar XK 150s and Even Mercedes 300 SL was cheaper but still prompted Mercedes to produce a direct competitor in the form of the 300 SL Roadster.

Production began in 1956, lasting until June 1957 with Series 1 where the design was revised making improvements to the interior. A deeper dashboard was fitted, a larger range of seat adjustment and the addition of a rear parcel shelf. This of course led to a price increase meaning that many potential customers were lost to one of the much cheaper rivals.

But it was the BMW, which was the car to be seen in, Elvis Presley, World Champion John Surtees, film start such as Alain Delon, David Carradine and Ursula Andress, all helping to add to the car’s desirability.

Sadly, the high profile customers were not enough to sustain the model and BMW dropped it after just over 2 years of production engine in December 1959 after just 253 cars were sold.

Thanks to Bonhams for the images,