Unravelling the Mystery of Elvis’s BMW 507

For many decades, the roadster of the “King of Rock’n’Roll” was regarded as a mystery on wheels.

Only after a painstaking investigation by US journalist Jackie Jouret and enquiries made by experts from the archives of BMW Group Classic was it possible to solve the mystery of the identity and whereabouts of the car.

Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic
Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic

For many years Elvis’s BMW 507 had been locked away at a warehouse in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, not far from the location at which its rebirth is now being celebrated. It has an eventful history in which the “King” played the most crucial role, but not the only major one.

Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic
Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic

It begins at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, where the BMW 507 was exhibited in September 1957, having being produced shortly beforehand. The works driver Hans Stuck, also known as the “Bergmeister”, then completed several races in the white two-seater car, which was also used for press test drives and film shots.

Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic
Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic

In December 1958, a BMW dealer in Frankfurt mediated the sale of the roadster to probably the most prominent US soldier ever stationed in Germany. Elvis Presley drove the BMW 507 until he finished his term of service in March 1960. After that the car, which by then had been painted red, was transferred to USA, where it changed owners several times and was converted for racing use, only to soon be forgotten.

Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic
Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic

In 1968, engineer Jack Castor bought the car and decided to put it into storage for restoration at a later time. By means of the chassis number 70079, the avid classic car enthusiast was able to see the connection to Hans Stuck. However, it wasn’t until many years later that this connection introduced him to BMW Group Classic, and a comparison with historic documents then gave him the certainty that not only the “Bergmeister”, but also the “King” had once sat behind the wheel of his BMW 507. Castor and BMW Group Classic concluded an agreement that regulated not only the purchase, but also restoration of the roadster in Munich. Thus, around two years of restoration work produced a reconstruction that has preserved as much of the original substance as possible and restored the overall vehicle to its former condition in the year 1958.

Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic
Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic

In Pebble Beach, the BMW 507 will shine in Feather White, with a black and white interior, just like when it was sold to Elvis Presley. This was Jack Castor’s wish and is now his legacy, as the keeper of Elvis’s BMW 507 died in November 2014 shortly before restoration work commenced, which in addition to the “King’s” roadster also comprises a further project – Castor owned a second BMW 507. The blue car bearing the chassis number 70089 had also waited for many years alongside Elvis Presley’s car to be rediscovered. Likewise, this car was completely restored under the direction of BMW Group Classic and will now be handed over at the start of the Concours d’Elegance to Ron Gilmartin, a long-time friend and companion of Jack Castor.

Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic
Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week and the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, BMW Group Classic

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By Simon D

About the author: Car enthusiast from an early age. Creator of Cars Interest. Current ride: Porsche Boxster 987.2.