2 September 2011

BMW's lone Blue Chip

For a marque with as much history as BMW, it sure does lack for top-tier collector cars. Compare it to German counterparts like Porsche with its many "giant killers," both on-track and on the block, or Mercedes-Benz, with such highlights as the pre-war 540K and SSK, the perennial blue-chip 300SL, and several other notable cars both open and closed, and you begin to wonder, "What gives?"

After all, BMW has its fair share of pre-war machinery (327, 328), and lord knows they've ruled the sport sedan segment pretty much since 2002. But the 327/8s don't command nearly the money of an SSK, and 2002s are just about a dime a dozen. Even the 3.0 CSL lags behind similar Porsche 911s.

In fact, since we're talking collectability tiers here, BMW has about one and a half cars that fit that bill. We'll round up and call it two, because the stunning $854k result for a 1979 BMW M1 Frank Stella "art car" might certainly bump up the already-rising profile of these cool German wedges.

But the real champ of the BMW scene is the 507 roadster. With just 252 built from 1956 to 1960, (though many more were planned), the lovely little roadster has seen its stock rise incredibly over the last decade, with big gains coming during the boom of 2005–07. Just 10 years ago, these cars hovered right around the $300K mark. By the boom period, they were trading closer to $600K–$800K. Last month in Monterey, we saw not one, but two sell for a million bucks at both Bonhams and RM.

With their attractive Albrecht Goertz design, an advanced ohv V-8, and a nimble chassis — not to mention their rarity when compared with the benchmark of 1950s German collectibles, the 300SL — there is much to love about the 507. And if you've owned one for a while, you have to love those rising prices, too.  

Stefan Lombard is the Managing Editor of Hagerty magazine.

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