BMW 503 Series II

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  • Very original vehicle with high quality patina
  • Since 1962 (!) with the second owner (family) in Germany
  • Original colour scheme in stone grey with first leather in brown
  • Engine "Matching Numbers" and comprehensively overhauled

The BMW 503 Series II

The BMW 503 was presented as a coupé and convertible together with the BMW 507 Roadster at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in September 1955. It was based on the eight-cylinder V-engine designed for the BMW 502 Sedan, which for a long time was the only German eight-cylinder engine made of aluminum. The design of the luxurious sports coupé was created by Albrecht Graf von Goertz, who had already designed the BMW 507. The aluminum body was then manufactured by the Baur coachbuilding company in Stuttgart. The 3.2-litre V8 engine produced 140 hp at 4,800 rpm and accelerated the car to up to 190 km/h. The main difference in the models from series 2 (from December 1957) is a middle gearshift (instead of steering wheel gearshift), electric windows (instead of hydraulic) and continuous straight chrome trim at the rear (instead of curved upwards). Despite the positive response from the press and the public, the BMW 503 was not a great sales success, mainly due to its high price: In May 1956, BMW was asking around DM 30,000 for the coupe and convertible. That was half the price of a semi-detached house and almost at Mercedes 300 SL level. Moreover, at the time BMW did not yet have an appropriate brand image for such exclusive and expensive luxury vehicles. Among the wealthy and prominent buyers were Graf Faber-Castell and Rudolf-August Oetker. By 1960, only 412 vehicles had been produced, 273 of them coupés and 139 cabriolets.

This vehicle

This BMW 503 Coupé is a series II model with a middle shift gearbox. According to the available BMW Classic certificate, it was completed on May 29, 1959 and first registered on July 1, 1959. The first owners were the married couple Guest. She a princess from Europe and he an entrepreneur and politician from the US who became US Ambassador to Ireland in 1965. When they owned the BMW they were living in Paris. In August 1961, they gave the car back to BMW AG in Munich for a resale. In June 1962, the car was sold through BMW for 18,000 DM to the father of the current owner in southern Germany (Nuremberg). The original purchase contract of that time is available. Also the corresponding old vehicle registration. The car is therefore in second ownership of a family since 1962. Since then, history is completely documented with numerous original invoices, receipts and documents available (three big Leitz folders). In May 1994, the BMW 503 was decommissioned and stored in its original condition. About fourteen years later in 2008, an overhaul was carried out while retaining the originality. This work, including the overhaul of the engine and the vehicle technology, is documented by photos and invoices. The car was then re-registered on October 9, 2008 by the son of the second owner with an H licence plate, which the vehicle still has today.

The original colour scheme was and is stone grey with a cognac brown interior that is still the first leather. The 57,000 miles shown are the original mileage. The mileage tachometer was presumably installed as the first owners initially wanted to take the car to the US. The engine is "Matching Numbers" according to the BMW Classic certificate. The equipment includes whitewall tires, Becker Mexico radio and four power windows. This BMW 503 fascinates with its aura as a contemporary witness of the last 60 years – and on a high level. The car is in a good, very original condition with authentic patina (eg interior, chrome parts). Some work for optimisation could be done. However, this depends on personal taste and individual needs. The simple but elegant color combination and graceful design make for a sophisticated appearance of this glamorous and exclusive BMW classic.

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Data & Facts

First Registration1959

Engine8 cylinder V-engine, water cooling, Zenith carburettor

TransmissionManual, 4 speed, middle gear

Weightapprox. 1.500 kg

Quantity412 units in total, including 273 coupes and 139 convertibles

Power3,168 cc, approx. 140 hp at 4,800 rpm (factory specifications)

BrakesDrums front and rear

Top Speedapprox. 190 kph

Price229.000,00€ (§25a, VAT not to be shown)

DocumentsBMW Classic certificate, German H-registration documents, invoices & photos for repair/overhaul, original service booklet and manual, BMW repair manual, original bill of sale and original vehicle title (cardboard cover) from 1962

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