In a joint effort between BMW Classic, BMW France and various French BMW clubs and associations, a number of rare classic and vintage BMWs will be joining the ranks at this year’s Rétromobile auto show in Paris, France. Rétromobile typically draws a fascinating crowd of varied classics from manufacturers the world over, and marks one of the first big classic car auction events of the year in Europe. Some brief statistics include 72,000 square feet of space used at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre in Paris, 650 exhibitors, 600 vehicles on display, and the participation and attendance of over 100 different clubs and their respective members.
The official BMW presence, led by BMW Classic, will include representation of BMW’s rich roadster and motorsport histories, boxer-powered motorcycles from BMW Motorrad, a 507, and the matching one-off watercraft of the late 1950’s which was rediscovered and restored back in 2014.
No discussion of BMW history is complete without taking a lengthy detour to explore the numerous successful motorsport endeavors. The Group 5 320 from the BMW Junior Team will be present in Paris, complete with its Formula 2 racing engine which develops 300 horsepower from just two liters. An M1 Procar is also scheduled to be on display, representing the single-make Series that was a result of Group 5 racing regulations of the era changing, which forced BMW’s first supercar to race exclusively against itself.
Among the most captivating of an already fascinating bunch will be a 507 finished in the stunning grey color on display below. The 507 will be joined by a Z1, both of which will act as representation of BMW’s extensive roadster tradition which continues today in the form of the newest Z4. Sneaking in beneath the detection of radar in the press release for Rétromobile 2019 is a brief announcement that says the upcoming 8 Series convertible will be unveiled at the show, carrying the open-air BMW experience forward to another dimension of luxury and performance.
Long believed to have been lost in the decades since it was constructed was a one-off, all-wood speedboat commissioned by BMW in the late 1950’s with styling and power courtesy of the 507. Built by German boatbuilder Werft A. Rambeck, the M507/1 all-aluminum overhead-valve 150-horse V8 of the 507 was redesigned M401 for its new marine application where it developed the same output of 150 hp. Written off as last for years, the remarkable speedboat was discovered back in 2014 and subsequently restored by its original constructor.
The exquisitely crafted boat takes heavy influence from the 507 in various visually obvious ways, which range from control surfaces, switchgear, instrumentation and the radio, to the exterior design, which wears identical vents originally seen on the front fenders of the road-going car.
BMW summarizes their presence at Rétromobile as a preview of what one will be able to enjoy at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, Italy, along the shores of Lake Como. The theme of the headlining concours for 2019 is “The Symphony of Engines – 90 Years of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este & BMW Automobiles,” and there will certainly be even more stunning specimens in attendance from BMW and many others.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]