according to Bimmer Magazine, 70097 ended up in New York City sometime between 1959 and 1962, when Birmingham, Alabama, radio personality Tommy Charles bought it, having been told that Elvis owned the car. Charles decided to drag race it, swapping out its BMW drivetrain with a supercharged Chevrolet V-8, Borg-Warner four-speed transmission, and Chevrolet rear axle.
Along with the Alabama plates still with the 507, it also displays a dealer sticker from Foreign Car Center of Birmingham, Alabama, and still harbors a brace of Stewart-Warner gauges in a custom plywood dashboard, along with a custom red interior, all likely from its dragstrip era. Yet it also displays a 1967 windshield sticker from Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, Arizona, likely from the car’s time spent with its next owner, Lloyd Cottle.
Cottle’s time with the 507 must have been brief; collector Jack Castor bought the 507 from Cottle in 1968 and drove it – by then with an unsupercharged small-block – back to California, where he kept it on the street for another several years before deciding to restore it.
Castor didn’t get to the restoration right away, however. Instead, he kept 70079 tucked away in a warehouse in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, while he collected parts for its restoration and documentation on the car’s history. The original engine – number 40094 – appears to be long gone, but Castor has obtained another couple of BMW V-8s over the car’s 40-year hibernation.
When Bimmer uncovered the 507 in 2009, writer Jackie Jouret called it one of two truly legendary individual BMWs: “If there’s a Holy Grail among BMWs, this is it,” Jouret wrote. Even then, however, Castor and Lange were hesitant to positively identify the 507 as Elvis’s; all the evidence they had pointed to that conclusion, but no documentation definitively paired Elvis Presley and 70079, only Stuck and 70079. BMW itself has not yet responded to requests for clarification.
Still, that hasn’t stopped BMW Classic from claiming that this 507 belonged to Elvis in its recent announcement that Castor has selected the in-house shop to restore it. How long the restoration will take and to what configuration, BMW Classic has yet to specify. However, 70079 will remain on display at the BMW Museum through August 10.
Mark Still had a 1975 Corolla and a career as a Hollywood master fabricator. Then he got his mitts on some Lexus parts.
Under the Corolla went the front and rear subframes of a Lexus SC400 and all its associated suspension. The engine bay swallowed the Lexus's 1UZ V8, but Still couldn't get the Eaton M112 supercharger to clear the hood, so he punched out a workmanlike hole—which has the happy secondary effect of giving frightened onlookers the chance to see the twirling blower pulley. And then there's the crazy header arrangement—the 1UZ didn't sound wild enough, so he fabricated some equal-length headers with four crossovers to perfect the audio signature.