Live Auctions

U Assemble It Project: 1957 BMW 503

Here’s one that I’m yet to encounter, a 1957 BMW 503. Considered a twenty-year barn resident, and one of only 416 assembled, this tourer has all of the ingredients necessary for a cool discovery. It’s a project, probably without instructions, but let’s see what’s all really here. Located in North Las Vegas, Nevada, this less than common BMW is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $13,200 with 67 bids tendered as of this writing.

Offered between 1956 and 1959, and intended primarily for the U.S. market, the 503 “Grand Tourer” as it is often referred to, was offered in a 2+2 coupe and roadster body style. A total planned output of a more vigorous number was in the works but BMW determined that the price would have to be set at an unrealistically high point to recover all of the involved costs. That being the case, production was cut short and the 503 was discontinued in mid-’59.

The seller advises that this example will need complete restoration and the images pretty well convey that necessity. As mentioned earlier, this BMW drew a twenty-year sentence but that dust and dirt look even older than that. The finish has a cheap respray vibe about it, accentuated by what looks like underside overspray and a slightly blue hue fogging the steel wheels. And the seller mentions that this car started life with a burgundy finish. The body is certainly straight looking but there are some signs of underlying rust starting beneath the lower trim line.

The tan leather upholstery is cracked and worn but all-in-all is still in fair condition. The carpet looks as if it has seen better days but at least it hasn’t fallen through the floors – perhaps a good sign for floor integrity. It all looks to be complete, there is no indication of missing components. Nice to see are the large, legible, and intact instrument panel gauges.

Under the hood is where things get interesting – no engine! The 140 HP, 3.2 liter V8 was “entirely disassembled fifteen or twenty years ago for an unknown reason“. The seller adds, “ABSOLUTELY NO MISSING PARTS. WILL COME WITH ALL THE ORIGINAL PARTS. Everything was carefully counted and nothing missing. Everything is there and is included in the sale“. And a pile of parts it is – check all of the listing images. I wonder if an instruction sheet is included…Somewhere in all of that, a four-speed manual gearbox should be included.

Rare? No doubt! A cool V8 powered (when assembled) German grand tourer? Spot on! Current condition? It’s gonna need some help and recognition by its next owner of what all is really included here and how to put it back together again. I really like this BMW 503, but…how about you?


  1. Will Fox

    Far too scarce (and complete) not to do a frame-off on. If done right, this is likely a $120K-$140K piece once finished. This will take a buyer who knows Bummers of this vintage. Either restore this correctly or don’t even bid. It’s that kind of car.

    Like 15
  2. RMac

    But…., my sentiments exactly it is a super cool car that I have never seen in the wild but out of my league
    Would love to see it when completed

    Like 3
  3. John A Layzell

    Starred in he movie “The Last Run”, 1971 w/ George C. Scott.

    Like 2
    • Will Fox

      ……….maybe one like it, anyway. This is almost as coveted and rare as the 507 roadsters of the same vintage.

      Like 2
    • Danny V. Johnson

      The car in that film was a BMW 503 cabriolet, by Baur. I can’t imagine what that car would be worth now.

      Like 1
  4. Danny V. Johnson

    Those are gorgeous cars, after total restoration. I hope it gets done. I’m an automotive artist and big BMW fan. I I haven’t seen a BMR 503 coupe’ in many years.

    Like 1
  5. Mike

    The Germans were really going for the American market with those La-Z-Boy seats.

  6. Mountainwoodie

    So……some almost 40 years ago……1984 (Gulp).I was at an auction in Phoenix, maybe it was an early B-J, can’t remember, and the last one I ever went to, when a pristine ’57 503 came up on the block. When it hammered at 50,000 I was incredulous. :)

    Just goes to show you how devalued the dollar has become. I dont know the market for these but I would imagine after a half million dollar restoration it would be worth a half million dollars…or more :)

    Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Whoops.correction.I was a ’57 507 roadster that went across the block at BJ in 1984..never mind.

      Like 2
  7. Lowell Peterson

    Real valid collector car. Any cost resto candidate.

    Like 2
  8. Chris

    I understand this car nearly put BMW under.

  9. V12MECH

    If this gem is sold for $30K , maybe more, I wouldn’t be surprised, by the time it’s restored, it will be a $300,000 car +.

    Like 2
  10. Frankie

    Hellcat engine, Alston chassis, black with aluminum seats and door panels

  11. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Should one endeavor to save this BMW from the scrap heap that person certainly could become a ba-roke angel. Get it ? Baroque Angel. Get it ? Bringing the Sat Nite jokes !

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Bob, At lease I gave you a thumbs up for that, I guess this crowd isn’t that familiar with the big 5 series sedans of the ’50s.

      I did own a 502 3200S sedan in the early 1980s, but parts were very expensive even then, and with bad rust in the tubular frame members, I decided not to tackle it further & sold the car, because back then it wasn’t worth much, even as a nice running & driving car.

      But my ex-boss at the BMW dealership I worked at had a 503 coupe and I had fun driving it a few times.

      Like 4
  12. robbert smit

    This is mouthwatering!

    Like 1
  13. Pete

    What I really need is an old aircraft hanger on a decommisioned Air Force base with some office space to convert into living quarters. I could install a Lift, Blast Booth and Paint booth. Then I would have a place to store all the cars I want to buy and be able to work on them. This would be one I would add to the stable. Guess I need to invest in some lottery tickets or something.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      There was an Air Force officer who back in the 1950s and 60s lived in Europe while in the US Military, and sent back many rare & unusual cars that he stuck away in big warehouses, out in the mid west [Nebraska or Kansas if my memory is right].

      Around 1990 everything was auctioned off, from a 2 cylinder NSU Prinz to 12 Cylinder Italian sports cars, the collection was very eclectic. The story was if it was unusual, running, and cheap, he would buy it and send it to the USA.

      Like 2
  14. chrlsful

    if you want this 0ne, cant get it, how bout the FV HK500 from this wk or AM’s DB Ml III from next week? We’ll only see a 507 oncea yr…

    Like 1
  15. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Aug 21, 2022 , 11:30PM
    Winning bid:
    US $49,400.00
    [ 92 bids ]

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