After World War II, BMW relocated to Munich and marketed motorcycles, returning to automobile production in 1952. In 1954, they introduced their new aluminum V-8 engine which served as a replacement for the pre-war inline-six engine. The new V8 was designed by Alfred Boning and loosely based on the cast-iron American V-8. The engine produced the company with performance stability and provided a means to return to sports car production. At the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW introduced their exciting new models. Alongside the legendary 507 was the 503 Coupe. Designed by Raymond Loewy understudy Count Albrecht von Goertz, the two new models were sensational. Pinin Farina even proclaimed the 503 as the most beautiful car in the show.
Production of the custom-made 503 began in 1956. They were luxurious, had a sporty persona, and expensive. In 1957, BMW introduced the Series II 503 which implemented the 507 V-8 engine offering 140 horsepower and 188 lbs./ft. of torque. This gave the alloy-bodied 2+2 a top speed of 118 mph.
Though a very impressive automobile, both visually and mechanically, just 412 examples of the model 503 were built, of which 139 were cabriolets.
This 1957 BMW 503 Series II Coupe, chassis number 69116, is powered by a 3168cc overhead valve aluminum V8 engine breathing through dual Zenith carburetors. It produces 140 horsepower and has a three-speed manual column shift gearbox. There are four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes and an independent front suspension by upper and lower A-arms.
It was a special order car and finished in the color of Ultramaron Metallic over saddle leather with brown piping. It was imported by Mr. Max Hoffman and eventually sold to an owner in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on March 8th of 1957. In 1962, William Forde purchased the BMW from the original owner in Wisconsin. Mr. Forde was a resident of Rochester, Minnesota. Shortly after acquiring the car, Mr. Forde became an enthusiastic member of the BMW Car Club.
In 1971, the car was put into dry storage where it remained for approximately three decades until Mr. Forde passed away nearly 40 years after his initial acquisition of the car.
The cars next care taker was a Santa Barbara resident who took ownership of the car with it having just 39,000 original miles. Since then, the car has been given a re-paint in its original color of Ultramaron Metallic. Some of the chrome trim was replated; the interior remains intact and original.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale by Gooding & Company at their Scottsdale, Az. auction. The car was estimated to sell for $165,000 - $195,000. The car found new ownership for the sum of $165,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.