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1956 BMW 503 Cabriolet / 69081 Vehicle Information

1956 BMW 503 photograph

1956 BMW 503 photograph

1956 BMW 503 photograph

1956 BMW 503 photograph

1956 BMW 503 photograph

1956 BMW 5031956 BMW 5031956 BMW 5031956 BMW 5031956 BMW 503
High bid of $260,000 at 2012 RM Auctions - Monterey. (did not sell)
Like several other auto manufacturers, BMW was in a tough financial situation in the post-War era, and was in need of a new model that would capture the public's attention. The 501 and its successor, the 502, were able to achieve this goal, however the prewar six-cylinder engine was outdated. A higher specification model was need. Along with the help of U.S. importer Max Hoffman, BMW management was persuaded to produce a luxury V-8 sports car for the top 10 percent that could be sold in sufficient quantity. The engineering aspects were handled by Fritz Fiedler while Albrecht von Goertz handled the styling. The result of their work was shown at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show.

This example, chassis number 69081, was delivered new to the United States for its first owner, Emanuel Weisfeld in Laurelton, New York. The 503s were often victims of overheating, and this example was no different. This car suffered a seized engine and the original 3.2-liter unit was replaced by one that had been part of a batch of smaller 2.5-liter BMW engines supplied to Talbot-Lago and subsequently acquired by Otto Zipper. A four-speed floor shift transmission from a 507 had also been installed.

The car was later purchased by Barry McMillan, of Hilltown, Pennsylvania, in May of 1976. In October of 1979, it was sold to Dick Hamilton, of Arvada, Colorado. The car remained in Hamilton's barn for the next two decades until being acquired by Don Dethlefsen in October of 1997.

In the early 2000s, Mr. Dethlefsen embarked on a thorough body-off restoration. The ladder frame and superstructure with aluminum body was completely disassembled. Over a year was spent treating the aluminum and steel body shell. The current engine is an original 3.2-liter 503 engine that was sourced from Germany, and currently has 14,000 miles from new. The radiator is purpose engineered and larger than the original but now fully capable of properly cooling the engine.

During the restoration, all other chassis and suspension components were rebuilt or replaced. Even the original Becker Mexico radio was fully rebuilt to factory specifications and functions as it did when new. A good number of NOS parts were sourced from Germany, including the engine rebuild parts, brake parts, and some of the smaller detail pieces, like interior knobs.

The car is finished in red and complemented by a tan cloth top and tan leather upholstery with red piping.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at RM Auction's Monterey, CA sale. The car was estimated to sell for $325,000 - $425,000. Bidding reached $260,000 but was not enough to satisfy the vehicle's reserve. It would leave the auction unsold.


By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012



2012 RM Auctions - Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $325,000-USD $425,000 
High Bid (Lot was not sold)
USD $260,000

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1956 sales)
1956/57 BMW 503 3.2-Litre Coupé
Chassis#: 69084
Sold for USD$31,050
  2011 Bonhams - Power by BMW - BMW Powered Motor Cars, Motorcycles & Related Automobilia
 
1956 BMW 503 3.2-Litre Coupé
Chassis#: 69084
Sold for USD$41,554
  2011 Bonhams - Power by BMW
 

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1956 BMW 503's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1956 BMW 503 Series I Cabriolet690812012 RM Auctions Monterey$260,000$325,000$425,000
1956 BMW 503 3.2-Litre Coupé69.0542010 Bonhams Les Grandes Marques a Monaco $135,000$175,000

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BMW 503 Vehicle Profiles
Cabriolet
BMW 503 Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 69081
Model Year: 1956
Profile and Auction History
Coupe
BMW 503 Coupe

Model Year: 1957
Profile
Coupe
BMW 503 Coupe

Chassis Num: 69084
Model Year: 1957
Profile

Cabriolet
BMW 503 Cabriolet

Coachbuilder: Bertone
Chassis Num: 69090
Engine Num: 30088
Model Year: 1957
Profile and Auction History
Coupe
BMW 503 Coupe

Chassis Num: 69116
Engine Num: 30101
Model Year: 1957
Profile and Auction History
Cabriolet
BMW 503 Cabriolet

Coachbuilder: Bertone
Chassis Num: 69146
Engine Num: 30152
Model Year: 1957
Profile and Auction History

Coupe
BMW 503 Coupe

Chassis Num: 69185
Engine Num: 30211
Model Year: 1957
Profile and Auction History
Cabriolet
BMW 503 Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 69283
Model Year: 1958
Profile


Vehicle information, history, And specifications from concept to production.
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