Bonhams announced that John Surtees’ 1957 BMW 503 3.2 Litre Cabriolet will be on offer at the Goodwood SpeedWeek 2020 classic car auction.
A very rare 1957 BMW 503 3.2 Litre Cabriolet, estimate £220,000 – 260,000, offered directly from the family of the late John Surtees CBE, will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Goodwood SpeedWeek Sale on 17 October 2020. John Surtees, the only world champion of both Formula One and Motorcycle Grand Prix racing, was the second owner of this BMW. Bonhams sold a 1957 BMW 507 that belonged to Surtees from new for a marque record $5 million at Goodwood in 2018.
Bonhams Goodwood SpeedWeek 2020 Sale
After the traditional Goodwood auctions had to be canceled earlier in the year, Bonhams will return to the Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex, UK, for the Goodwood SpeedWeek Sale on Saturday 17 October 2020.
The sale will be a traditional live auction, with an auctioneer at the rostrum, allowing bids from a limited number of clients in the room. The auction will be live streamed enabling telephone, online and by commission bids, supplemented by online bidding aggregators.
Lots may be inspected in person in London by appointment or at Goodwood (participants only).
1957 BMW 503 3.2 Litre Cabriolet
A 1957 BMW 503 3.2 Litre Cabriolet, estimate £220,000 – 260,000, offered directly from the family of the late John Surtees CBE, will be one of the motoring history highlights at the Bonhams Goodwood SpeedWeek Sale 2020. It is the first time this motor car is offered at auction.
John Surtees, the only world champion of both Formula One and Motorcycle Grand Prix racing and nicknamed ‘figlio del vento’ or ‘son of the wind’, acquired the 503 circa 1990 and was its second owner.
The elegant 2+2 Grand Routière was produced in 1957, the year Surtees was the reigning 500cc Motorcycle World Champion, having won his first world title in 1956 for MV Agusta.
The 503 was designed by Count Albrecht von Goertz, formerly of the Studebaker studio, to appeal primarily to the lucrative US market. This example, one of only three right-hand drive cabriolets produced, was built especially for and delivered to Mrs Aldington of the family that owned AFN Ltd of Isleworth, the BMW importer of the period.
Powered by an all-alloy 3.2 liter V8 engine (140 bhp with a top speed of 118mph), housed in an all-aluminium body, the exclusive cabriolet was fitted with the first power hood to appear on a German motor car and electric windows.
This example also features a rather distinctive registration number ‘BEE 46’, a reference to Mrs Aldington’s doctor (a Dr Bee) who was allowed to use the car.
John Surtees’ BMW 503 Cabriolet
John Surtees bought the BMW from AFN Ltd when the company was sold to Porsche. As Surtees said: “A friend of mine, who was well aware of my keen interest in BMWs, phoned me to say they had something that was ideal for me.
“I purchased the car and fortunately it was in very sound condition having just been stored at the back of the workshop.”
In his ownership, “the 503 was restored to a condition that satisfied me. It looks superb, runs likewise and everything that was original works, including the foldaway roof operated by an hydraulic pump.”
John Surtees used this BMW as his personal car until his death in 2017.
The 503 is accompanied by a comprehensive history file, with details of works carried out during John Surtees’ ownership and a V5C Registration Certificate in the name of the eight-time World Champion, whose titles included the 1964 Formula One World Championship driving for Ferrari.
Most-Expensive BMW Ever Sold at Auction
It was expected that the 1957 BMW 507 that John Surtees owned from new until his death in 2017 would set a new model record but the result just over $5 million was nothing short of sensational. The new BMW marque record was increased to $5,031,683 — way above the presale estimate of $2,600,000 – $3,300,000.
It is unlikely that the 503 will reach such lofty heights but potential buyers should note by how many millions Bonhams underestimated that model before the sale.
The Surtees BMW will join other top cars already announced for the Goodwood SpeedWeek 2020 sale including a 1931 Invicta 4 ½-Litre S-Type Low Chassis Sports, estimate £1,000,000 – 1,2000,000, a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS, estimate £1,200,000 – 1,500,000, and a 1991 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta, estimate £900,000 – 1,300,000.