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Lot 399
1956 BMW 502 Sedan


Selling on Friday

From The Rockhound Collection


• Rare BMW model
• BMW’s first post-war luxury sedan and Germany’s first post-war car with V-8 power
• Partially completed restoration, ready to be finished
• Desirable 2.6-litre aluminum V-8 engine

2,580 cc OHV aluminum V-8 engine, 100 HP, single carburetor, four-speed manual gearbox, torsion bar suspension, four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 111.6”

In the early 1950s, BMW wanted to get back into automotive production. BMW had an excellent reputation in Germany and eventually the authorities gave the OK for Munich to start building once again, first motorcycles and then automobiles. BMW’s first post-war model was the 501 introduced in 1952. The conservative styling featured soft flowing classic lines and it offered room for up to six in relative comfort. Powered by a 2.0-litre inline six rated at 60 HP, early critics complained that while the coachwork was up to German standards, the car was woefully underpowered.

BMW surprised the crowds, this time at the 1954 Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland with the new V-8 powered 502; touted as a 2.6-litre engine that could deliver 95 HP. The result was one of the fastest production sedans available in Europe, combining style and performance. Production of the new 502 started in 1955 and would continue until 1958 when the BMW 2.6 was released, basically an evolution of the previous model with a slightly more powerful engine. A total of 5,136 of these handsome V-8 sedans were produced between 1955 and 1963 and today they are highly prized and are a rarely seen example of post-war German hand-built workmanship.

Presented with a partially completed restoration, this example comes fitted with the aforementioned and desirable 2.6-litre aluminum V-8-powered engine with light surface rust scattered throughout the engine bay. The exterior bodywork has been mostly completed only needing a number of trim pieces, which are included in the sale. The body was covered in a charming cream over a brown finish that presents respectably showing minor signs of patina. Like the exterior, the inside has been retrimmed and is in quite good condition, displaying a nice glow thanks to its cream and brown felt upholstery. A common feature in most cars in the ‘50s, this BMW sports a column-mounted shifter for the four-speed manual gearbox. The mechanical systems of this vehicle will also be a part of the final assembly of the restoration, as it is reported to run rough, and the clutch will need attention. Rarely making appearances on the streets, this 1956 BMW 502 Sedan is a seldom seen opportunity to acquire one of Germany’s first post-war V-8-powered passenger cars.

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