The BMW 507

Originally intended as
market competition for
the Mercedes Benz 300SL
at a lower price point,
the sporty and quirky
BMW 507 was only
produced for three
years —
– between 1956 and 1959.

The car, although
quite beautiful, had
some serious challenges
that took it, almost
immediately, out of
the running for Americans
interested in purchasing
a sporty mid-priced
roadster in the late
1950’s.

The first release of the
507 was plagued with
issues, including an
oversized gas tank
which took up valuable
trunk and passenger
room, and which leaked
the odor of gas when
the convertible top was
deployed.

The drum brakes
weren’t very good,
and an available
removable hard-top
option had to be
custom made to
each car, so it only
fit the car it came on.

And the production
costs, predicted to be
about $1500 under
the cost of a 300SL
in 1956, doubled –
and priced the car way
too expensive for it’s
intended market.
($10,700 in 1958)

By the time the car’s
issues were resolved,
BMW is said to have
lost about 5 million
dollars on it, and only
252 of them were
actually produced.

Still, the styling of
the 507 was first rate,
and the aluminum
193 V-8 produced a
reasonable quantity
of power for the car-
– about 150 HP, with
the double two-barrel
carb set up and the
4 speed manual, and
had a top speed of
over 120 MPH.

Acceleration was also
decent; zero to sixty
could be as quick as
11 seconds.

But it’s looks are what
is best remembered
about the car, and the
507 notably influenced
the styling of future
models , especially the
BMW Z-8.

.

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What’s My Line

I’m a sucker for old TV shows…….

Especially if they feature personalities of which I am familiar, even if the program is from before I was born.

That’s what’s so spectacular about You Tube;

Man, if you’re interested in a particular TV show from the late 50’s or early 60’s, it’s probably on there somewhere.

And in my case, a program called
“What’s My Line” always provides an interesting mix of vintage celebrities and lighthearted quiz show fun.

It ran from 1950 through until 1967 – and was the longest running network panel show.

John Charles Daly, a well-known
and respected broadcast journalist,
did a yeoman’s job as moderator –

— and he had to be fast on his feet to keep up with the intellectual, witty panel usually consisting of Random House publisher Bennett Serf, show biz columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, and the stunningly beautiful actress Arlene Francis.

TV personality Steve Allen was
on the show for almost 2 years
filling a fourth slot , as did
comedian Fred Allen –
but after his death in 1957,
the seat was usually filled by
a guest star.

The premise of the
show was simple:
the celebrity panel would question their guests to
try to determine their
occupation or claim to fame.

Almost every show would
feature at least one well known
personality for which the panel
would have to be blindfolded-

– but folks from a wide range
of occupations would make
up the majority of guests.

John Daly would welcome the guest and ask him or her to
“Sign In Please “ .

The guest’s occupation would
then be superimposed on the
monitors and the TV screen
so the panel wouldn’t be
able to see it.

Each panelist could ask the guest yes or no questions about their occupation until they received a ‘no’ answer –

— 10 ‘no’ answers and the
guest would win the game –
and the prize of 50 bucks.

There are several things that
make the show a real treasure
for a vintage culture fan –
– seeing the celebrities in
their prime-
Willie Mays ,
Mickey Mantle,
Ella Fitzgerald, etc….

— and the lovely level of civility
that was shared among the
panel and participants alike.

And of course,
the sometimes
bizarre occupations –

— sausage stuffers,
side-show performers,
pretzel benders,
trombone teachers —

— about the only thing you’d
know for sure is that you
can’t tell by just looking at them.

One other thing —
considering the program
ran every Sunday for 17 years,
it also means that you won’t
ever have to re-watch the
same episode –
– unless you want to –
once you catch the bug !

So, why not catch it !

!! HOY !!

The BMW Isetta

The BMW Isetta
is a favorite of mine
in the field of classic
vintage cars …

.. despite the rarity
of them on American
roads.

.

Originally
an Italian design,
it was produced in
small numbers by
Iso SpA, an Italian
refrigerator company,
before licensing to
manufacturers in Brazil,
France, Spain, Belgium,
Britain…..
and to BMW
in Germany
.

BMW took the basic
design, remodeled it,
and then applied German
engineering ingenuity
to create something much
better —
and more popular.

In a year,
BMW had sold
ten times (10)
the number of cars that
Iso SpA ever sold.

Soon, the car became
available in the U.S.,
and they sold over
12,000 of them here.

The little 3 wheeled car 4
made quite an impression
with buyers, was low
maintenance, and excellent
on gas- getting an average
of about 60 miles per gallon.

Actually, BMW made
three models of the Isetta:

In 1955, the “250”
had a R25/3 250cc motorcycle engine, a four speed gearbox, and a top speed of 53 mph. It was only produced for about 8 months.

In 1956-1962,
the “300” featured a
four wheel option and
a more powerful 298
cc engine.

In 1957-1959, the “600” was a larger four seater, with four wheels standard, and an R67 582cc flat twin engine. It’s top speed was around 80 mph.

Unfortunately,
the “600” found itself
in direct competition
with the VW Beetle,
….. and did not sell well –
— only about 35,000
were ever built.

The “300” Isetta continued
to improve and sell well
into the early 1960’s.

Despite that, the market forgiannacanale
small cars was shrinking,
while the competition was widening,
…. and in 1962, BMW built the last Isetta.

I heard a rumor, however….
…. that BMW was using the
Isetta as the basis for it’s
new cutting edge electric
I-3 .

If so, the Isetta may yet
make a comeback of sorts.

I hope so-
it’s a cool little car.

HOY !!

The Nash Metropolitan

The Nash Metropolitan
makes for an interesting
piece of automotive history ..

.. originally called
the “NXI”
( short for Nash
Experimental International ):

It was the first time
that a car designed
in America was
mass-produced
in Europe exclusively
for the North American
market.

Built between 1953 to 1961
in Birmingham, England by
what would soon become
the British Motor Corporation
( which absorbed Austin,
Morris, and Fisher/Ludlow ),
the car was also one of the
first that would qualify to
be called a ‘sub-compact’ –
before such a designation
even existed.

Primarily intended as a
‘commuter’ or ‘second’ car,
it was marketed specifically
to women as both cost-
effective and fashionably
trend-setting.

During the period of
it’s manufacture, it carried
several corporate name
plates, starting with Nash,
then Hudson, and eventually,
American Motors –

— for the last four years
of it’s production, it was
sold exclusively at Rambler
dealerships.

Austin-BMC produced
a total of three model
changes or series :

The Series I and II: from
1953 to 1955, the car
underwent few functional
changes , and even though
the engine was changed
from the Austin “A-40”
to the BMC “B”, the engine
displacement and horsepower
stayed pretty much the same
(1200cc) – although the car
was heavier due to a change
in gearboxes.

The Series III:
from 1956 to 1961,
brought a bigger 1498 cc
engine, along with some
cosmetic body changes
that gave the car a lower,
elongated look.

In general, the car is
remembered as a unique
and well designed small
car that in some measure
opened a niche for compacts
in the American market:
just under 95,000 Metropolitans
were sold in North America –
making it one of the best
selling imports of it’s time.

HOY !