Real Art on Wheels | 1956 BMW 502 V8 Convertible
Real Art on Wheels | 1956 BMW 502 V8 Convertible
Real Art on Wheels | 1956 BMW 502 V8 Convertible

1956 BMW 502 V8 Convertible

The history, of this 1956 BMW 502 V8 Convertible

In 1956, this BMW 502 V8 Convertible was originally supplied to BMW Dealer Hans Laun in Marburg an der Lahn. The rolling chassis, or Fahrgestell in German, was produced on February 17th in 1956 and delivered to Hans Laun on February 20th in 1956. Due to this location, the body style was named after the location of the first owner: Marburg by Autenrieth. A few days later the car was send to Karosserie Autenrieth Darmstadt. The documents for the car were sent by BMW to Hans Laun on July 24 in 1956 and the car was delivered to Dr. Balzer. In 1958 the car was bought by a butcher from Bad Berleburg. We have a photograph of the car in our file when the car was in his ownership. He kept the car until 1963.

In 1963, the BMW 502 V8 Convertible was imported into the Netherlands. The well-known boxing champion Wim Snoek bought the car in Germany and took it back to Amsterdam. In the history file we found documentation from the authorities from that period and an article from the 1960s about his successes. Due to a mistake by the referee, he lost the match against 1962 World Champion Ingeborg Johansson.

In 1967, Wim Snoek renovated his lovely house at one of the canals in the old city center of Amsterdam. He was able to pay the invoice with this car and the painter took the car back home. He sold it to a certain Mr. Watzema in Oldeboorn, a small village in the northern part of the Netherlands. He started to dismantle the car and had the idea of a restoration in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the early 1990s, the car was bought by its last owner – Mr. Jonker – who arranged a complete restoration. Then, in 2004, the bodywork was completely restored by specialized body shop Tiggelaar in Uithuizen. They also took care of the interior which was restored into original specifications. The original engine, a V8, 3.2-liter, was completely overhauled in 2013. Several invoices and photographs are on file available with the car.

This specific car is described in the book Typologie BMW 501/V8 Sonderkarosserien by Wolfgang Niefanger. In the book of Henning Zaiss, Erste Darmstädter Karosseriewerke, you can find a one-off-one BMW 502 Coupe Marburg and the only four Cabriolets ever produced. We are informed that three were produced as a four window convertible, or 4 Fenster. This BMW 502 was, however, the only car produced as a two window convertible. Two other BMW 502s with Marburg body style are known and in ownership of museums (one car is located in Japan and one is with BMW Deutschland).

We sold this BMW 502 V8 Convertible to a BMW collector in the United States of America.

The devolpment of a V8

Before the construction of the first prototype of the BMW 501 and BMW 502, chief engineer Böning had calculated the mass of the car as designed. He then realized that the six-cylinder engine would be barely adequate to power the car. He proposed the development of a larger engine to power future versions of the car to the management. They accepted his proposal.

Böning began the design and development of a the V8 engine. The BMW V8 engine used an aluminium alloy block with cast-iron cylinder liners. The V8 engine was introduced at the 1954 Geneva Motor Show, as the engine of the new BMW 502 Saloon.

Using the same chassis and basically the same body as the 501, the 502 was more luxuriously appointed. The light V8 engine, with a single two-barrel Solex carburettor, produced around a 100 horsepower. It turned out to be much faster than earlier engines. The published top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) was far higher compared to the first six-cylinder version of the Mercedes-Benz Ponton revealed in the same year. At the time of its introduction, the BMW 502 was reportedly Germany’s fastest passenger sedan in regular production. The 502 was also acclaimed as Germany’s first post-war V8 powered car. However, its high price meant it wasn’t a sellable car and led to low sales. Only 190 were sold in its first year of production.

The BMW 502 was distinguished from the 501 by additional chrome trim and more lavish interior fittings. Fog lights and individual front seats were also included as standard features. The 502 was mildly restyled in 1955 with a wraparound rear window.

At the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show a further development of the V8 engine was introduced. The capacity was now increased to 3,168 cc. The engine made its debut in three new cars at the show: the BMW 507 two-seat convertible, the BMW 503 coupe and the BMW 3.2. The last car was a development of the 502 and did not have a model number. It was simply identified by its displacement in litres.