England

John Surtees' 'very special' 1957 BMW sells for £4m

John Surtees with his 1957 BMW 507 Roadster Image copyright Bonhams
Image caption John Surtees described the car as "very, very special"

A car owned by former Formula 1 and motorcycling world champion John Surtees has sold for nearly £4m.

The "very, very special" 1957 BMW 507 Roadster, which was owned by Surtees from new, was auctioned by Bonhams during the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Surtees is the only man to have won grand prix world championships on both two and four wheels.

He bought the car with money that was given to him as a reward for taking his first motorcycling world crown.

Surtees won 500cc motorcycling titles in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 - and the F1 crown in 1964.

A Bonhams spokesman said: "He used this graceful grand touring car extensively, often driving over the Brenner and Simplon passes on his way between England and Italy.

"This is not only a beautiful example of BMW's most elegant and refined sports car from the 1950s, it is very much 'the John Surtees BMW 507'."

Image copyright Bonhams
Image caption During the 1960s Surtees was one of the towering figures in F1 along with Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and Dan Gurney

The car - which fetched £3,809,500 - was sold with a letter dated 10 February 1959 from MV Augusta motorcycles, to whom Surtees was contracted at the time.

It reads: "This letter is to confirm that on the 12th January, 1957, we presented to you an amount of DM 27,115.00 for you to buy a BMW type 507 Touring Sports car which was intended as a gift to you in appreciation of your winning the Motorcycle World Championship in 1956 for our company in the 500cc class.

"We want to mention here the fact that the above World Championship in the 500cc class was the first ever achieved by this company, and the above was but a token of our sincere gratitude."

Another document included with the sale was a note by Surtees in which he wrote: "A car with many memories and one where purely its original specification makes it very, very special."

Surtees, from Edenbridge in Kent, died last year aged 83.

Image copyright Bonhams
Image copyright Bonhams

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