The BMW 503 was designed by Count Albrecht von Goertz, the same man who designed the BMW 507. BMW ads referred to the 503 as an elegant luxury travel sports car from the stable of the large BMW eight-cylinder cars. The large eight-cylinder cars was a reference to the Baroque Angels, BMWs mainstay at the time.
BMW introduced the 503 at the Geneva Auto Show in 1955. Like the 502 which preceded it, the 503 featured a 3.2 litre V-8, the most modern engine of its day and Germanys first eight since the war. The engine produced 140 bhp, 4500 rpm, and it powered the 503 to a top speed of 118 mph.