BMW M1 a racing car to compete
It was in the late 70s when BMW and Lamborghini started to talk about producing a car together. Lamborghini was not having the best of their times financially. The oil crisis made it hard for performance car sales and Lambo had to file for bankruptcy in 1978. An Italian court was ordered to find a buyer for the firm and even though the Italian brand got better days afterwards with the Swiss Mimran family (mainly improving big time the Countach model), with the BMW M1 it was a different story. BMW had to lead and take back the whole project and the BMW M1 became real.
It wasn’t hundred per cent like that, actually some of the engineers from Lambo set up their own company 100 yards from the original Lambo factory calling their company Italengineering and they asked to retake the project and finish it, so with BMW on board and a “new” company help, the BMW M1 was finally made.
Productions lasted for 3 years (1978-1981) and as we have mentioned in the title only 457 cars were produced. That makes this model a good collectible car to own if you add up the beauty, the lines and every bit this car provides: rear mid engine, rear wheel drive, 3453 cc mechanical fuel injection with a 5 speed manual gearbox with the exterior designed by Mr Giugiaro. The person chosen to get the job done could not have been better picked up. The still alive engineer from Cuneo, Piedmont was the expert on supercar design since the very beginning of his career and his CV is full of amazing cars for a lot of brands.
The street version of the BMW M1 could provide 273hp and the racing one (turbo aspirated) managed to give 850hp (please tighten your seatbelt before departure!).
The car got no successor at all. The M1 has nothing to do with the BMW Series 1 at all and his mid engine version was only continued with the recent i8 model. The car got some design details from the 1972 E25 Turbo (we have written about here too) but really and truly she is a car made for the time and that couldn’t be continued. It added though a huge value and goodwill to the brand due to the contribution to the Motorsports section too.
In 1979, BMW motorsports head decided to run with modified BMW M1 cars (pictured below). BMW built enough of them (20 of them to be precise) to enter the group 4 and the Procar BMW M1 Championship was created afterwards. Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet drove them and won them in 1979 and 1980 respectively.
The M88 engine was a beast in itself. It was used in on-going models (usually by modifying it) like the South African version of the BMW 745i, the E24 BMW or the E28 BMW among others.
You can find one example on the BMW Museum the brand has in Munich, Germany. The brand and model also have fan club with a website in German but certainly loaded with great pics and a lot more information about this car.
We have tried to highlight here the initial effort from 2 great car brands willing to create a sports car together, the final outcome is a real beast and what we also like from this model is the car is unrepeatable for a lot of different reasons and the contribution she made to the BMW brand relating her to racing cars.
BMW M1 for sale
They are rare and not usually seeing in regular auctions. But in 2014 a Japanese collector put it for sale one on eBay with a price tag of $499.999. Which was probably a bit unrealistic. Given the recent price action in classic cars, I'd expect this price to be low and a good valuation would probably give you $600-750k depending on the condition.
Picture thanks to RTR sports and Pinterest