Friday, January 8, 2010

Milestones - the BMW M1, closer to racing than most other cars

When BMW presented the BMW M1 in 1978 it was the first time for a long period after the BMW 507 that a true supercar was announced. But not all people fully appreciated the concept. The body was fiberglass, the engine had "only" six cylinders, while the price was on Ferrari 512 BB level offering 12 cyclinders and a lot more racing pedigree in comparison. BMWs plan had been to produce a homologation special to compete in international racing. However, due to a regulation change, there wasn't really anymore a good racing series to compete in with the car.
BMW produced 460 cars and then abandoned production due to lack of interest. They created their own racing series - Procar. Formula 1 and other famous racing drivers competed in an all BMW M1 racing series with runs before the formula 1 races. It was spectacular and exciting, but only lasted for two years. Later BMW M1s competed in the German championship, drove in Le Mans and participated in other series as Group 5 cars with some success.
The street car was very close to the racing car in reality. Same engine, same suspensions with slightly different setting, a bit more comfort. It sounded terrific and was actually able to compete with the 512BB in terms of performance despite the lack of engine volume and cylinders. The design done by Giugiaro is somewhat timeless and after a dip BMW M1 have continuously gained in value, reaching roughly 2-3 times their initial price today. There were only few colors and most seem to be either white, red or blue. I would take any of these colors ...

2 comments:

John L said...

Me too!

lupoch said...

One of my all-time favourites. And three time more rare than a Ferrari F40 (1'315 units).
Fascinating product of German-Italian cooperation (Lamborghini was to assemble it, but they got into financial troubles...again).