As we speak, a stunningly beautiful 1980 BMW M1 is on lot 112 of the Bonhams auction and is going to be expensive. We wouldn’t be surprised if it fetches seven-figures, as the BMW M1 is one of the most iconic supercars of its era and is incredibly rare. This specific example was purchased by a British diplomat in Belgium in 1979 and has exchanged hands a few times but is in perfect condition.
Back in the late ’70s, BMW had the idea to go Group 5 racing and needed a car to replace the iconic but aging 3.0 CSL. So it came up with the idea to make a new mid-engine supercar with an astonishing engine. However, the project had hit quite a few speed bumps. BMW had commissioned Lamborghini to design the body but the famous Italian firm had hit financial troubles and had to back out at the last second. So, in a rush, BMW hired ItalDesign, headed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiarro, who created the iconic shape we know today.
BMW had also had engine mastermind Paul Rosche build its 3.5 liter I6 engine, which was an absolute masterpiece of an engine. It made 277 hp in the late ’70s, which was impressive from just 3.5 liters and six cylinders. It was also smooth, high-revving and durable. However, as soon as BMW got everything together for the M1, Group 5 racing ended. So BMW had this expensive supercar it just spend a fortune creating and no race for it. So the Bavarians decided to create the M1 Procar series, which was exciting and had great drivers but it never really got enough traction to last so, that too, ended.
So the BMW M1 has had a weird history but that makes it all the more interesting and desirable. The road car version, though, was a superb car and it’s a shame it was hampered by such a history. It was the first real everyday supercar and it’s still as exotic as it was then.
Only 453 were ever built and this specific car is only one of 98 made in this classic orange color. It was also completely restored by BMW Classic, so you know it’s perfect and it wasn’t worked on by some independent mechanic. It’s been properly restored by the people that know best. Whoever gets this car is going to spend a fortune but they’re getting an invaluable classic. I just hope they drive it.