BMW’s 50th birthday officially kicks off this week at Amelia Island. At the iconic car show, BMW will unveil the newly updated BMW M8 and 8 Series Facelift models. Also, for the first time, a gathering of 50 vehicles spanning the 50-year history of BMW M will be on display to the public on the show field in front of the BMW stand on Saturday during the Cars & Caffeine car show. The group will include vehicles brought to the show by BMW Car Club of America members from around the country as well as some very special examples from BMW of North America’s classic collection.
E31 M8 Prototype
The one-off BMW E31 M8 Prototype also makes an auto show comeback. The legend of the M8 one-off prototype has been told many times before, but here is a recap. Back in the ’90s, a skunkworks project was underway deep in the bowels of BMW. The Bavarians were developing a supercar killer that would have more horsepower and a higher top speed than anything from Porsche or Ferrari at the time. It was the BMW M8, a car so secret and so extreme, both the media and the public were unaware of its existence until a decade after it was killed off. The M8 died in its prototype phase, due to BMW brass deeming it too expensive and unable to be profitable.
Once the first-gen BMW 8 Series debuted, the folks at BMW’s Motorsport Division immediately began figuring out how to make it a proper M supercar. So Paul Rosche would go on to develop a 6.1 liter, naturally-aspirated V12 engine, dubbed the S70, and it would have shamed anything from Ferrari at the time. The mighty V12 packed 549 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque, with 90 percent of its torque being available at just 2,000, impressive for a naturally aspirated motor.
BMW Group Classic restored 1980 BMW M1
It wouldn’t be an M celebration without the first and only BMW M supercar – The M1. BMW Group Classic will present a freshly-restored 1980 BMW M1 that was commissioned by a US collector. The M1 on display at The Amelia was delivered to BMW Group Classic in Munich for a thorough mechanical overhaul as well as several corrective measures. The workshop at BMW Group Classic carried out a complete engine and suspension rebuild, and a comprehensive underbody and engine bay detailing, returning each part to like-new condition.
Reconstructive work was done to address rust in the area between the steel door carrier and the fiberglass door skin. Once this was complete, the M1 was given a fresh coat of paint in the original red by none other than Walter Maurer, the legendary artist responsible for applying the designs of artists Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein to the early BMW Art Cars.
1999 BMW V12 LMR
The BMW Motorsport side of things will be well represented as well. Therefore, the legendary V12 LMR racing prototype will grace us with its presence on the lawn at The Amelia. Jointly developed with Formula 1 partner WilliamsF1, the BMW V12 LMR was built to challenge the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans and American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The V12 LMR debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March of 1999.
BMW iX M60
Of course, 2022 is also about electric mobility, so BMW will also introduce to the public the M-tuned iX M60. The electric crossover made its official debut at the CES 2022 in Vegas, but it’s now heading to Florida as well. BMW iX M60 will join the Taking Charge parade on Sunday during the Concours d’Elegance, in which several electric vehicles will proceed past the reviewing stand.
The Amelia is one of the world’s premiere concours d’elegance events and will take place March 3-6 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island in Northeastern Florida.