From the Concept Touring Coupe to the M3 Touring in Speed Yellow, there are a lot of great BMWs on display this weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. However, we feel these pale in comparison to the mid-engined M1. Not just because it was the company’s first and only supercar but because of what it represents to enthusiasts. The homologation special also happens to be extremely rare, with only 460 units ever made although fewer than 400 were road-going cars.
This M1 is quite a bit more special than the others. It originally belonged to none other than Jochen Neerpasch, the man who founded the M division. As if that wasn’t interesting enough, this is only one of the three or four cars to be finished in Polaris Silver while the interior color is said to be one-of-a-kind. As you can see from our images taken on the shores of Lake Como, it’s a veritable time capsule as the performance machine looks immaculate inside and out.
The wedge-shaped beauty carries the chassis number 4301218 and was first registered in Neerpasch’s name in July 1980, having been completed by Baur in February that year. He went on to sell the car to BMW M1-Club, Reinhard Kleißler in 1990 after racking up some 24,000 kilometers (nearly 15,000 miles). It is believed the vehicle was repainted before being sold to a collector in 2013 who showcased it at last year’s Villa d’Este. In late November 2022, it subsequently changed hands during an auction organized by RM Sotheby’s in Munchen where it fetched €792,500.
In October last year, Jochen Neerpasch admitted in an interview with RM Sotheby’s that selling the car was one of his biggest mistakes. Many decades later, BMW’s latest dedicated M car is completely different since the XM is a large plug-in hybrid SUV. Why? Sarah Lessmann, Product Manager at BMW M GmbH, said last year that customer preferences have changed, so to build a successful business case, the bespoke M had to be an SUV.