The BMW M1
The BMW ‘M’ cars have earnt a reputation as the BMW to own and drive! And where did it all begin? Right here, with this, the BMW M1. Code named the E26, BMW begun work in the mid-1970’s, with its newly-formed Motorsport department in charge of producing a car capable of beating Porsche in Group 5 racing. Jochen Neerpasch, ex-racing driver and winner of the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours, was head of BMW Motorsport, having already guided the CSL ‘Batmobile’ coupes to claim titles around the world.
For competition homologation, BMW were required to build 400 road-going examples of the M1, but it was clear they did not have the production capacity in Munich. Initially, BMW commissioned Lamborghini to work on the design, production and assembly of the car, however with rumours of impending financial collapse at Sant’Agata, BMW pulled the plug on Lamborghini’s involvement.
The M1’s production quickly turned into one of the more complex of all time. Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign designed the glassfibre body, which was produced by Trasformazione Italiana Resina just outside Modena. Gianpaolo Dallara of Lamborghini had designed the chassis before the plug was pulled, with another famed Italian company, Marchesi, responsible for construction. The body and chassis were then bonded together by ItalDesign in Turin, who also painting the complete assembly, fitted the dashboard, interior and electrical components.
Partially constructed, these M1’s were then shipped from Italy to specialist manufacturer, Bauer, in Germany for installation of the hand-built BMW engine, 5-speed ZF transmission and the remaining interior trim. Now complete, these cars were transported to BMW Motorsport in Munich for final tuning, setup and road test before delivery.
This BMW M1
Manufacture of the M1 started in 1978, running though to 1981, with a total production of 453, comprising of 54 competition specification machines and 399 road cars. The car offered here, chassis 265 was assembled at ItalDesign in April 1980 and finished in white with a black leather and cloth interior. It was then moved to Germany for completion at Bauer in early June, with final tuning at BMW Motorsport completed on 25th June 1980.
This car was sold new through BMW dealer Kohl, in Aachen, Germany to Helmut Burzlaff in Bunde, on 8th May 1981. The car was assigned registration ‘HF M1’, before changing to ‘KIB-CV 2’ with its second owner, Helmut Schmitt in 1982.
It is understood that Schmitt kept the car until 1999 when it moved across Europe to a sizeable collection in Spain where it remained for a further 16 years, at which point the current German owner bought the car in 2015.
Since entering its current ownership, this M1 has been rewarded with a complete engine rebuild by sports and competition car specialist, Formula GT in Munich, Germany. Alongside this work, Formula GT also completed a thorough inspection and cosmetic restoration including a repaint in the original colours. Invoices for these works are contained within the cars history file, and total €90,000.
As the very first ‘M’ car, this BMW has a place in history that few can replicate. Widely-considered a highly civilized and enjoyable supercar, the BMW M1, with its air-conditioning, electric windows, power brakes and Recaro seats, has quickly become one of the most revered early 1980’s pin-ups, how can you not add this to your collection?
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