Image credits: © BMW.
1979 BMW E26 M1
Sold for $121,000 at 2007 Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction.High bid of $70,000 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers : The Houston Classic Auction. (did not sell)
The BMW M1 was produced in limited numbers from 1978 to 1981. It was essentially a homologation special that was virtually hand-built. It had a tube frame and a 24 valve, fuel-injected 277 horsepower engine with six separate throttle butterflies, four valves per cylinder.
The M1 was designed by ItalDesign's Guigiaro. BMW had originally commissioned Lamborghini to work out the details of the car's chassis, assemble prototypes, and manufacture the vehicle. BMW would later resume control over the project in April 1978, after Lamborghini's financial position meant they were unable to proceed with the project.
Commissioned by mid-eastern royalty, and shipped back to Munich, this car was converted into a street legal pro-car. It is a well-documented car with many interesting features.
In 2007 this 1979 BMW M1 was brought to the Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it had an estimated value of $120,000 - $140,000. It is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-cam six-cylinder engine rated at 277 horsepower. There is a five-speed manual transmission and four-wheel vented disc brakes.
There were a total of 456 examples of the M1 created; 41 road going examples were created in 1979 (38 Race versions). In 1980, there were 188 cars produced with 178 being road-going examles - 10 were race versions. For 1981, there were 188 cars built with only eight being race versions.
This example is of those 41 road-going cars created in 1979. It was delivered in 1980 by Styling Garage Spezialkarosserien of Hamburg featuring many aesthetic upgrades to bring it inline with the racing versions of the M1. Its first owner was the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani. It was sent back to Germany in the 1980s and then to the US shortly thereafter.
This car features BBS wheels, extensive bodywork finished in the typical blue and red BMW racing striping, white leather interior and matching red, white and black pattern.
At auction the estimated value proved to be accurate as the lot was sold for $121,000 including buyer's premium.
In 2009, this M1 Sport Coupe was offered for sale at the Houston Classic Auction presented by Worldwide Auctioneers and held in Seabrook, Texas. The lot was estimates to sell for $90,000 - $120,000. Bidding reached $70,000 but was not enough to satisfy the reserve.
This BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo Coupe is constructed on a BMW made birdcage frame. It is fitted with a M88/2 6-cylinder engine with a twin turbo, developing 850 horsepower. It was raced in the World Championships of 1979 and 1980.
The BMW M1 was one of the international collaborative efforts whose background is more spectacular than the end result. It is fitted with a BMW powertrain, Giogetto Giugiaro designed bodywork and a chassis designed and manufactured by Lamborghini. Street versions of this stunning sleek BMW were sold between 1979 and 1981. Only 399 street versions (and 60 racing versions) were constructed, making it one of the rarest BMWs ever produced.
Of the original 399 street versions plus the 60 racing cars, approximately 450 M1s still exist today.
The current owner is actually the second owner.
BMW introduced the M1 in 1979. The M1 was a radical departure for BMW, whose success has always been with a front engine, rear wheel drive platforms. The original intent was racing, almost half the initial year's production were race prepared for the Procar Series. The Procar Series was a one-make racing series designed by Jochen Neerpassch. The series ran during the 1979-80 seasons.
This car was built 5/29/1979 and driven by a promising young German driver, Hans George Burger. Burger was fatally injured in a Formula 2 race in July of 1980. Hans-Joachim Stuck drove the car for the remainder of the season and it eventually finished seventh in the series.
Since coming to America, the car has had a significant life on the historic race circuit. It has appeared multiple times at Sebring, Daytona, Watkins Glen, Mosport and Pittsburgh.
Sold for $854,000 at 2011 Bonhams - Quail Lodge Sale.
Between 1978 and 1980 BMW built 399 M1 street cars and 54 race cars for the famous, one-make Procar series. BMW Motorsport was responsible for the entire M1 project, using the 6-cylinder M88 engine in a chassis designed by Giampaolo Dallara. The wedge-shaped body was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro in Italy and the final assembly and fitting of the engines was supervised by Baur in Germany.
This M1 Procar was privately commissioned by legendary IMSA Champion and BMW team driver Peter Gregg, who ordered several additions, including a special tuned exhaust system. While the car was being built, Gregg attended the 1978 Italian Grand Prix with friend and artist Frank Stella, hoping to see another friend, Ronnie Peterson, compete. Sadly, Peterson crashed and lost his life, so Stella paid tribute to him with this design, which was applied to the car while still at the BMW factory.
The M1 was a radical departure from the front-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration of its prior vehicles. It also had to compete with the legacy of the vehicle it was replacing, the highly successful 3.0 CSL. The M1, also known as the 'Mid-Engined BMW M1 Project E26, was started in 1976 and completed four years later. The development of the M1 supercar was very costly; its design and development included some of the greatest individuals the industry had to offer. Giorgio Giugiaro of Ital Design was tasked with creating the design while Lamborghini handled the construction and manufacturing.
Racing efforts were slowed when the car failed to meet homologation requirements for Group 4 and 5, which stated 400 vehicles needed to be produced in 24 months. So the BMW M1 began racing in the Procar series instead. David Cowart and Kenper Miller won the IMSA GTO category in 1981. When BMW had sold enough cars to comply with Group 5 homologation requirements, the vehicle was no longer competitive for that group. Production of the BMW M1 ceased in 1981 after 455 examples were created, with 56 created for racing.
In 1979, 79 examples were created with 38 being race-prepared, and the remaining 41 intended for road-use. In 1980 and 1981, 188 vehicles were constructed per year. 18 were constructed for racing while the remaining were made road-worthy.By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2006
As racing regulations evolved in the mid seventies, BMW Motorsport saw an opportunity to beat arch-rival Porsche in a new series by designing and manufacturing a purpose-built car and offering it for sale to the public, as a stipulated by the rules. The BMW M1, designed by Giugiaro and powered by a Paul Rosche designed 3.5-liter, twin-cam six-cylinder engine mounted mid-ship, debuted at the 1978 Paris Auto Show to the admiration of the world's motoring press. The only problem was that delays with outside contractors cause its appearance to coincide with the demise of the category for which it was built. The quick thinking solution was the fast and furious ProCar Series which preceded European Formula One racers, pitting the top-five qualifying Grand Prix stars against 15 talented local drivers in identically prepared M1's. The ProCar Series ran in 1979 and 1980 with championships by Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet respectively.
Road going M1's like the one shown, were sold in Europe and imported to the United States through the secondary market. These cars are now prized collector items. Racing ProCar versions of the M1 can be seen on vintage race tracks around the world.