In the seventies BMW had risen into the premium segment. The Bavarian
brand dreamed of its own sports car that could take on competition with the big
names in the super sports car segment. BMW was already highly successful in
touring car races, so it also had to be possible to deploy that newcomer on the
track. For homologation purposes at least 400 units of the street version had
to be manufactured.
The forerunner of the BMW M1 was the BMW Turbo, with gull-wing doors and
mid-engine, designed by Giugiaro and his company Ital Design.
There was indecision
between an eight-cylinder or twelve-cylinder engine. Ultimately the existing
M30 3.5 L six-cylinder was chosen as the basis. A new cylinder head was
developed, mechanical petrol injection was installed, and the car was equipped
with dry-sump lubrication. Initially there was to be collaboration with
Lamborghini for production, but that brand had encountered difficulties and so the
Bauer bodywork company was called upon for the final assembly. Until 1981 only
453 M1 street versions were produced. Twenty of these were refitted for the BMW
M1 Procar championship. It became an iconic car, and is one of the rarest
models in BMW history.
In October ten of these
M1s, including several rare race cars, will be displayed at Autoworld.
For more detailed info please contact the museum
Parc du Cinquantenaire 11
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