A look back at the BMW M1 (1979 – 1981)


BMW’s M-Division has a pretty impressive track record producing spectacular saloons, coupes and roadsters. The cars, based on mass-produced Beemers – with an added sprinkle of stardust – are usually something quite special.

Considering the extensive and awe-inspiring back catalogue, imagine the stir the trailblazing M1 caused when it first came on the motor show scene back in 1979. It didn’t take long for the motoring world long to catch on that the new BMW was something truly spectacular, and not just because it was the German car makers first try at a mid-engined supercar.

Of the entire M-Division output, the original M-Series supercar was without doubt the most thrilling, considering how revolutionarily it was at the time. Initially created for Group Four and Five racing, it sadly never achieved its true racing potential. Lamborghini – who were collaborating with BMW on the bodywork – didn’t meet their end of the partnership, leaving the Germans to pick up the slack and make the body themselves. This setback caused the M1 to arrive late and subsequently, it never fulfilled what might have been. A limited two year spell of Procar racing was the sum of the M1’s racing ambitions.

Styled impeccably by Giugiaro, the M1 was a shining example to all supercars that followed. Today, it is rightfully placed on a pedestal by its legions of fans.

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