Auto/Racing Culture Lifestyle

Auto: A Brief History on the Legendary M1 BMW

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By Shirley Wilson

A car with a history, the M1 is a limited run series from a different time. In 1972, Giorgetto Giugiaro and his team at Ital Design worked on the M1 design for Group 4 racing.


Originally a rejected concept, the concept of a mid-engine sports-car would be enticing enough for BMW to try and use it to revive the silhouette car. The collaborative effort of several companies and multiple countries, the M1 would go on to debut in the European racing scene.

Few would see this car up close, and only an exotic car dealership in Miami would be able to sell one to you.

Creating a Legend: Racing was this cars primary function, with the newest regulations at the time kept in mind. The twin-cam 3.5-litre straight-six engine required a new design in order to match competitors at the time, like the Porsche 935. The M1’s purpose was to compete and show BMW’s return to form. Financial troubles would slow down production schedules and, while Lamborghini was initially in charge of building, BMW would finally launch the M1 in late 1978.

Only a Few of Its Kind: Unfortunately, the Group 4 racing series the M1 would join dissolved and the new Group 5 regulations would hold the line back. The M1 project would end completely in the 80’s. By December 1980, the number if M1’s made halted, leaving less than 500 available. The car was too expensive to keep up with racing conventions and soon became a rare treat for collectors to collect. What M1’s not already snatched up require tracking down to find those still in existence.

Built to Last: Although canceled, the quality of the car line was never disputed. The M1 acts as a classic high quality fusion of style, comfort and performance. The M1’s roots as a racing car shine through its construction.

BMW’s M88 twin-cam straight six engine is at the heart of the M1. The Engine features a 24-valve twin-cam head with chain drive, pukka forged-steel crank, longer connecting rods and dry sump in a racing style. Ventilation works through the use of Kugelfischer-Bosch indirect injection.

The engine is behind the cockpit, suspension works through unequal length coils and wishbones, disc brakes are large as well as vented, steering is rack-and-pinion. The mid-mounted engine that was capable of hitting 100 miles per hour in 8 seconds. Low speeds are no issue for the car either, with a solid racing build transitioning smoothly to an urban setting.

Find the Car to Round out Your Collection:  Fewer than 500 M1’s saw creation between the 70’s and the 80’s. The car has achieved legendary status as the prime example of transition between what had defined super cars and what they would become.

The history behind the car remains one of its best qualities, and the source of its exceeding rarity. The models that remain exist in collections around the world, some are among collectibles seen in auto shows around the globe.

 

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