Back in the late 70s, BMW was a small player in the automotive world, and decided to enhance its prestige by participating in Group 4/5 World Championship. This was considered to provide a much better return on investment than Formula One, although it meant that 400 or more cars needed to be produced and made available to the public for the car to be entitled to race. Thus was born the 1979 BMW M1. Only a few small problems stood in its way, the principal of which was that BMW didn’t have the facilities or production capacity to make it itself, so they decided to delegate. Lamborghini was initially chosen as the subcontractor, however they couldn’t meet the quality standards and were replaced. Eventually, the BMW M1 went through 5 different companies before finally getting built, missing the racing deadlines. Only 453 M1 were ever build, so it’s one exquisitely rare automobile for BMW collectors!
There is no doubt that the BMW M1 was a real racing car; it had all the proper credentials, including the design by Italian master Giugiaro, and more importantly, the engine, which was all BMW. It was powered by a 24-valve straight-six with a displacement of 3.5-liters, and a power output of 277 horsepower. Top speed was an impressive 162 mph, and 0-60 acceleration a chest-crushing 5.6 seconds.
Unfortunately, the BMW M1 never got to race in the Group 4, or any other Group for that matter. Desperate to find it something to race in, BMW had to invent the 1979 Procar Series just for the M1 to have a place. Kind of embarrassing, if you ask me. Like a pouty kid forming his own club because the others won’t play with him!
None of that takes away from the merits of the car itself, which could compete, head high, with any supercar of the time, and boasted an infinitely superior build quality and reliability.