In the late 1970s, BMW had a problem. They wanted to compete on the world stage with a rear engine supercar, but they had no history of building cars of that type. Initially, Lamborghini was chosen to develop the prototypes and production cars while BMW would supply the drivetrain. Design and engineering company Italdesign Giugiaro was commissioned to create an aggressive, low-slung body taking major influences from the 1972 Turbo E25 concept car.
For power, the racing version of the straight-6 from the CSL was enlarged to 3.5L and fitted with dual overhead cams and mechanical fuel injection. Developing 273 hp in 1978 was incredible, considering other sports cars of the era were less endowed. Individual throttle bodies were utilized to provide instant power off-idle. Engineering company ZF Group provided an indestructible 5-speed transaxle, which has since become the Holy Grail for rear-engine car builders. Lamborghini was supposed to handle all production, but they were in bad financial shape at the time. This forced BMW to bring the project back in-house after only seven cars had been produced.
(See also: McLaren “Project 8″ 12Cs for Sale at McLaren Newport Beach)
Lacking expertise in mass producing rear-engine sports cars, the body was hand-built from fiberglass by Italdesign Giugiaro before being shipped to Stuttgart for a powertrain, and then on to BMW in Munich for final assembly. With production taking place at three separate plants, delays and cost overruns plagued the project and it was canceled after only 453 cars were completed.
This car is #348 and has been in a private collection in Japan for the past 30 years. With only 7980 miles, it is practically brand new inside and out. Of the 453 produced, many went straight into racing and have been lost to history. Most were driven daily, and only a few original examples exist today.
With straight six power, great aerodynamics and a menacing profile, the M1 is a must have for any BMW collector. Take advantage of your chance to own one today. Click the button below to see more photos and info.
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