Worldwide Auctioneers
  1. 1979 BMW M1

  2. 1979 BMW M1

  3. 1979 BMW M1

  4. 1979 BMW M1

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Lot Number
67

1979 BMW M1
2017 Scottsdale Auction

ESTIMATE: $390,000 - $440,000
CHASSIS NO: WBS59910004301231
• Ordered by, and owned new by Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar
• Stunning Procar style bodywork performed for the Sheikh in Hamburg, Germany
• Race-bred, mid-engine supercar – the famous lead product of BMW Motorsport
• Striking presentation including new leather upholstery; equipped with air-conditioning
• Retaining the original engine; well-maintained and serviced with records
• Low original mileage; equipped with period BBS wheels and Pirelli P7 tires

210.6 cid (3,453 cc) Type M88/1 mid-mounted, twin-cam inline six-cylinder engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, 277 HP (DIN), five-speed ZF gearbox in rear transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes; wheelbase: 100.8"


Without doubt, the M1 stands today as quite likely the most exotic road car ever built by BMW. Essentially a homologation special for racing, it was a limited production, virtually hand-built car with a state-of-the-art tubular frame, a mid-mounted engine and a gorgeous, wedge-shaped fiberglass body designed by the famed Giorgetto Giugiaro at Ital Design. The race-spec chassis was fitted with unequal-length lateral links, alloy uprights, concentric coil springs and front and rear anti-roll bars.

Lamborghini performed the bulk of engineering and development work for the M1, but could not complete the project due to the marque’s ongoing financial struggles. The M1 was completed nonetheless, with Baur of Stuttgart handling production for BMW Motorsport. Predictably, the M1 created a sensation when it was introduced at the October 1978 Paris Salon, where the only external clue to its BMW heritage was a small BMW-trademark kidney-shaped grille.

The fuel-injected 277 horsepower inline six-cylinder engine provided top speeds of approximately 160 mph, thanks in no small part to the M1’s excellent power-to-weight ratio. However, while the M1’s competition history in Procar and FIA Group 5 international road racing competition is well known, lesser known is its FIA Rally participation, particularly the cars that ran in 1981 and 1982 with Motul/Rothmans sponsorship for the highly successful ORECA team founded by Hugues de Chanauc. While very rare on today’s roads, the M1 can often be found in action on the racetrack in top-level vintage-racing events. The majority of “road spec” M1s were purchased new by the world’s wealthiest and most discerning collectors and committed driving enthusiasts.

This extremely striking 1979 BMW M1 is a great example of these legendary race-bred performers. It was ordered new by Sheikh Abdullah bin Kalifa Al Thani, the former Prime Minister of Qatar in the United Arab Emirates. His M1 was manufactured by BMW in August 1979 and then enhanced for him in 1980 with its stunning Procar racing-type bodywork built by SGS Garage Hamburg. The thrilling bodylines and race-bred aero package of this M1 are allowed to speak for themselves with the Pearl White exterior finish, enhanced with bold and iconic BMW Motorsports “M” accents. The interior features new white leather upholstery to match the stunning exterior. Air-conditioning, custom BBS wheels, and Pirelli P7 tires round out this incredible M1, which as covered just 34,850 original miles from new at the time of writing. It stabled at a noted private Pacific Northwest BMW collection before making its way to the current owner several years ago. Well-maintained and serviced with records included to confirm, this 1979 BMW M1 is simply an incredible find on every level.

Truly a feast for the senses and a superb driving machine, the BMW M1 is also renowned for delivering a surprisingly nice ride belying its race-oriented specifications. Powered by the “M” specification 3.5-litre engine, the M1 is truly the car that started it all for BMW’s renowned modern motorsports program. As the predecessor to the famed series of BMW “M” road cars from the 1980s to the present, it affords the enthusiast outstanding balance, handling and responsiveness, interesting provenance, and a significant link to BMW’s glorious racing history.

1979 BMW M1
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