Monterey 2024

1979 BMW M1


$500,000 - $600,000 USD 

United States | Monterey, California



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  • A stunning example of BMW’s seminal mid-engined, Giugiaro-designed supercar
  • Just the 11th example made, and the first of three M1 press cars retained for use by BMW
  • Presented in Dark Blue Metallic, and mechanically restored by marque specialist Oldenzaal Classics
  • Accompanied by BMW Classic Certificate

Among the rarest models BMW has ever built and the first to be created entirely under the purview of its elite M division, the M1 is a hand-built homologation special developed in the late 1970s as the German automaker sought to compete at higher levels of motorsports. Intent on using a mid-engine layout, BMW initially contracted Lamborghini to develop the M1 chassis, and its tubular steel spaceframe is said to have been devised with input from noted Italian engineer Gianpaolo Dallara.

Lamborghini’s ensuing financial struggles delayed development and dissolved the partnership, but a group of disenfranchised engineers from the Italian automaker banded together and founded their own company to complete the work. The final product was impressive, featuring a rigid spaceframe and sophisticated, double-wishbone suspension with adjustable coil springs and Bilstein gas-filled dampers. Angular fiberglass bodywork by noted designer Giorgetto Giugiaro gave the M1 visual appeal commensurate with its performance potential.

BMW’s newly developed 3,453-cubic-centimeter inline six-cylinder engine was mounted ahead of the rear axle and featured advancements such as six individual throttle bodies and mechanical fuel injection. In street spec, this engine produced 277 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, 243 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm, and an adrenaline-pumping shriek at full throttle. A ZF five-speed manual transaxle with a limited-slip differential put power to pavement, while the precise rack-and-pinion steering offered pointedly direct—though unassisted—handling.

BMW Motorsport initially planned to build enough of the mid-engine coupes to meet FIA Group 5 homologation requirements; however, rule changes during the car’s protracted development required a minimum of 400 examples be built to meet Group 4 regulations before the car could be homologated for Group 5. Rather than delay the racing program, BMW created a one-make series while it continued further development and ramped up enough production to meet the new requirements.

This 1979 M1 is a very early example of BMW’s seminal supercar, as just the 11th example produced. With its body completed at Italengineering on 30 October 1978, this M1 was duly finished by Baur on 21 December, and then released to BMW’s Press Department on 5 January 1979, who registered it five days later as part of their press fleet. It is important to note here that the first customer BMW M1 was not delivered until nearly two months after this M1 had begun its exposition duties with BMW’s Press Department.

Three M1s were reserved for such use by BMW; the subject M1 is the sole press car finished in the color of Dark Blue Metallic (although it is not at present confirmed that this is the famous blue M1 featured in a great number of period magazines and brochures wearing the registrations “MAW 3064” and “MTT 8459”). The car’s press use is verified by an accompanying BMW Classic Certificate, and additional commentary from the BMW M1 Club and BMW M1 Registry.

By 1981, this special M1 had been imported to California and federalized for road use, and it remained with this same owner until 2013. In 2016, it was imported to Germany and resided on display within a prominent collection for some time before its submission to the renowned BMW marque specialists at Oldenzaal Classics in the Netherlands.

Oldenzaal were commissioned to execute a mechanical restoration to the car, and to this end they reportedly invested 450 hours of labor to bring this M1’s state of function to equal its superb state of cosmetic presentation. Notable line items furnished by Oldenzaal include complete rebuilds of its engine, transmission, differential, water pump, starter motor, alternator, and Kugelfischer fuel injection pump. Additionally, new bushings were installed throughout the car’s suspension, four new Pirelli tires were fitted, and numerous interior details were also remedied in pursuit of ideal and period-correct presentation.

Now offered from a private California collection of wonderful BMWs, this stunning M1 Press Car is surely one of the most desirable roadgoing examples of the marque’s first supercar.