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1981 BMW M1 – 8,000 original miles

Todd FitchBy Todd Fitch

Though not found in a barn, this 1981 BMW M1 (one of 430) has been stored somewhere (perhaps in a barn) most of its life and accumulated fewer than 8,000 original miles on its original tires! It also comes with a more interesting back-story than most barn finds, full of globe-trotting adventures before landing in its current location of Miami Florida. You can write the next chapter of that story — right after you write a check for $658,000, the “Buy It Now” price here on eBay.

BMW went all out with their supercar, but a series of events outside their control conspired to doom these brilliant cars in their infancy. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the M1 would have been built by Lamborghini but then Lambo declared bankruptcy, one of several improbable events that afflicted the M1. Take a minute to read the fascinating sad story of this advanced automobile on BMWBlog.com.

During the dark days of lackluster performance when 0-60 times under 10 seconds were considered “sporty,” and the Chevrolet Corvette took 8.4 seconds to achieved mile-a-minute speed, this M1 could lay it down in 5.8. Though built to race and win, the M1 is no peaky high-strung handful either; the torquey straight-six will gladly idle across town for milk and eggs, and the prodigious handling can be enjoyed on your favorite twisty two-lane while still offering true supercar grip at your favorite Open Track event.

This particular M1 accompanied its auto-journalist owner on business trips around the globe and comes with full documentation and M1 accessories. Researching these remarkable automobiles will only deepen your respect for them. Rather like Honda (Acura) with its NSX, BMW built a fabulous approachable supercar that can be used. This one may be destined for a museum, but it could also end up in your driveway. What do you think of this rare ’80s supercar?

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Comments

  1. SFM5S

    One of the nicest looking cars from the worst era for performance & design.

    9+
    • Zorba

      Delorean, , very similar

      1+
  2. Francisco

    Who was the auto journalist?

    1+
  3. LAB3

    That’s a Beemer? Nice looking machine!

    2+
    • Tommy D

      That’s a Bimmer, Beemers are motorcycles

      7+
      • Mark-A

        …… and a Beamer is the Red Face due to embarrassment!?

        0
  4. Sam

    Awesome car that begs to be driven (selectively). The dealership looks like an Eero Saarinen knock-off.

    Glad the dealer didn’t insult us all with an aftermarket stereo or AC needs a recharge…apologies in advance if there’s no AC.

    1+
  5. UK Paul

    Unusual colour possibly, I haven’t seen many in blue but could be wrong.

    0
  6. Sam Sharp

    There’s an orange TVR in our area that has the wedge design. The designers back then did not subscribe to the design of what physicians the world over have known for years: The suppository is the most aerodynamic design this side of a P 51 Mustang.

    Again, I can’t tell what kind of car is tail- gating me until I let it pass. A blue M1 passed me on my aging BMW R 100 RS years ago. My t-shirt has text on it stating; “I didn’t know BMW made a car until I passed one.” Not so with the M1. Then there’s that sound from the exhaust.

    I had to stop and check to see if my brakes were hanging up. The M1 was running about V2+10 kts.

    2+
  7. Pa Tina

    Two words- “Graphic Equalizer”. Beautiful car. Thanks for the post.

    0
  8. 86 Vette Convertible

    I’d like to take it for a spin around the block, never seen one before.

    0
  9. john fron ct

    Is it just me, or does anyone else see similarities with a Lotus Europa?

    0
  10. Tricky

    I remember these being raced in their own production series – the Procar Series – which were driven by current F1 drivers of the day like Piquet, Senna and Fittipaldi. They looked awesome. I had a 635 CSi with that same 3.5 litre straight six engine and it was so silky smooth it used to rev to 8000rpm. Even in a heavy car like the 635 it would toast most standard V8’s and give a lot of modified ones a run for their money. Loved that car but sadly kids came along and the wife wanted a four door!

    3+
  11. Allan
    3+
  12. Reid Hall

    We have a rare car here, although this was probably BMW’S,answer to the DeLorean,however this is not Back to Future. I really don’t see 700k-800k.This car has a value of some sort. We have a factory tac.,that reads up 90k,as well as a speedo.,that reads up to 280k.Only some Camaro’s had this option and l believe it was later on ,although the pace car addition may have had it,not for sure. This is different, and out of the norm,this is worth what the right person will pay.

    1+
    • Teri gibson

      90K is wound up pretty tight in that tach!

      1+
  13. Troy S.

    5.8 seconds to 60 was very quick for a production car in 1981. I think some people here either don’t remember that or simply weren’t born yet. Nice car, terrible price tag.

    2+
  14. Tommy D

    It seems like they were $100k for a long time…either way, a nice investment!

    0
  15. Milt(2)

    Why are BMW’s so frequently listed on Barnfinds, BAT, Ebay? Based on the number of BMW’s in my town being hauled back to the dealership suggests they have reliability problems and/or, are very expensive to maintain.

    2+
    • Rob

      From my limited experience with BMW products. It’s a love/hate relationship. Love them till they break, hate to pay the bill that comes due. When they break they break hard. Unless you get electrical Gremlins, then your screwed seven ways to Sunday.

      1+
    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      You guys might be interested to know that my DD is a BMW M3, which I have owned for about 15 years and it has just hit 120K miles.

      It has been the most reliable car I have ever owned, and I have owned many different makes of car. Your experience might vary, but that has been mine.

      2+
  16. DRV

    An elder lady has a red one in Marco Island FLA. It drove by when I was at stand in the Goodlands and I thought I was hallucinating. Always loved them and desired…

    1+
  17. Bill Warner

    I owned an M1 for about 10 years. Great driver and practical. My wife and I would drive it all over the south and it had room for luggage, which my Ford GT (for which I sold the M1) does not. There are some idiosyncrasies with the M1 and for years parts for it in the US were rare and expensive. I miss it and wish I had not sold it, but they are trading in the $ 350K-$500K bracket now and out of my reach. At least I savored it for a few years. Because it was red, all the yokels thought it was a Ferrari. I wish the new owner many pleasant miles.

    6+
  18. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    In addition to other aspects of the M1—mid engine exotic, halo car for BMW, 1-make/model race car during the Procar series, etc, etc, it was the beginning of the M cars, one of the most significant and successful performance car series in the history of the automobile.

    Just ask Mercedes and VW, who have spent years trying to catch up to the M cars with their performance lines. In Mercedes case it was based on the outright purchase of another firm, AMG.

    1+
  19. Sullyman

    Wow that’s something else have several friends who swear by BMW of course there all mechanics and auto enthusiasts, all I know if You own 1 bring your checkbook they cost some coin to maintain. Very Nice Design

    1+
    • Tommy D

      BMW = bring money with

      1+
    • Mark-A

      Then there’s the other community that prefer to Swear at the Vehicles too!!

      0
  20. Joe Nose

    If the owner wants that sort of cash he / she should have taken it to an auction house. Is their McMansion on ebay too? And the G5?

    0
  21. Bill

    Exceptionally rare car. Overpriced by about two hundred grand.

    0
  22. Mark Looman

    I live in an area where some fantastic cars hide in the wooded property garages. I saw a Stratos on the side of the road one day, a 1 of 1 prototype of some other oddball car and then there was the day I got my mini running and headed into town. A flat low car pulled out on the road about a mile ahead of me. I thought it was a Lotus, but alas it was an M1. I caught up but ran out of gas. My wife brought me the spare tank and I headed into town. Luckily I parked next to the M1 and got to look it over. The owner came out and oogled at my mini (which made me laugh). “You don’t see these often” he says to ME. We talked of his rare BMW and many other cars he had. Ends up he is THE brain surgeon in town. Sweet car. Sweet back story on how it came to be. Say what you want but the power that came from those racing M1s was over the top and off the charts. I say this one listed will fetch some serious money.

    0

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