8,000 Original Miles: 1981 BMW M1

When it comes to iconic BMWs, it doesn’t get much better than the limited production M1 – effectively, the company’s first supercar. M1s rarely come up for sale today, and this example is claimed to have not been offered for sale in over 30 years. That’s not surprising, as even in today’s feverish collector car market, you rarely see more than one M1 strolling across the auction block (if at all). You’ll find this example here on ClassicCars.com with an asking price of $705,000.

Yes, $705,000. That’s just plain nuts to me, as I’ve never loved one car enough that I’ve wanted to forgo owning many, many others in the interest of pursuing just one example. Of course, if you’re considering purchasing this M1, I’m guessing that spending close to a million on a car doesn’t phase you much. Of course, if you are going to spend that kind of money, shouldn’t the original M1 wheels come with the car? The Campagnolo wheels are among the most iconic wheel designs ever made, and while I love vintage BBS rollers, I’m hoping those flat-faced beauties are included with the sale.

The seller says this M1 was originally sold new in Mexico, which certainly piques my interest as to this car’s specific history. It eventually traveled up to La Jolla, CA, and has been there much of its life before making the trip to Florida. The interior bears all the hallmarks of an M1, from the three-spoke steering wheel to the sport seats. The interior also features the M1-specific luggage kit in the rear, along with the repair book, tool kit, and M1 information binder. Mileage is reported to be just 8,000 from new.

As one of the first “Motorsports” cars, the M1 will always have a special place in enthusiasts hearts. It’s either due to that or the plain nasty M88 inline-six, which is a strong performer in stock form and an absolute brute when turbocharged. These cars combine exclusivity and history in a way few modern supercars do, and while this one likely needs some of the details corrected in order for it to command the strong asking price, the old saw certainly applies here: find another one.

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  1. Pebblebeachjudge

    So many better super cars for fractions of this money. A dated piece of evolution, nothing special.

    • glen

      Seeing your name/title, what do you value this at?

    • Mike D

      Completely agree

    • Dolphin Dolphin Member

      “A dated piece of evolution, nothing special.”

      Hmmmm. That line might just call into question the judges judgement.

      Of course, judgement is a personal thing, so lets look at a few facts.

      The M1 body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, one of the all time greatest body designers in the history of Italian body design. The M1 looks dated…..maybe like a car from the ‘70s…..because, guess what, it was designed in the ‘70s. No giant scoops and gaping-mouth-with-teeth air intake openings like the supercars of today, unfortunately.

      Phew! Somebody wants a car designed 40 years ago to look like a car that was designed yesterday? Hate the ‘50s look of the 300 SL? Good luck with that too.

      The M1 was supposed to be built by Lamborghini, but that firm run into $$ troubles, so couldn’t fulfill their contract for the job, which delayed things and ultimately limited production to 453 cars and caused delivery delays. But the cars got built, and as Lynn Dockey mentioned, were exclusively used in the Procar series during 1979 – 1980 as a support racing series for F1, with F1 drivers doing the driving. Lauda and Piquet were champs for those years, respectively. Not bad when you think about it.

      The M1 performed fairly well, maybe better than a lot of other cars of the day. Top speed was 260 KPH (162 MPH) from 3.5 liters, unsupercharged. Shabby? I don’t think so. And keep in mind, Euro carmakers back then designed their cars to run well on the Autobahn at speed for long distances. The goal wasn’t a quarter mile at a time.

      This car is obviously priced way above market. The SCM Guide says that these have been selling in very good / excellent condition at major auctions at a median price of $440K. That number could be taken to mean that the market doesn’t value the car at peanuts.

      And lets not forget that the M1 was the start of BMW M, one of the most successful series of automobiles in the history of the automobile. How successful? Well, for example, today a partial list of M-car series includes the M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, and M6.

      BMW M was/is so successful that, to compete, Mercedes had to go out and buy AMG because, apparently they didn’t have the personnel to start their own version of BMW M in-house.

      Of course, BMW built BMW M, created originally by the car guy’s car guy, Bob Lutz, in-house. And altho BMW M started with a mid-engined coupe, all subsequent M cars have been sedans (or SUVs), and they will often sun rings around some supercars.

      Not bad for something that started with “A dated piece of evolution, nothing special”.

  2. Pebblebeachjudge

    Half. And in 2019, lower.

  3. Vance

    I know nothing about this car, but it doesn’t do a thing for me. It’s kinda like the duck billed platypus of super cars. This thing is unattractive and dated. Let the Italians have this niche of automobiles.

    • Tom Fitch

      I think it looks good but when I first looked at it, I thought of a small fiberglass camper where the molded top half is plopped down on the bottom half with the seam that runs all around it. Kind of an odd look.

  4. boatpix

    Suppose you like white cars. Suppose you like BMW’s. Suppose you want a low mileage one for a collection. Suppose you have a lot of money This might be your only chance with so few built and you might want to pull the trigger. I recall a few years back a similar car with a tad more miles sold for about 15% less. I like these cars as they have an interesting history. I’m not a buyer at this price range but a dealer will generally hold onto a car like this until he finds the right buyer which could take years. It might take some time but be cautious not to scare a buyer away with your opinions if you’ve never driven one or it’s contemporaries when they were built.

  5. Lroy

    I disagree, these will stand the test of time. My prediction is one day soon you will regret the day you didn’t buy this for 1 million dollars. Imho.

    • Rob

      I certainly regret when I didn’t buy one for $26k or a300SL for $40k, but I didn’t exactly have the money then either.

  6. Mark

    While I agree that the original Campagnolo wheels should be included with the car for the price he’s asking I really don’t like the looks of them at all. The ones on the vehicle now looked much better.

  7. Lynn Dockey Member

    These cars were used in a support series for formula 1. I don’t know which MY s? Were used but it is something that could be looked into. I think the series was called procar and was run in the early 80’s. Autocourse racing annual used to cover it.

  8. geoff a

    So I could buy this for 705,000 and maybe it comes with the right wheels?Or I could buy a brand new Corvette and have better handling and performance and enough money left over to buy a decent house. Life is full of difficult choices. It’s a cool car but would you be able to drive it to its potential without be afraid of wrecking it. Styling reminds me of a Lotus Esprit and Maserati Merak but no surprise as all three were designed by Giugiaro. If I had the money I would go for a Bizzarrini instead. Great styling and american muscle

    • Alan (Michigan) Member

      Whether or not the asking price is fair, (No, I am not a 1%er, but if I was….)
      for me the dealer fee of $250 would be a deal-breaker.

      Seriously. What kind of schmuck brokers cars in this stratosphere, and still has to nickel-dime a purchaser?

      And, what is it with 8K miles M1 cars, anyway?

      • pebblebeachjudge

        The broker universe is certainly understanding a Black Hole. I’ve seen in the past few years no set realistic fee, of say 2% to 5% as it once was ( when cars were up to 500,000. Now days, it can be hidden on both sides amounting to 30% or more. I hardly see any broker representing the buyer , or the seller – and just chasing their own interest while overpricing and destroying a car with greed as a priority.
        There are very few brokers that actually add value to an existing car, and that is on a global scale.

      • Skippy

        Alan, have you been to an auction lately? 5-10% is the typical buyers fee. Even Bring a Trailer charges the buyer 5%. As for the other comments, M1s are collector/investment cars and not drivers. The seller will get $650k for it and both buyer and seller will be happy.

  9. Francisco

    These cars were expensive even when they were cheap.

  10. Lucky strike

    For that kind of money I’d rather buy a new Ferrari. !!!!!

  11. Marko

    Always loved the M1. These cars are rare, and often sell for over $1M dollars.

    And the M1 almost didn’t happen. When Lamborghini’s assets were seized by the creditors, the molds for the body were locked up in one of the factory sites. Story goes, that BMW broke in to the factory and stole the molds, so they could produce the car themselves.

    Nice example of the breed.

  12. nmexmatt

    wasn’t too long ago that you could get these for $50k. Comments that this is a blah car are ridiculous!

  13. Santo Lumby Sheilds

    First of all it looked like a kit car okay after a few pitches it’s a nice car not worth the money at all there are many other cars out there that are worth more money and a lot nicer do you think Billy.

  14. David Miraglia

    Expensive must have out of my price range.

  15. Mike Siebel

    phase should actually be spelled faze!

  16. Sean

    Every now and then a car shows up here that you just have to have. This isn’t that car. Not at that price or any price.

  17. Racer417

    Hmmm. Lots of controversy and emotion when a car is perceved to be overpriced. I don’t own one, can’t afford one, and would probably not buy one if I could. I wouldn’t criticize anyone who did, though. To each his own.
    I’m not a broker either, but wonder what pebblebeachjudge’s profession is. Not sure why brokers are greedier than anyone else who prices his service, or wages, or professional fees, based on what the market for those services is.

    • Pebblebeachjudge

      In all fairness, it’s just my opinion which is only an opinion. There is a steadfast value in a well connected broker. They have developed confidence relationships with collectors that can get deals done considering temperamental buyer and sellers. That sometimes has more value than the car as it sits. There are certain brokers that do get the deal over the net, amazingly . That’s is worth paying for. But raging a mass produced car at double the value over the www is searching for a client that doesn’t exist in a well connected brokers world of clients. I’ve owned only two M1 s, and sold them because they lacked the magic that a wedge car of this price level should have and also the quality . So, I tried to be impressed. Imagine the list of wedge cars at this price level to compare with.

  18. Ron

    The old adage for both side applies here: For those that understand no explanation is necessary, for those that do not understand no explanation will suffice. Everyone needs to agree to disagree.

  19. Victor Anderson

    These cars are difficult to put a value on – – they’re pretty much worth whatever someone is willing to pay for one– and they seem to go for right at $700,000 in this condition — so the asking price is spot on.
    Now — from an investment point of view– is this as good of an option for a 10 year investment as a $700,000 Ferrari? Perhaps not — BUT if you have 3/4 of million dollars to spend on a car then perhaps you do not care about that as much as a guy like me who will never even be able to spend that kind of money on a house lol lol.
    These are cool cars — I’ve only seen one my whole life.

  20. TwinTurboLover

    Any REAL judge from any beach would see this as an amazing piece of automotive history and something very special. The price is debatable, sure. It probably should be in a museum instead of in my wish list!

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