Live Auctions

Rare German Exotic: 1981 BMW M1

Kyle Knorr found this 1981 BMW M1 that is being auctioned at Garage Dream Auctions and sent it to us to review. The car has an interesting history beginning with its original sale in Montabaur, Germany in 1981. The classified asking price is $475,000 and the car is located in Torrance, California. The BMW M1 is listed for sale here on eBay encouraging buyers to make an offer.

The 3.5 liter straight six is mounted behind the passenger compartment and is backed by a manual transmission. The seller states that the car will not pass California emissions. In July 1984, the BMW M1 was sold to a US enthusiast from the Kurt Tweesmann BMW dealership in Horn-Bad Meinberg, Germany. At this point the buyer converted it to a US spec speedometer and the original miles were lost and the odometer was reset to zero. The US enthusiast was a doctor  and a BMW collector who drover the car for 30 years and, during this time, restored the exterior orange paint and the black interior.

As shown in the picture, the interior is in excellent condition and has been well taken care of. In addition to the cosmetic restoration, the owner made improvements to the drivetrain and rebuilt the Korman motor, rebuilt the manual transmission and made other modifications to improve the driveability of the car. The current seller is a dealer who acquired the car about five years ago and thinks the M1 has traveled approximately 50,000 since new.

You certainly don’t see BMW M1s on a regular basis. This is considered a rare and appreciating classic BMW. Extra parts, documentation, stereo, tool kit, first aid kit, owner’s manual and an extra set of wheels is included with the sale. It is believed that 99 of the 399 BMW M1s produced were painted orange from the factory. For the right buyer, this is a great opportunity to buy a unique vehicle.


  1. pctechman

    Just a bit too pricey even for an M1!

    Like 6
  2. Cliff Crabtree

    One of BMWs best ever designs, still looks amazing !!.

    Like 27
    • MattR Member

      I agree. It’s quite timeless.

      Like 3
  3. oilchef

    Good looking car and it’s just located in the next city over. I’m worrying whether what looks like a hole in the back rear wheel well was a modification to improve the drivability of the car that was made. For that price I guess I don’t need to know whatever modifications that were made. Seems like the photos taken for a auction company could of been better. Just saying.

  4. Donald Barry

    If I were the owner of this rare auto, the last place I would advertise it for sale would be eBay motors. If I am looking for an auto in the $150,000 and lower price, that is where I would go. With the price higher the seller needs a auction source where any person can place a dummy offer just to say they bid on a half million dollar car and then back out.

    Like 3
    • Donald Barry

      sorry, what I meant to say was with the higher price auto, the seller DOES NOT NEED a auction source ….

      Like 2
    • Jef Fowler

      eBay does seem an odd venue for such a car. Don’t think it should be avoided and it is a great way to get the word out but a high level auction house or Gullwing may be the way to go.

      Like 1
      • Frank Sumatra

        I’m surprised it is not on Craigslist.

        Like 3
    • Spridget

      High level auction houses take a huge cut though, from both sellers premiums and listing fees. I think this seller assumes that M1s are desirable enough that he can put it just about anywhere and his target audience will find him.

      Like 3
      • D Palmer

        I think you’re right, but Bring A Trailer would seem to make more sense.

        Like 1
  5. Howie Mueler

    Maybe it is listed for sale at other places too. I see the seller has 0 feedback.

    Like 2
  6. Big Len

    Kinda of nice seeing a good looking full wheel without having to see brightly colored calipers.

    Like 3
  7. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Precious few photos for a half-million dollar ask…..

    Like 4
  8. William

    Got soured on BMWs years back when snooty sales people repeatedly blew me off. Of course, I really wasn’t serious about buying one, more just curious. Maybe they could sense that, but who knows? A test drive might have changed my mind. Just because when I am not working and I wear a T-shirt and cut offs does not mean I didn’t wear a nice three piece suit to work. Snotty sales people need to ask questions before they show poor attitudes. I could have afforded a Bimmer, many of my colleagues did in fact own them.

    Like 1
  9. Richard Haner

    the ultimate of the ultimate….when I worked in SF in 1985 around the corner from German motors where I was then, the shop foreman at Mark Morris tires had one I cold have bought for 20k….I wanted it soo bad….but it just as well could have been $200k…as I just couldn’t swing it right then.. Doesn’t seem like such a bad investment at this moment in time…

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Was that on Van Ness Avenue? Some incredible dealerships on that avenue.

      Like 1
  10. Jcs


    What a fun day on Barn Finds. I’ve never seen so many incredibly cool cars all on the same day before. Well done

    Like 3
  11. Jcs

    The seller also has a super sanitary 3.0 CS, silver over dark blue with gorgeous woodwork. Lots of great pics in this eBay ad, she is standing tall. His ask is $95K, these are on the rise lately.

  12. chrlsful

    long string of “M”s (started in ’70s) and this is the model that started it, no? (like a chebby goin to Calloway). A La` M = GmbH ? How many beemier models have mid-engine, 3? All I know bout the company is I like what they do w/their i6 motors ! Tq monsters…
    this 1 looks so sharp (the angular ’80s, even the wheel covers!)~

  13. Mark M

    I have sold BMW for 25 years in th UK.
    Your appearance will not have been the issue.
    Some of my wealthiest clients dress like tramps.

    Like 1
    • Jef Fowler

      So true Mark M. You could be describing a friend. A real car guy. He bought one of the first 5 series from a London (west end somewhere if I recall). Did the deal where he picked it up in Germany, saved a ton of tax money in the process.

      Years later he went back to the dealership, scruffy from remodelling a house. One of the guys from the original sale recognized him and introduced him to his colleagues and a few punters. Never under (or over) estimate a man by his clothes.

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