1980 BMW M1
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RM Sotheby's - The Don Davis Collection
27th Apr 2013
1980 BMW M1
277 bhp, 3,453 cc M88 DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission, front and rear dual A-arm independent suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 100.8 in. Please note that this example does not have its original engine. It has been replaced with an engine from another car. In the late-1970s, BMW was still in its growing pains in the United States. The favored quirky rally car of the 1960s was becoming the favored fast luxury transport of young professionals. In-between the two eras of Bayerische Motoren Werke, there was the M1, which remains the most exotic street car that the company ever built. Neither rally car nor hushed sedan, it was essentially a road-going Procar and Group 5 racer, built to homologize the cars for the track. Virtually hand-built in limited numbers, it combined a tubular frame, utilizing state-of-the-art technology with gorgeous Giugiaro-designed wedge bodywork. The chassis was fitted with unequal-length lateral links, alloy uprights, concentric coil springs, and anti-roll bars in the front and rear. The mid-mounted, fuel-injected, 277-horsepower, double-overhead-cam six-cylinder engine facilitated top speeds in excess of 160 mph, thanks to the M1’s outstanding power-to-weight ratio. Such numbers should not be regarded as surprising, since early development of the M1 was in partnership with Lamborghini. Only 455 M1s were produced between 1978 and 1981, a number broken-down into 399 road and 56 race cars. Relatively few examples were imported into the United States, and as such, they have always remained somewhat elusive on these shores—only furthering the desire held for them in the hearts of BMW enthusiasts. The M1 offered from the Don Davis Collection was, accordingly, sourced from outside the U.S. several years ago. One of only 72 examples finished in “Henna Red” in 1980, it was repainted in its original color while under previous ownership. All body panels still fit well, and the car retains its original factory glass and finishes inside and out. Original equipment includes power windows, air-conditioning, and a Becker Mexico radio/cassette player. As the M1 is a European-delivery model, it is non-federalized and was not modified to suit United States emissions standards, and as such, it cannot be registered in California. The Don Davis Collection has a decided focus on performance and cars that were, at the time they were built, the ultimate in their class. The M1 defined its class, as it is a mid-engined powerhouse that remains advanced even paired alongside today’s BMWs, and it continues to stand as one of the company’s watershed designs. This outstanding M1 would fill a niche in the collection of any dedicated Bimmer enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the best technology that Europe can offer.
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