It is the story of the BMW M1, the first BMW supercar that was introduced in 1978 and of which a total of 456 units were manufactured.
The BMW M1 is the cornerstone of the BMW M family. It can be considered the origin of a series of sports cars that have emerged from the Bavarian factories for more than four decades, positioning BMW as one of the best car manufacturers in the world. World. The history of the BMW M1, the first supercar of the German brand, began in 1978 and ended three years later with a total of 456 units produced.
At the 1978 Paris Motor Show, BMW would unveil one of its most iconic and desired cars. Designed by Italian bodybuilder Giorgio Giugiaro, the M1 combined the style of Italian sports cars with the high performance of its German engine. For its elaboration, Giugiaro took the BMW Turbo as its base. A prototype was presented in 1972 to celebrate the Munich Olympic Games. To some extent, the M1 is heavily influenced by this concept of the car.
The History of the BMW M1: BMW’s first Supercar by RCC Auto
The gull-wing doors were dispensed with, its front was kept almost unchanged, and the rear was adapted to integrate some aesthetic elements that brought the Turbo closer to a production version. The faired rear wheel arches were also removed, the sides were redesigned, and the mid-engine configuration was retained, although the displacement was considerably increased for the occasion.
For its creation, BMW partnered with Lamborghini with the initial goal of building a racing car with which to participate in different categories. However, to homologate this model, it was necessary to produce a minimum series of registrable units with street specifications. The BMW M1 was an absolute necessity if the German company wanted to step to the next level in official racing.
Tuning Lamborghini and BMW engine
Chassis setup, suspension, and geometries were courtesy of Lamborghini, while manufacturing was the responsibility of BMW. Unfortunately, the Sant’Agata Bolognese people had to abandon the project due to financial problems much earlier than desired, although they left BMW with a great base to work on. On the chassis, located in the central position, a 3.5-liter double-overhead-cam M88 / 1 inline six-cylinder engine powered by a Kugelfischer fuel injection system was installed.
This thruster was not entirely new. Mechanics were propelling the BMW 7 Series, launched a year before the M1, and the 6 Series, initially introduced in 1975. However, the M88 / 1 engine received several specific adjustments from BMW’s M department, which was enough for the machine to go from the 218 hp produced in the 7 Series to the 277 hp at 6,500 rpm offered in the BMW M1. The maximum torque was 330 Nm at 5,000 pm.
Coupled with this engine, the BMW M1 received a five-speed manual gearbox signed by ZF, with a limited-slip differential in the rear axle. According to the time records, this configuration allowed it to reach 100 km / h from a standstill in 5.6 seconds and registered a maximum speed of 265 km / h.
Only 456 units were made.
In 1981 the history of the BMW M1 came to an end with the cessation of production. A total of 456 street-spec units were built, although some competition models were also created. The most famous ones, belonging to the Procar series, received some technological advances directly from Formula 1, raising their power to 490 hp, accompanied by a complete body kit. The high point of the model was reached with the norms of Group 5 when the M1 of competition with supercharged mechanics was around 900 horsepower.