BMW M1 – Bavaria’s First Supercar
When ambitions crystallized to create BMW’s first standalone sports car, Bavaria leaned on Italy for aid. Sharing fastback silhouettes with 1970s icons like Ferrari’s 308 and Lamborghini Countach, Giorgetto Giugiaro shaped their angular supercar profile counter to softened “Bimmer” contours. But beneath sculpted bodywork lay an orchestration of German brilliance – their formidable 3.5-liter 6 pumping 277 horsepower demolishing tires in a symphony of mechanical stimulation. The 1978 BMW M1 channeled precision home country engineering through radical packaging and bombastic acoustic accompaniment from its straight-six heart.
Italian Styling Extremes Cloaking German Power
Given hood presences established in the period from wedge models originating in Italy, BMW smartly echoed similar shapes when penning M1’s form. A cab-rearward central-driving position shrinks front overhangs while extending the roofline into a subtly raised tail flanked by deep trunk crevices optimizing airflow. Though featuring quintessential 1970s supercar proportions, M1 elegantly integrated BMW cues through trademark kidney grilles and quad angel eye headlamps neatly fitted proportionally into Giugiaro’s concept. Inside a business-like three-spoke steering wheel faced concise gauges – blending German austerity with Italian flamboyance successfully.
Bespoke Supercar Engineering Maximizing Six Appeal
Starting proposals specified a compelling engine for taking fights directly to Porsche on the road and circuits. BMW Motorsports GmbH ultimately created the valiant M88 – a unique DOHC 3.5 liter inline-six breathing deeply through four Weber two-barrel carburetors at wild 9,000 RPM song peaks. Central placement lowered the center of gravity over axles while weight distribution split near perfect 50/50 balance. A ZF-built 5-speed manual routes torque rearward through a limited slip differential managing thetiptronic responses eagerly. While shapely exotics grabbed eyeballs, Munich’s magic motor carried the M1’s appeal.
BMW M1 Racing Homologation Expands Appeal
Like rival German makes, BMW required minimum M1 production volumes for racing eligibility. Fulfilling roadgoing versions to meet regulations prompted contracting renowned coachbuilders Karmann, Italdesign, and Baur to work feverishly hand-forming the intricate body shapes – delays ultimately forced bending rules. But success arrived from factory-backed teams contesting the M1 Procar series supporting 1979 Formula 1 Grand Prix events, fostering excitement around BMW’s scintillating supercar. Cup star power plus peculiar road pretensions won admirers globally even as production ended after just 450 final examples in 1981. Considered the Genesis spark behind BMW M GmbH performance division today, the fervent M1 now enjoys a decorated heritage