1980 BMW M1 : Third M1 Built

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1980 BMW M1

The Third M1 Built

Designer:  Giorgetto Giugiaro

s/n WBS4301006
Inka Orange with Black Interior

3.5 Liter Inline 6 Engine

ZF 5 Speed Transmission

3 Owners

Odometer: 21,000 Kilometers

Location: Emeryville, California

Seller is Fantasy Junction (510) 633 7555

Price $535,000 US Dollars

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Fantasy Junction has this amazing BMW M1 for sale.   I cant believe these are 500k cars now.  I remember seeing a white M1 at Vasek Polak dealership in Hermosa Beach.   BMW made these cars known internally as E26 from 1978 to 1981.   This is BMW’s first mid-engined car to be mass produced.

These cars were all hand made and in 4 years only 457 cars were built by the motorsports division as a homologation special for racing.   Twenty of those cars are race versions.

This example looks to be in excellent shape.  I had no idea  they made so few of these considering I see one driven by a young kid in my neighborhood from time to time.   I now appreciate how rare these are.

This car comes with a very rare genuine Procar wing.  Currently not on the car.


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The M1 has a 3.5 Liter 6 cylinder twin cam (M88) engine with Kugelfischer Mechanical Fuel Injection.

I love the sound of mechanical fuel injection units especially in Porsches.  These engines had 6 separate throttle bodies and 4 valves per cylinder.  They produced 273 horsepower and could reach 162 mph.


I am amazed at all the details on the M1.  I could take photos of this car all day.  Its just so interesting.

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Fun Fact:  The M635CSI and the first generation M5 used modified versions of the M88/1 engine called the M88/3.  I think I want to find myself an M5!

Fun Fact:  BMW has only made 2 mass produced mid engined cars , one is the BMW M1 and the second is the i8.


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Seller Description:


1980 BMW M1
s/n WBS4301006
Inka Orange with Black Interior

BMW’s M1 is a fascinating and unique car from a period during which the supercar was just coming into its own. The word was originally created for the Miura ten years earlier, and other cars that fit the model were emerging, including the Countach, Boxer, and Bora. The M1 was the first German car of this type, and as it has turned out, BMW’s only such car to date. Developed jointly with Lamborghini, the car is still very much a German car: it is usable, practical, comfortable, and durable.

The heart of the car is the M88 engine, which has an exciting and very racy specification that included dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, one throttle body per cylinder, tubular headers, and dry sump lubrication. The engine was intended for racing, and indeed, the competition version of the M1 was raced extensively in the Procar series, a 1-make series in which drivers from Formula 1, the World Sports Car Championship, and European Touring Car Championship all competed against one another. The races were typically run as support races for F1 events, and Nikki Lauda won the championship in the inaugural year of 1979. Ultimately, the engine was made available in other street cars beyond the M1, including the M635CSi and M5. It was among the most powerful naturally aspirated six cylinder engine available at the time.

In addition to its race-oriented engine, the M1 has a host of other interesting and exotic features. The car was styled by Giugiaro and the body manufactured in GRP. The car was developed with Lamborghini and the earliest examples built in Italy, although ultimately it returned to BMW in Germany because of another of Lamborghini’s ventures into receivership during this period. The chassis was built by Marchesi, who supplied chassis to many Italian manufacturers and even made that of the Miura and the car sat on Campagnolo wheels. Thus, it has an interesting mixture of German and Italian features that make it all the more captivating to today’s collector. All in, 453 examples were built, of which 399 were production street cars, ensuring yet another reason that these cars are so collectible today.

This particular example has excellent history, having had three owners from new. It has covered just 21,000 kilometers from new. This car was third production M1 built and the first one delivered to a German dealer. It was used as a training car at BMW service centers before being sold to a BMW racer in Tulsa, Oklahoma named Alf Gebhardt. He had been successfully racing CSLs and an M1 Procar since 1978 and thus had the factory connections to import the car without federalizing it. Presumably, this is why the car is titled as a 1980. He drove it occasionally, accumulating 6,000 kilometers by the time he sold it in 1986. Its next owner kept it for nearly 30 years, covering an additional 15,000 kilometers. During the last two decades of his ownership, he had the car serviced by the same BMW Master Technician in Libertyville, Illinois. A recent compression test indicated even results on all six cylinders.

The car is in excellent cosmetic condition. The paintwork has excellent gloss and shows minor wear only: light chipping from road use and some cracks at the base of the A pillar on the driver’s side. The body is straight with good fit and the car has extensive use of black trim, which is excellent throughout, including the front spoiler. The Campagnolo wheels appear never to have been refinished and are excellent considering this. The lights and lenses are excellent throughout, including the Cibié headlamps.

The interior is in excellent shape, including the dashboard, seats, carpets, and trim. The leather is supple and there is minor creasing on the driver’s seat bolster, but minimal other signs of wear or aging. The details of the car are particularly interesting to the enthusiast who has spent time with lots of classic cars but never closely examined an M1. Certain aspects are exotic and noteworthy, other aspects are familiar to someone who owned a BMW from this period, such as the switch gear, door handles, and some other equipment. The interior has a generally solid, German, well-made character, but other aspects are quite exotic and evocative. The fabric inserts are a period touch and look great to the modern eye, and extend even to the headliner. The interior is well-made, comfortable, and surprisingly usable, much like the rest of the car. The car is equipped with a Becker Mexico radio.

The engine compartment and trunk are very tidy. The trunk carpet is in excellent shape and the car comes with tool roll with tools, first aid kit, warning triangle, factory service booklet, and full set of Becker books for the radio. The engine itself is extremely clean, with excellent cad plated components and extremely nice black paint on the valve cover, airbox, and other components. The engine is clean and the equal length headers are impressive and directly indicate the engine’s legendary competition heritage. The front compartment is also very tidy, with excellent mechanical components and nice presentation. The structural components both in the front and the back appear never to have been refinished and the paint shows some age, but the cosmetics of these areas are otherwise difficult to fault.

The car is a pleasure to drive and is very usable, fitting a mold that is relatively commonplace in today’s supercars, but was quite extraordinary at the time. The engine starts easily, idles smoothly, and pulls cleanly through the rev range. Power builds in a linear fashion, and the car is tractable. Rather than an explosion of power, there is a consistent pull that ends up with car traveling quite swiftly, and it is an engine that delivers the most when the entire power band is used. The gearbox is excellent, with well-defined shift gates, slick actuation, and very good synchromesh. The dogleg shift pattern adds further to the sense of occasion and makes downshifts into second gear more straightforward. The steering is precise and of manageable weight, particularly once underway. The chassis is composed and tight, providing a comfortable ride that makes the car imminently streetable and easy to use. The brakes are effective and the overall feel of the car is of capable, well-balanced, and coherent performance that would make the car well suited to just about any type of use, including driving around town.

This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a superb example of a significant, desirable, and collectible car. The M1 has all the ingredients of a true collector car: it is technically sophisticated, rare, significant to the history of the marque, and has a deep association with motorsport. In fact, the M1 was the first car produced by BMW’s now legendary Motorsport division. With excellent history, originality, few owners, and low mileage, this particular car is a very original collector-grade example. Further distinguished by its distinguished ownership and evocative period color, this car is complete with tools, some books, and a previously installed genuine Procar wing.


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