Stunning BMW M1 coming up for auction in Monterey

A pristine example of one of BMW's most desirable cars ever is crossing the auction block this month

Ten years ago, the 1981 BMW M1 coming up for sale with RM Sotheby’s in a few weeks’ time might have cost you around $150,000.

When the car crosses the block in Monterey on August 19 it’s expected to make between $450k and $600k – around £345k-£460k at current exchange rates.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

There’s nothing remarkable about that – auction prices as a whole have risen consistently for several years now – other than a sneaking suspicion that you’d struggle to buy a brand new car today for the same money that’s quite as desirable as BMW’s 1970s supercar.

On paper, there’s no reason this should be the case. Its M88/1, individual throttle-bodied inline-six produces 273bhp, which was impressive in its day, and results in a top speed of 162mph. There’s a five-speed manual gearbox – a concept alien to buyers of circa-£400k cars these days – and a simple mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout.

But in terms of rarity – only 453 M1s were ever made – and the timeless Giorgetto Giugiaro styling contribute to a car that’s far greater than the sum of its parts. By the standards of other 1970s supercars its styling is understated, but seeing one as clean as the Inka Orange example coming up for auction is a reminder of just how perfectly proportioned Giugiaro’s shape was.

This particular car sits on its original Campagnolo alloy wheels and both interior and exterior are a testament to the minuscule 12,838 miles it’s covered in the last 35 years.

Naturally, it’s been religiously maintained over that period and the car is in unrestored condition, so there is a hint of patina to belie its history, which includes spells in Italy and Japan.

As with the BMW 2002 Turbo also coming up for sale in Monterey, it’s a car we hope the new owner will feel inclined to enjoy on the road. As the prices of classic cars rise ever upwards, actually driving them becomes more difficult to justify.

Recommended

Car pictures of the week
BMW

Car pictures of the week

16 Oct 2020
All-electric BMW iX3 SUV enters production
BMW

All-electric BMW iX3 SUV enters production

5 Oct 2020
BMW M Performance parts: pricing, availability and range
BMW

BMW M Performance parts: pricing, availability and range

28 Sep 2020
This BMW M8 Competition is faster than a McLaren P1
BMW

This BMW M8 Competition is faster than a McLaren P1

15 May 2020

Most Popular

Hyundai i20 N revealed – 200bhp supermini ready for some Ford Fiesta ST baiting
Hyundai i20 hatchback

Hyundai i20 N revealed – 200bhp supermini ready for some Ford Fiesta ST baiting

Long-awaited second N division model set to shake up the junior hot hatch establishment
20 Oct 2020
£153,000 ​Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA enters final stages of development
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

£153,000 ​Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA enters final stages of development

Alfa Romeo has put its F1 drivers behind the wheel of the Giulia GTA and GTAm ahead of production in 2021
20 Oct 2020
Is this a new Porsche 911 Safari?
Porsche 911 coupe

Is this a new Porsche 911 Safari?

Tall ride height and wheelarch extensions suggest a surprise 911 derivative could be coming
22 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020