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

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

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.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/bmw/202120/bmw-m-gmbh-outperforms-amg-posting-record-sales-figures
BMW

BMW M GmbH outperforms AMG, posting record sales figures

17 Jan 2020
Visit/bmw/201827/bmw-m-performance-parts-pricing-availability-and-range
BMW

BMW M Performance parts: pricing, availability and range

12 Dec 2019
Visit/bmw/201850/bmw-design-and-the-sorry-slide-from-quiet-confidence-to-muddled-mediocrity
BMW

'The sorry slide from quiet confidence to muddled mediocrity'

15 Oct 2019
Visit/bmw/201608/bmw-4-series-coupe-spied-munich-to-downsize-8-series-formula-next-year
BMW

BMW 4-series Coupe spied – Munich to downsize 8-series formula next year

13 Aug 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/sports-cars/202115/porsche-ditches-four-cylinder-for-flat-six-in-cayman-and-boxster-gts
sports cars

Porsche ditches four-cylinder for flat-six in Cayman and Boxster GTS

New models eschew turbos with detuned 4-litre from the Spyder and GT4
15 Jan 2020
Visit/toyota/gt-86/202104/toyota-gt86-vs-mazda-mx-5-vs-abarth-124-spider-lightweight-sports-car-shootout
Toyota GT 86

Toyota GT86 vs Mazda MX-5 vs Abarth 124 Spider – lightweight sports car shootout

Three affordable sports cars from Japan and, er, Japan battle it out on the Yorkshire Dales
14 Jan 2020
Visit/news/202119/2020-geneva-motor-show-preview-what-to-expect-from-europes-most-important-auto-show
News

2020 Geneva motor show preview

Electrification will likely dominate proceedings, but Geneva will have plenty of performance metal to get excited about too
17 Jan 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019