1981 BMW M1

There are a few strange similarities between yesterday’s 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V and today’s subject – the much more elusive and legendary BMW M1. Both were sporty cars developed from more pedestrian beginnings. Both featured high-revving dual-overhead cam motors. But the interesting part comes in the sublet of construction, and the design. Both have links to Giugiaro, but both also borrowed heavily from other designs.

In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars last year, I covered some of the development of the Wedge Era and how those spectacular show car designs channeled their design language down to more pedestrian models. One of the stars of that article were the cutting-edge looks from Giugiaro’s ItalDesign – the firm, and man, responsible for some of your favorites such as the basic shape for the Audi Quattro. But while the Quattro launched its brand into the luxury realm and redefined the 80s, the undisputed German star of the wedgey wonders was the BMW M1.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Mega Tuner Showdown: Dinan v. AMG v. Treser v. Alpina v. Ruf

I’m always a fan of the showdown posts; no surprise, since I think I’m the only one who does them here! While it’s nice to highlight one car at a time, I’m just a fan of the opportunity costs; considering what my money could go towards otherwise. Plus, though we see comparisons of new cars in magazines and online fora, it’s not often that we have comparos including nearly 40 year old cars. While I usually highlight this type of comparison in my 10K Friday posts, today is a bit different and I believe the first time I have a showdown on Tuner Tuesday. I’ve rounded up a quintet of neat cars that are all modified from stock by some of the most famous tuners of the 1980s; which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

1985 BMW M635CSi

Though they’re the juggernaut of BMW performance today, the reality is that there were quite a few stumbling blocks and it took many years for BMW Motorsport GmbH to establish themselves as the benchmark for German performance. Though many consider the M1 the genesis of BMW M, in fact the brand was born nearly a decade earlier with the introduction of the 3.0 CSL. The high performance E9 was built together with BMW’s competition department, a relationship which ultimately resulted in the birth of BMW’s Motorsport division. A few years later, the new entity would give birth to an equally legendary creation, the 2002 Turbo. But when it came to the first car to carry the “M” badge, it was of course the legendary M1 with its motorsport derived M88/1 double overhead cam inline six screaming in the middle of the car. You’d think this recipe carried over immediately to the sedan range, but that was not immediately the case. First, BMW produced the M535i in the E12 chassis. Though the E28 model of the same designation was mostly an appearance package, the E12 model was turned up over the rest of the range – but not with the M88; BMW instead relied on the M30 to power the M535i. Then, there was a year where nothing happened; the M1 was out of production, the E12 was replaced by the E28, and ostensibly BMW had no real performance models. That was remedied at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, where a juiced up version of the 635CSi was offered. It was labeled the M635CSi; but unlike the M535i, under the hood wasn’t the venerable M30 that powered the normal 635CSi. In its place, the Motorsport division decided to slot the M88, now with /3 designation; the result was 286 horsepower – a staggering figure at the time, considering that the contemporary Porsche 930 was considered fairly bonkers with a little over 300 horsepower and though it looked much larger, the early E24s only weighed about 200 lbs.…

Motorsports Monday: Reliving the Glory Days – A4 STW v. 320i Supertouring

While Touring Car fans are widespread (after all, we can interpret NASCAR as a form of Touring Cars, right? crickets chirp in the distance), it seems that every fan has their favorite era. For some, it’s the wild wings and gold BBS wheels from the 1970s that defined production-based racers. For others, the winged warriors from the 1980s and early 1990s are the best era; after all, we get the M3 and 190E 2.5-16 Evolution from those generations. I have to admit that my personal favorite touring car has to be the V8 quattro that was won the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft in 1990 and 1991 is my favorite because Audi just did things differently. They took their largest car, kept some luxury details like the wood trim, and stomped on both BMW and Mercedes-Benz with their lightened luxury liner. But although there was some stellar racing from some superstars of the 1980s in the DTM around then, it’s not personally my favorite period. For that, I’d have to move up towards the mid-1990s, when even more companies like Nissan, Opel and Renault joined Audi and BMW at the front of race series like the British Touring Car Championship. I watched in awe as pilots like championship-winning Frank Biela rubbed doorhandles with the Alain Menu, Matt Neil and John Cleland. And who could forget Rickard Rydell, the Super Swede piloting the 850 wagon replete with inflatable dog in the back? It gave the series more character; you genuinely weren’t sure who would win any day the flag fell, and that made for some great watching. Today, two stars from that period are for sale and allow us the rare opportunity to get into a touring car – if you have the means:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi A4 Super Touring on Racecarsdirect

Tuner Tuesday: 1980 BMW M1 AHG Studie – REVISIT

After failing to sell at auction for the estimated $600,000 – $800,000 projection, the AHG Studie modified M1 is back and now on eBay. Bidding as of writing is sitting around $300,000 – a steal for even a poor condition M1 these days. While it’s not likely to remain there or meet reserve, it will be interesting to see where the pricing ends up!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW M1 AHG Studie on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site July 29, 2014:

Motorsport Mondays: 1988 BMW M3 Evo2

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I generally try to stay away from the E30 crowd, mostly because I really don’t think the current values on the M3 are justified. For under $10,000, it was a great track car. For under $20,000, it was a great occasional driver and memory of fun times in the DTM. At $30,000, it starts to become a show car that you’re not willing to drive to the store. Past that, it’s pure speculation and there seems to be no end in sight. Likely, that won’t be the case but if the Hemi bubble taught us anything it is that there will always be something new for people to latch on to. Of course, I watched a Mecum auction this past weekend and saw a Hemi Barracuda hammer for a few million dollars, so I guess the market on those cars still hasn’t returned to anything resembling normal.

Will the E30 M3 drop back down? Well, it can’t stay on this trajectory for long, that’s for sure. Cars have tripled in value in the past two years, a trend which is simply unsustainable. They’re no longer values – they’ve become the absolute top of the 1980s BMW market outside of the ultra-exclusive M1. And why? Don’t get me wrong, the E30 M3 is a cool car. But exclusive? They made 16,000 of them, for goodness sake. Compare that to some other notable BMWs – 450-odd M1s, about the same amount of pre-war 328s, or 250 507s. To put that even into more perspective, BMW made only about 6,000 E24 M6s and a scant 2200 E28 M5s. Rarity isn’t on the side of the M3, but few have ever accused the automobile market or enthusiasts with any sense of sanity, so the climb continues.…

Double Take: High Mile Handbuilts – 1991 BMW M5

Notably absent in last week’s M5 Double Take was the middle model E34. Often overlooked unjustly, the E34 is a great looking car that retains the title “last of the handbuilt M cars” – something that appears in nearly every advertisement. But if it’s cliche, it’s also a testament to the solid nature of the E34. Couple that slightly more luxurious and isolating cabin to the incredible S38 powerplant, and it’s a natural winner. Prices on this middle run super sedans have begun to creep up, but many have remained quite attainable – especially if you’re willing to accept an example with higher miles. Today we have two seemingly clean higher mile examples; which would be your pick?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay