Halo Homologation-off: 1980 BMW M1 v. 1986 Audi Sport Quattro

It’s a bit amazing to consider that two of the most significant halo cars in German motoring history – both homologation models intended to lead their respective marques into the next decade – so closely paralleled each other, yet were so very different. It’s but a 35 minute train ride between Munich and Ingolstadt, and in the late 1970s both BMW and Audi wanted a range-topping model to grab attention. But their approaches were radically different. BMW designed a bespoke mid-engine, tube-frame supercar around a basic engine design it already had. Audi, on the other had, took a basic car design it already had and added a revolutionary drivetrain.

Both were styled by Giugiaro. Both had to be built out-of-house; Baur had a hand in each. Both had legendary engineers – Walter Treser and Roland Gumpert for Audi, Jochen Neerpasch at BMW. Both raced, though the series they were intended for were ultimately cancelled. Both launched a brand name – BMW’s M division, and Audi’s quattro (and later quattro GmbH). And today, both are both legends and highly sought by collectors. So today we have an interesting showdown; two prime examples have come to market and are nearly the exact same price. Of course, for that to occur the Audi entrant is the ‘ultimate’ evolution of the Quattro, the Sport model. So let’s put aside the ridiculous $700,000 plus asking prices of each of these cars for a moment, and consider – all things being equal (which they nearly are!), which one would you choose? Let’s start with the M1:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW M1 on eBay

Continue reading

1979 BMW M1

In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars back in 2016, 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.

Like the Quattro, the M1 redefined and refined BMW’s core mission, helping to launch the Motorsport division along with the 3.0 CSL and 2002 Turbo. While Giugiaro had also had his hand in the M1’s design, the genesis of the shape lay in the much earlier Paul Bracq designed Turbo concept. Bracq, in turn, had undoubtedly been influenced by the late 1960s creations of both Giorgetto Giugiaro (at Ghia and ItalDesign) and Marcello Gandini (Bertone), as well as the efforts and splash rival Mercedes-Benz had made in 1969 with the C111 concept and record setter.

But while Daimler was hesitant to enter serial production with such a departure from their tried and true sedan designs, the M1 proved to be just the spark BMW was looking for to ignite the fire in driving enthusiast’s minds. It was, at the time, the Ultimate Driving Machine:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW M1 on eBay

Continue reading

1981 BMW M1

Update 1/31/2019: The seller has relisted this M1 now at $695,000 – nearly $200,000 down from last Spring, but probably still ahead of the market.

Update 7/29/18: After listing in May at $875,000, the seller has dropped the price to $725,000 – still high for the model, but not as far out of line. Will it sell this time around?

I give Audi a lot of credit for bringing the R8 to market. It took a fair amount of gall for a company best known for mid-range all-wheel drive luxury sedans to up and produce a supercar-beating mid-engine road car capable of being used year-round and every day. It’s a feat nearly without precedent. Of course, I said “nearly”.

That’s because BMW pulled off a similar trick the best part of thirty years before Audi did it. And arguably the development of what would become BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division was even more impressive than what Ingolstadt pulled off. The M1 burst onto the scene at a time of economic austerity, global oil crises and came from a company who not only didn’t have a history of producing such cars, but didn’t have connections to others who did (unlike Audi’s corporate Lamborghini partnership).

Speaking of Lamborghini, because of BMW’s lack of expertise in supercar design it was the Sant’Agata firm that was employed to produce the M1. But because of Lamborghini’s lack of expertise at being…well, a company capable of producing something on a schedule, BMW engineers had to first liberate the early molds from Italy and then find someone who could produce the car. Ultimately, it was a combination of ItalDesign in Turin, Marchesi metal working in Modena to build the frames and Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart that stuck the M1 together. Though it doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in heaven, and indeed the M1 was a relative sales flop, it has nonetheless grown to cult status as one of the most user-friendly supercars of the late 1970s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 on eBay

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

1980 BMW M1

In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars last week, 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.

Like the Quattro, the M1 redefined and refined BMW’s core mission, helping to launch the Motorsport division along with the 3.0 CSL and 2002 Turbo. While Giugiaro had also had his hand in the M1’s design, the genesis of the shape lay in the much earlier Paul Bracq designed Turbo concept. Bracq, in turn, had undoubtedly been influenced by the late 1960s creations of both Giorgetto Giugiaro (at Ghia and ItalDesign) and Marcello Gandini (Bertone), as well as the efforts and splash rival Mercedes-Benz had made in 1969 with the C111 concept and record setter.

But while Daimler was hesitant to enter serial production with such a departure from their tried and true sedan designs, the M1 proved to be just the spark BMW was looking for to ignite the fire in driving enthusiast’s minds. It was, at the time, the Ultimate Driving Machine:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW M1 on eBay

Continue reading

1981 BMW M1

One of [whatever]. We hear it quite often here at GCFSB, but we’ve also come across some quite rare machinery in our years of being involved with this site. When I saw this Polaris Silver M1 for sale in Germany, I found it hard to believe that it was one of only three manufactured in this color. Silver is such a common color, especially on our favorite German vehicles. Sure enough, however, they didn’t produce many in this hue. With under 500 built, the M1 was one of the rarest BMWs produced. This car was just the beginning in what would be a long line of high performance machines to wear the Motorsports badge, which would wind up on the posterior of everything from roadsters to Tourings.

Click for details: 1981 BMW M1 on Classic Driver

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 BMW M1 AHG Studie

While it’s safe to say that all of the legendary BMW M1s have an interesting history, some are a bit more traveled than others. It would be simple to suggest that modifying one of the few M1s produced would be sacrilegious, but in the 1980s anything was fair game in the tuning scene, and let’s not forget that the M1 was a bit of a flop originally. In fact, until very recently the M1 was generally overlooked as a future collectable; prices were higher considering the rarity and provenance of the original M car, but like the Audi Sport Quattro they enjoyed relative obscurity in the general public. So, it’s not much of a surprise that some were modified in period, and AHG was the most famous of the tuners of the M1. Taking the base car to the next level, they customized the interiors and upped the power nearly 30%, along with fitting aero tweaks that were a reminder that the M1 was intended for the track. Looking much like a street worthy Procar, the only thing that was missing were the celebrity race drivers and crashes. Not missing was the high price tag, something that’s back today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW M1 AHG Studie on Hemmings

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1980 BMW M1 AHG Studie

I won’t bore you with an attempt to fully recount the storied history of the M1 here. But there are some interesting developments that helped create this halo car, changed its purpose and created the car that you see here. The M1 is a legendary car that, like the 959, 190E 2.3-16V Cosworth, RS200 and some other notable historic cars was born into a world that had already passed it by. It seems that often these ultimate cars have come about when the series rules have changed, and the M1 was part of that. The 959 moved from Group B to Le Mans, running high overall both attempts that it ran. The 190E took to the race track instead of rally, creating a new motorsports legend in the process – who can forget the images of Senna in the 190E? The RS200 moved towards the popular European sport of Rallycross, where it was extremely successful. And the M1? Well, the M1 was a bit lost; BMW had to build 400 of the expensive machines in a bit of a global recession, so they decided to make a one-make race series called the Procar series. Of course, it didn’t hurt that BMW was attempting to get its foot in the door with F1 management as an engine supplier, and the promise of the spectacle of F1 drivers let loose in supercars before the real race sure sounded appealing. What it was, most of the time, was a train wreck of crashes – but it was entertaining for sure, and they ended up building enough M1s to go racing where the car was intended, in Group 5 racing. While BMWs interests and technology passed by the M1 in the early 1980s, there was nevertheless a group of individuals who wanted their M1s turned up in the style of the wild winged, wide fendered and massive wheeled Procars. The result were the 10 AHG Studie cars:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW M1 AHG Studie on EBAY

Continue reading

1981 BMW M1

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 5.24.30 PM

I’ve written up some cool M1s, but this one may take the cake even from the Procar-widebodies if for no other reason than this is the M1 you see in the history books. Orange on black with that badass cloth/leather interior is what the E26 is all about. Add to that the fact that it’s from the badass Canepa Collection and has just 3,300 miles, and this is a frickin’ museum piece. Or it could be… I’m a much bigger fan of cars that are used. I’d construct one of those viewing rooms which the internet has seen made for E30 M3s and Ferraris; I’d soak in the glorious orange like it was a Seasonal Affective Disorder light and bust this thing out a few times a year for some fun.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 at Canepa

Continue reading