Let’s say you want to start a car collection, and for ease of argument’s sake, let’s say you’re really into BMWs. Which is the model you want? You could be a 507 enthusiast, love the classic 3.0 CSL or 2002, envy every E30 or lust over the modern muscle the company produces. But odds are if you’re reading these pages you, like me, gravitate towards BMW’s Motorsport models.
Within the Pantheon of classic models, there then comes the difficult decisions. How do you choose between the E30 M3 and the 1M, for example? Well, Enthusiast Auto Group has a suggestion. Why not have them both? Or, even better, why not assemble all of the greatest hits from BMW’s M division over the past 40 years and put them together into one curated, turn-key package?
Much like the E28 M5, the E82 was a legend before it even hit the market. Press releases and journalists gushed over its superlatives; while most felt it was a return to the classic BMW form, some went so far as to suggest it was the best M product ever. Debate still rages over that and generally fans of each chassis manage to come up with plenty of justification as to why theirs is the most special M produced. However, one thing is undeniable; the 1M might be the only M car to ever immediately appreciate on the market. Perhaps it was the combination of those aforementioned press articles or the limited nature of the model; a scant 983 were produced for the U.S. market over a 10 month production cycle in 2011. As with the E28, color choices were quite limited (though, thankfully more than just black!) – 326 Alpine White III (300), 222 Black Sapphire Metallic (475), and 435 Valencia Orange Metallic (B44) – the model’s signature color. All were mated with the same interior: LWNZ Black Boston leather with contrasting orange stitching. They all featured the same drivetrain specification, too – the boosted twin-turbocharged N54 turned up to 340 horsepower and mated only to a 6-speed manual with a limited slip differential. Wheels were the Competition Package BBS-made Style 359M 19″ options from the E9x. The result was magical:
BMW followed the age old recipe for the 1M and enthusiasts responded. Put a big engine in a small car, flare the arches a bit and slip on some wide rubber but keep the price in the range of mere mortals. What’s not to like about the 1M then? Well, they didn’t make many – 740 were imported, making it more rare than the previously rare E28 and E24 M models. That created an artificial demand right out of the box, and unfortunately these cars hit the market at the same point that the European collector car market really started taking off. That means that these cars have suffered effectively zero depreciation since new – rare for any car, but especially for the small sport sedan market. In fact, not only have they not depreciated, you could have bought one of these cars new in 2011, drove it moderately for the past 3 years, and you could have sold it for a profit today. The 1M, in all of its 335 horsepower twin-turbocharged goodness, hit the market at around $47,000 in 2011 – add a few options in and you were around $50,000 for most. Available in only three colors, these limited production cars have a cornered market and are piggybacking on the value increase of the 1980s M-cars – the spiritual predecessors of this car. Today, there are no less than 7 1Ms on Ebay, mostly in the $57,000 range. It seems almost like price fixing – we often see a wide spread of values even on very similar cars, but these 1Ms are all around the same price regardless of color, miles or number of owners. Which is the one you’d want?