Market Finds: The Sexiest New Car Is Probably This 1981 BMW M1

The Sexiest New Car Is Probably This 1981 BMW M1

By Michael Banovsky
November 12, 2015

Photography Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Giorgetto Giugiaro’s lines are usually perfect, and on the six-cylinder, mid-engined BMW M1, the smaller proportions of the German exotic have aged so well that they were aped for the company’s latest i8 hybrid sports car.

But what if you want a new M1, not a new i8? As painful as it is to imagine a BMW M1 that’s sat largely unloved since 1981, you’re looking at one. At just 682 km on the clock, it might even be a good idea to see if BMW will honor its original warranty…

The tale of this sports car is one of shipping containers, business deals, dealerships, and warehouses. It knows nothing of the changes to Germany’s Hockenheim race track, of YouTube, or its status as a modern classic. After being acquired by the consignor after what’s said to be 25 years of begging, it was recently-serviced using genuine parts, ensuring it should be as new as a 1981 can be in 2015.

RM Sotheby’s has the difficult task of estimating the value of such a rarity, and so this Arctic White M1 has an estimate in excess of $800,000. Is that too much? Well, what’s it worth to you to crack the throttle on this time capsule and hit the open road?

– None to speak of, which is the attraction here

~277 horsepower, 3,453-cc M88 DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission, front and rear dual A-arm independent suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 100.8 in.

Vehicle information
Chassis no. WBS59910004301426
Engine no. M88-503

Auction house: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: $800,000 – $1 million Usd.
Price realized: TBD; Auction on December 10 

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Meliambro001Emily LopezSoren IngramB RAD TStephen Stuart Recent comment authors
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Emily Lopez
Emily Lopez

Currently so many cars are in queue that gives a better and smooth drive as per many people, but these classics are really very much safe and gives us a better choice while drive . Theses new vehicles also reach in safety technologies that will affect the owner’s life as well vehicles.

Soren Ingram
Soren Ingram

Argh Have a replica Uncompleted, Alloy Body BMWM70 v12, ZF transaxle 1050kg bone dry


What a beautiful example, and what a shame it has not been used as intended! The M1 is near the top of my all time favorite list


Not that it deserves to be used…

Stephen Stuart
Stephen Stuart

So, what’s the back story??? Would love to hear more. And yes, would be a real shame for it not to be driven: but that is unlikely…

RR Mike
RR Mike

I have [i]such[/i] mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I’m annoyed when people purchase cars only as an investment. It seems like such a waste, and it could have gone to someone who would have enjoyed it. But on the other hand, once a car has been untouched for so many years, it becomes a time capsule and is something special. With that perspective, I’m glad that some cars are well preserved. Of course an owner is free to do what they wish with their cars, and if they prefer to look at their cars rather than drive them,… Read more »

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

The problem is you know all too well once the next owner has purchased this car it’ll again be relegated to the garage/museum/collection sitting forlorn , unloved and undriven for the next half of its life as well due both to the incredibly low milage and what we all know will be a ridiculously high price once the hammer falls . Sigh … automotive jewelry /statuary ….. such is the permanent fate of cars purchased new as ‘ investments ‘ … rather than as automobiles deserving to be driven