BMW, short for Bavarian Motor Works, is a German car maker that has been manufacturing luxury vehicles since the 1920s. During the company's long history, it has produced an evolving line of cars known for using the most up-to-date automotive technology while starting car trends of their own.
The BMW M1 was no different. Produced from 1978 to 1981 under BMW's Motorsport division, the car's exotic, slightly futuristic body shape was created by Giugiaro's Ital Design.
The Lamborghini company was originally hired to develop the chassis and assemble the prototypes, but that company ran into serious financial difficulties in 1977. BMW finally took the M1 project back in 1978 and gave it to the Baur company to produce instead.
This sports car was BMW's only mid-engined vehicle to be mass produced. The car was created for racing and was made to compete with Porsche's super-fast race cars. However, the racing association regulations required that car companies also make 400 of the race cars available to the public.
The M1 was introduced to the public as an exotic, sporty vehicle that featured a high-performance, straight-6 engine that used the same technology BMW used in their race cars.
The engine in the street version of the BMW M1 produced 273 horsepower and reached speeds of up to 160 mph. The turbocharged versions used on the racetrack produced about 850 horsepower.
Although the M1 engines offered drivers great performance, these engines typically required more maintenance than BMW's standard engines.
In bad news for the BMW car company, the delay caused by Lamborghini's money troubles pushed back the M1's production too far to meet the racing regulations.
By the time the M1 finally came out, the racing association had changed their rules to stipulate that 400 cars had to have already been sold to the general public before the turbocharged version of the car could be raced.
By the time BMW met those regulations, car was already out of date and being outraced by newer, lighter competitor models.
Although the BMW M1 racer was never successful, the street version was always considered a first-class car. They were fast, luxurious, comfortable, easy to handle and quiet. No wonder the M1 is a popular classic car today.
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