Friday, May 24, 2024

Test: We take a ride in the supercar icon BMW M1

Abba bought 2 pieces and Simon Spies a single one. The BMW M1 was the ultimate Boss car in 1978. Today it has become a collector's car for millions. We take a tour in a perfect specimen.

It's not every day that you see or hear a BMW M1 whizzing by with the throttle wide open on the Helsingor motorway, Bil Magasinet writes. And if you do, you're probably the only one to identify the car that spits angry plug flames out of the exhaust pipes when the driver takes the feed from it. Low-flying, wedge-shaped and with wide louvres over the center engine, it looks like a confident Italian with a prancing stallion or a snorting bull on its snout. IT ALL BEGAN IN 1972 Appearances are deceiving. In 1972, BMW Motorsport GmbH was founded to manage BMW's successful motorsport activities in stock car racing. But the ambitious director and former Porsche racing driver, Jochen Neerpasch, had his eyes fixed on Formula 1.

The BMW management wasn't ready for that yet, but he got the green light to send BMW into the new Group 4 class for two-seater GT cars, which was based on street cars. An obvious place to beat the arch-rivals from Porsche, but he lacked a mid-engined sports car for the task. BMW didn't have any of them, but in the drawer were the drawings for a concept car, which was taken to Sant'Agata in Italy in 1976 with the aim of getting the experts at Lamborghini to build the 400 street cars needed to homologate a racing version for GT4. THE TUBE GRID FRAME CAME FROM ITALY One of these street cars you see in the pictures in front of you. It crackles from the exhaust as I open the mandrel and swing my leg over the wide mandrel arm. The blue-white propeller in the steering wheel tells me I've stepped into a BMW, but there's not much Bavarian atmosphere about the cabin. Although the steering wheel can be adjusted longitudinally, there is no doubt that this car was built and designed by little Italians. If you have to reach the steering wheel and are over 190 cm tall, you have to stick your head out of the window, like the mechanic who inspected the car because it had number plates on it. Everything on the dashboard sits neatly and conservatively arranged. BMW nerds are guaranteed to be able to point out the bits taken from various BMW shelves, but that sort of thing is irrelevant when you're turning some. Project "E26" was destined to be uncompromising and raw. The rudder frame was made by the same company in Modena that supplied frames for Ferrari. Race car constructor Dallara developed the chassis with double wishbone suspension, Bilstein gas shock absorbers and dual anti-roll bars. Click 'NEXT PAGE' to read further

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