bmw m1 in the uk


While searching the internet for something else, I came across a list of the 10 most expensive Lamborghini's in the world.

But what do you do when you disagree with it?

bmw m1 in the uk

Men like doing lists. We make lists all the time. A list of your favourite beers, football players or albums. That kind of thing is everywhere and each of us is right too. We are never wrong.

I had this thought the other day when I was doing some research unrelated to this story which led to yet another internet rabbit hole that had me heading off in different directions. I started out doing an internet search for a famous quote and nearly two hours later, I’d arrived at a list of the most expensive Lamborghini cars ever produced. I’ve no idea how.

There are ten cars on said list from 2019 ranging from £700,000.00 through to £7 million but here’s where I took issue. On my version of this list the car that would come in at number 2, at a little over £5 million, is a BMW. I know. I must be going mad but please bear with me.

The car that you see here is the BMW M1.

bmw m1 in the uk

It is a mid-engined sports car produced by BMW between 1978 and 1981 but they had an agreement with Lamborghini to build a production racing car for homologation purposes. The homologation process is the type approval required to allow either certain parts or complete cars to enter a race series.

If it is production based, it means that the old racing adage ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ can help road car sales.

The production vehicles must be sold to the public normally in minimum volumes in order for compliance to be achieved. In this case, BMW motorsport division had been wanting to compete in motorsports against their arch rival, Porsche. The homologation process needed 400 cars to be built for the road but BMW didn’t have the capacity to complete them. Step in, Lamborghini.

This partnership was to see Lamborghini work out the chassis, assemble prototypes and manufacture the vehicles. A tubular steel space frame chassis was well underway and five prototypes built before the Italians hit financial troubles. BMW had no option but to bring the project back in-house.

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Alright, so my claim that the list of expensive Lamborghini’s is tenuous to put this on to but in my list, this is still number two.

This car you see here is a wonderful example that I recently had the fortune of spending a day with thanks to BMW UK to whom this one belongs. Currently worth £5 million, you can see why I think it is worthy of being on any list though.

bmw m1 in the uk

Firstly, there is a Lamborghini look to it. The wedge is reminiscent of the designs from the Countach of my youth. That Italian poster boy was glued to my bedroom wall as a child but, whisper it lightly, this to me is better looking than the Countach. While the angles and spoiler on that Lamborghini were futuristic back then, the M1 has a more timeless design to it. It is also slightly easier to drive.

Sinking into the cloth seats you get transported back to a simpler automotive time. It smells like an old car but it feels more simple and analogue. Hipster heaven no doubt. The fabric isn’t gaudy or clever but just so. The plastics have an air of quality and the fabulous Blaupunkt tape deck stereo has me drifting back to a door pocket overflowing with TDK tapes and compilation cases.

bmw m1 in the uk

Finally the engine comes on-song, temperature is steady and the dog leg first gear is nearly missed. Oops. No matter. It is a quick refresher and then a short drive out onto the taxiway at Bicester Heritage. It pulls really well. It isn’t quick by todays standards but it is enough. The view forward seems as wide as anything a soft top can give you.

bmw m1 in the uk

The thing that really stands out though is that simple, clean and well balanced design. It is unfussy unlike the complex creases, angles and questionable front end on the latest Lamborghinis.

Let alone a new BMW.

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Alex Lawrence is a freelance photographer and writer who is now searching down the back of many couches around the UK to be able to buy his own M1.

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