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The BMW M1 – An Unlikely Pairing to Success

Credit: Fantasy Junction

If you had to pick the most challenging era of sports cars development, it would have to be the late 1970s. Automobile manufacturing was struggling for new directions, fuel consumption and regulations robbed cars of horsepower, and build quality was among the worst seen worldwide. The level of malaise was so high, the era would come to be defined by the very word “Malaise”. So, it’s all the more remarkable that, at this very time, two unlikely partners, Bavarians and Italians, would conceive of one of the most exciting and rare mid-engine Supercars: the BMW M1.

Credit: Aaron Kiley

Originally conceived as a premier vehicle to showcase BMW engineering, the “M” (Motorsports) series would launch to public consumers what would become its own sub-brand of performance offerings. The initial design began with a Paul Bracq penned concept car debuting in 1972. The wildly painted mid-engine turbocharged 4 cylinder was impressive, advanced, and an exciting car, complete with dramatic gullwing doors (before the Bricklin or Delorean).

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