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Record-Breaking BMW M1 Rediscovered After Nearly 25 Years

Auction / 13 Comments

This could be the rarest BMW M1 in the model’s history.

With only 453 examples built between 1978 and 1981, the BMW M1 supercar is an extremely rare sight. This special example, however, could be the rarest of them all. It was originally built to standard specification in 1979 and delivered to its first owner in Berlin the following year. A year later in 1981, the car was purchased by renowned racing driver Harald Ertl, who gave the mid-engined supercar an extreme makeover.

Developed in conjunction with British Petroleum who was looking to promote their new Autogas product, Ertl wanted to break 186 mph to set a new record. Ertl had the M1 engine fitted with twin KKK turbochargers developing around 410 hp. The car also featured revised aero-enhancing bodywork that made the unique M1 look more aggressive than the standard model. On October 17, 1981, Ertl managed to achieve a record-breaking 301.4km/h (187.2 mph), although there are no official records to prove it.

The record-breaking M1 was recently rediscovered in an East London garage after being presumed lost for nearly a quarter of a century. The rare M1 will soon be offered for sale for the first time since 1993 at the Coys auction at Techno Classica in Essen, Germany on April 13, and could fetch £250,000 ($326,000). From the photos, this battered BMW M1 looks like it's seen better days. Let's hope the car's next owner can restore it back to its former glory.

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"This is undoubtedly a piece of motoring history and possibly one of the rarest BMW's to carry the M1 badge. There is huge interest from around the world from people who wish to own a piece of motoring and speed record-breaking history," Chris Routledge, Managing Director at Coys told the London Post.

"This is as a result of our untiring detective work in the world of classic cars which has resulted in the barn finds we have unearthed, from the lost Ferrari 250 GT to the Cavalino treasure trove of parts which included included valuable spares and items from the great Italian marques such as Ferrari, Maserati and Abarth. The BMW is another astonishing barn find."