What?! So You're Saying The BMW M1 Could Have Lived Longer?

Supercars / 5 Comments

Obviously it didn't pan out. Here's why.

To this day, there's never been a BMW supercar on par with the iconic M1. Built from 1978 until 1981, the M1 was a mid-engined wonder with great racing expectations. Because of homologation rules, road-going versions were built as well. The project got started when BMW's Motorsport director at the time, Jochen Neerpasch, convinced the powers that be that something like this was needed. After its approval, Neerpasch headed over to Lamborghini, who helped develop the M1.

Consider the M1 something of a German-Italian hybrid; Giorgetto Giugiaro did the styling. Now, many of you already know that Lamborghini began having money problems and was forced to drop the M1 project. BMW took over and finished it in time for its debut at the 1978 Paris Motor Show. As far as racing went, the idea was to start a new M1-only series called Procar. Nikki Lauda was even signed up to drive. Sadly, the series didn't catch on and only 450 M1 road cars were built. Production ended in '81, but in a new report coming from BMW Blog and Car and Driver, it almost had a second shot at life.

The founder of Alpina, Burkard Bovensiespen, recently admitted that "When BMW stopped its production, they asked us whether we would be interested to continue making it." Alpina explored the idea further and even created a list of changes they wanted to make, but ultimately concluded it wouldn't work. Why? It couldn't be modified into a better road car. "It didn't really take the passengers' requirements and every day drivability into account. We would have needed to increase the wheelbase." Doing so would have resulted in changing the car's looks. What's more, if Alpina built it, they "would have wanted to use (its own) turbo," thus requiring significant changes to the M1's architecture.

Sadly, Alpina opted to give up on the idea, but just over a decade later, another opportunity to build a supercar came up. BMW asked Alpina about building the Italdesign Nazca C2 concept car. Thing was, the work required to improve its build quality, combined with other factors, would have pushed its price tag over 600,000 German marks and "nobody would have paid that much even then."

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