Lot 54

2020   |   Scottsdale 2020

1981 BMW M1

SOLD $368,000


$400,000 - $500,000



Car Highlights

The Ultimate BMW of Its Era; One of Only 399 Built
Wonderful Unrestored Example in Distinctive Color Scheme
Retained in Single Family Ownership from 1982 to 2019
Accompanied by Owner’s Manual, Tool Roll, and Service Records
One of the Most Important European Supercars of the 1980s

Technical Specs

3,453 CC DOHC M88/1 Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Kugelfischer Mechanical Fuel Injection
277 BHP at 6,500 RPM
5-Speed ZF Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Ventilated Disc Brakes
4-Wheel Independent Suspension with Coil Springs

Saleroom Addendum

*Please note that the sway bar bushings will require replacement before any use.

Register to Bid

The Cooperburg Family, North Carolina (acquired circa 1982)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2019)

Based on the 1972 Turbo show car, BMW’s production mid-engine sports car was penned by Italdesign’s talented Giorgetto Giugiaro, and would become known as the M1. Originally slated to be built by Lamborghini in a quantity sufficient for FIA homologation, conflicts arose between the two companies and BMW was left to manage the process themselves. Various Italian vendors were contracted for the frames and fiberglass bodies, before the cars were sent to Baur for final assembly. The M1 was powered by a slightly detuned variant of BMW’s CSL racing engine featuring a 24-valve cylinder head and Bosch Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. The 3.5-litre inlinesix made a substantial 277 hp and was mated to a five-speed ZF transaxle, propelling the M1 to a top speed of 162 mph. In total, just 399 road cars were built in approximately two years, with a further 53 produced as M1 Procar racers for a single-model series run in conjunction with F1 Grand Prix races.

The M1 driving experience is a striking exercise in competence. While offering slightly compromised ergonomics, it nonetheless impresses with its strong and robust drivetrain, as well as accurate steering, a compliant ride, and excellent brakes. Basically, a Teutonic German in an Italian suit, these cars can cover many miles at high speed with ease, while offering styling that is as 1980s perfect as one can find.

This Henna Red 1981 M1 was originally delivered to The Netherlands and later imported to the US, around 1982, by a North Carolina collector, Mr. Cooperburg. A few years later, he gifted the car to his son, Charles, who kept the BMW until 2019, when it was acquired by the consignor. In delightfully unrestored condition, this M1 has been serviced by European Performance in Raleigh, since the early 1990s. Invoices on file indicate that the odometer was stuck at 11,343 miles for a number of years, before being repaired in 2015. This is a relatively common occurance with M1s, and it is believed by the consignor that this car saw limited use during this period. The latest invoice from December 2019 shows that the car received attention to the fuel system, including a new pump, as well as a new battery. Accompanying the car at auction are important factory-delivered accessories such as the owner’s manual, tool roll, emergency roadside equipment, and first aid kit.

As the M1 has seen a resurgence of popularity in the last decade, most examples have found themselves in prominent collections, making the opportunity to acquire a car recently discovered in long-term single family ownership all the more enticing. Authentically presented, and strikingly original, this limited-production BMW begs for your closest inspection, and deserves consideration from any fan of landmark 1980s supercars.