When the 64th edition of the Paris Motor Show opened its doors in the fall of 1978, sports car fans had a clear objective: the exhibition of BMW Motorsport GmbH.
There they could admire the new model, extremely dynamic and extraordinarily low, which made it very clear to the naked eye which was the fastest German sports car on the road: the BMW M1, which with 1.140 millimeters high and a motor of 277 CV of power, it reached a speed of more than 260 km / h.
The sports car, with a timeless design and a great tradition in motorsport, is one of the milestones of the company's heritage. Ten years before, the BMW 2800 CS it had already entered the era of "great coupes". These models definitely represented their era, both on the road and on the track.
The common feature of the BMW M1 and the brand's large coupes is their characteristic harmony, which combines style and sportiness. The body style, the work of the Italian designer Giorgio Giugiaro, gave the BMW M1, at just 1.140mm high, an Italian profile.
The intention was for the new coupe to clearly have that special Italian design. It was designed on the basis of the BMW turbo with “gull-wing” doors, a turbocharged prototype created in 1972 by Paul Bracq, dBMW designer. Starting from this design, with its rounded lines, Giugiaro created the sharp profile of the M1, with its peculiar ragged edges and corners. "Everyone was crowding around the new mid-engined BMW sports car," wrote the press. Y: "The order list is greater than the most optimistic expectations."
In fact, Bracq and Giugiaro had collaborated before to create the BMW 6 Series Coupe. By contrast, the vehicle's inline six-cylinder engine was a Munich masterpiece. Like the concept of the vehicle, the transmission technology was designed to master the challenges of the circuit and meet the requirements for a road vehicle license.
The “street” version of the BMW M1 was the fastest German sports car. The Procar series it was the opening act for Formula 1 and the BMW M1 was placed on the starting line with an engine of up to 490 hp. Turbocharging increased power to 850-950hp for racing according to Group 5 standards.
The M1 was not only an extraordinary sports and racing car, it was also a unique work of art. In 1979, the world famous pop art idol Andy Warhol worked on an M1 ready to race, using his brushes and paint to turn the M1 into one of the fastest works of art in the world.
That was the fourth Art Car by BMW, a series of artistic executions based on different BMW models. Warhol was the first artist to paint the car body directly with the powerful strokes of his brush: "But the car is better than art"Warhol later told himself in a rather acid comment.
With the number 76, the BMW M1 Art Car fought for the title at Le Mans throughout the entire 24 hours, finally finishing the race in sixth place.