1981 BMW M1 for Sale Is Well-Loved Piece of Bavarian Automotive History

This car is number 420 of just 453 M1s ever built, and now’s your chance to own it.

byChris Constantine|
BMW News photo


As BMW's first and arguably only true mid-engined supercar (depending on how you classify the i8 performance-wise), the M1 has a special place in our hearts. Just 453 were built from 1978 to 1981, 400 of which were made for the road. With prices climbing rapidly, we doubt we'll ever own one of these early '80s icons, but for those who can, one was just listed for sale on Bring a Trailer.

This one-owner example from 1981 is chassis number 420 of 453, built by Italdesign and Bauer at the beginning of 1981, with suspension work done by Gianpaolo Dallara at Lamborghini. It's European-spec, having lived in Switzerland its entire life, and currently shows about 57,769 miles on the clock. 

Bring a Trailer

Chassis 420 still features its original white exterior paint job, 16-inch Campagnolo wheels, and a black leather interior with grey and checkered accents. In fact, most of the car's parts are stock except for different floor mats, new alarm, and an aftermarket stereo system.

The M1's bread and butter is its 3.5-liter M88/1 inline-six engine, which you can here chattering away in this seller-provided video. Making 273 horsepower and equipped with a ZF five-speed manual transmission, the M1's performance may seem a bit dull by today's standards, but remember that this car was still more powerful than a Porsche 911 at the time. Oh, and with some racing upgrades, the engine is good for 470-plus hp, transforming this restrained coupe into the demonic M1 ProCar.

According to Hagerty, a 1981 M1 goes for more than $500,000 now, and the current bid for this example at the time of writing is sitting at $300,000 on its first day of listing. We'll be interested to see how much this car will actually sell for, considering its higher mileage and overall originality.

BMW NewsCar BuyingNews by Brand