homage to BMW's M1
Created specifically for the Villa D'Este classic car concours event in Italy, the BMW M1 Homage concept pulls design cues from the original M1, softening the original car's sharp lines but not to the extent that the exotic car look is compromised.
We especially like the louvered rear window and the BMW badges on the sweeping rear pillars. The original M1 had pop-up headlights, which seem a little old school today. Fortunately, the Homage's nose reflects today's styling with exposed headlights, albeit barely visible within the car's bull shark-like snout. BMW's kidney shaped grill has, of course, been maintained. In addition, the wheels say only one thing...unmistakably BMW M1.
Does this car look a little over the top? Maybe. Details such as interior layout and performance were not talked about, not that we expected BMW to expand on such niceties. But it is a concept. A design experiment paying homage to a classic exotic. And it may be a bit of a stretch to see future BMW's taking on any of the Homage's design details.
But how great would it be to see BMW introduce a car similar to the Homage, taking on the likes of Audi's R8 and Lamborghini's Gallardo?
A little history
The BMW M1 began its life in the mid 1970s as BMW's Motorsport Division began development of a GT race car for Group 4 and Group 5 racing. For manufacturers wanting to qualify, 400 cars had to be built, with some being made available to the public and the rest set aside for competition. For BMW, their foray into GT racing became known as the Mid-Engined BMW M1 Project, or simply the E26. Development kicked off in 1976, with completion in 1981.
The M1 was designed by Giugiaro, with inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo. The original plan was to have Lamborghini develop the car's chassis, assemble prototypes and manufacture the car. But financial problems with the Italian car maker and delays brought development back to BMW. They contracted with Baur, a German convertible builder, for assembly but by the time production resumed, the rules for Group 5 racing had changed. In addition, BMW had not met the required sales goals so they moved the M1 to the Procar series.
There were only 456 M1's built, with production discontinued in 1981.
BMW M1 history
• The first M1 was completed on July 10th, 1978.
• The last car was completed on February 13th, 1981.
• All VINs have the same 14-digit prefix (WBS59910004301XXX) with individual 3-digit suffices.
The entire production range used numbers 001 to 460, with seven numbers never used (045 to 049, 428, 431) and two Group 5 race cars built without VINs.
In 1979, 79 cars were built (41 road, 38 race).
In 1980, 188 cars were built (178 road, 10 race).
And in 1981, 188 cars were built (180 road, 8 race).
A total of 455 cars were built, with 399 sold to the public and 56 for competition.
Hat tip to the Unofficial BMW M1 web site.
Follow this link to check out our photo gallery of the M1 Homage.