Classical cars, including the history of the great classical automobiles
February 3rd, 2008

New BMW Was Launched Upside Down

BMW M1

When BMW said it was introducing a new car it didn't have in mind the kind of launch an exuberant Derrick Daly performed in a Monaco GP support race. It was 1979 and I was in Monaco to watch the Grand Prix. With drivers like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost and the mighty turbocharged Renaults competing, you'd expect visions of an F1 contest to remain large in my memory. Yet the only image that's stuck with me through all these years was former F1 driver Daly doing a spectacular rollover in a BMW M1. Daly was competing in the Procar race, a series intended to help promote BMW's only mid-engine "supercar."

But speed was not the M1's only legacy. BMW had already attracted world-wide attention by asking famed artists to decorate its cars, thus in 1979 pop-art idol Andy Warhol used his brush and paints to turn the M1 into one of the fastest works of art in the world. The M1 was, and still is, BMW's only mid-engine "supercar," featuring a 3.5 liter inline-six delivering 277 hp, a top speed of 164.1 mph, and a 0-60 sprint of 5.6 seconds. With BMW about to celebrate the supercar's 30th anniversary at the Ville d'Este concours, you might want to click on this Classic Rallies link for a thorough backgrounder.


by Philip Powell | Posted in BMW | No Comments » |

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