The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

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Lot 116

1980 BMW M1

  • Chassis no. WBS59910004301360
  • Engine no. 387

Sold for $242,000


277 bhp, 3,453 cc M88 DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission, front and rear dual A-arm independent suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 100.8 in.

  • The über-BMW
  • One of only 399 built
  • Originally finished in Henna Red


In the late-1970s, BMW was still in its growing pains in the United States. The favored quirky rally car of the 1960s was becoming the favored fast luxury transport of young professionals. In-between the two eras of Bayerische Motoren Werke, there was the M1, which remains the most exotic street car that the company ever built. Neither rally car nor hushed sedan, it was essentially a road-going Procar and Group 5 racer, built to homologize the cars for the track. Virtually hand-built in limited numbers, it combined a tubular frame, utilizing state-of-the-art technology with gorgeous Giugiaro-designed wedge bodywork. The chassis was fitted with unequal-length lateral links, alloy uprights, concentric coil springs, and anti-roll bars in the front and rear. The mid-mounted, fuel-injected, 277-horsepower, double-overhead-cam six-cylinder engine facilitated top speeds in excess of 160 mph, thanks to the M1’s outstanding power-to-weight ratio. Such numbers should not be regarded as surprising, since early development of the M1 was in partnership with Lamborghini.



Only 455 M1s were produced between 1978 and 1981, a number broken-down into 399 road and 56 race cars. Relatively few examples were imported into the United States, and as such, they have always remained somewhat elusive on these shores—only furthering the desire held for them in the hearts of BMW enthusiasts.



The M1 offered from the Don Davis Collection was, accordingly, sourced from outside the U.S. several years ago. One of only 72 examples finished in “Henna Red” in 1980, it was repainted in its original color while under previous ownership. All body panels still fit well, and the car retains its original factory glass and finishes inside and out. Original equipment includes power windows, air-conditioning, and a Becker Mexico radio/cassette player. As the M1 is a European-delivery model, it is non-federalized and was not modified to suit United States emissions standards, and as such, it cannot be registered in California.



The Don Davis Collection has a decided focus on performance and cars that were, at the time they were built, the ultimate in their class. The M1 defined its class, as it is a mid-engined powerhouse that remains advanced even paired alongside today’s BMWs, and it continues to stand as one of the company’s watershed designs. This outstanding M1 would fill a niche in the collection of any dedicated Bimmer enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the best technology that Europe can offer.

Addendum

Please note that this example does not have its original engine. It has been replaced with an engine from another car.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more