The BMW M1 is a 70s super cars best thought about with with teenage nostalgia. Like so many other poster car plastered on burgeoning auto enthusiasts walls the M1 looks best when viewed from afar with the details left to imagination. At the BMW F12 M6 convertible and 6 Series Gran Coupe press event I got a chance to spend some hands on time with an M1. Seeing the machine in the metal, or fiberglass, was an special experience, but if I'm honest some of the rose color glass shine was lost.
The first devastating blow was that I will probably never be able to drive one. Ignoring how devilishly rare the M1 is with only 433 made world wide and only a few examples gray marketed into the US, I simply don't fit. The M1's miniscule 101 inch wheelbase and 45 inch height means my long 6'5" body doesn't fit. I did manage to shoe horn myself behind the wheel, which required several ungraceful maneuvers, but the possibility of operating any of the controls was non existing. My legs were so tightly crammed into the steering wheel I'm not sure it would turn, and I couldn't see anything with the 90 degree crook in my neck to get my head in the car. So driving the car is out for me, but Insideline has shorter editors and were able to get some time behind the wheel of an M1 -
|On the road, I can't shake the feeling that the BMW M1 is too easy to drive. In spite of its exotic specification, it's quiet, with a bizarrely compliant ride, and it ambles along in a high gear at next to no revs without protest. Were its interior not so useless, you'd be convinced you were in a low-slung 7 Series.|
Beyond my physical inability to fit behind the wheel, the details of the M1 up close are somewhat disappointing. The interior is laughably basic. It's not the quality, which is poor, but the completely lack of concern for the interior at all. There is a way to go about making something simple, and that simplicity creates a sense of purpose. The M1 doesn't have it, they just didn't have an object to meet so the threw some stuff in there. The radio is made in Mexico, it says so on the front, as if we should all know the best radios come from Mexico.
The exterior is no better. The body is make from fiberglass laid up by Italians, with a tube chassis made by other Italians, with BMW really only supplying ideas, money and engines. After a string of mis-starts final assemble was left to the Germans, but not BMW's Germans, it was instead the German car builder Baur. To say the M1 had a rough life from start to finish would be an understatement. With the production of the parts being done by so many different companies the low quality was inevitable. Of course all super cars at the time has relatively terrible quality.
And that takes me back to why 70s super cars, the posters you had on your wall, are best left to dream about. Unless of course you're given a chance to drive one, which I would jump at in a heart beat. I would trade the sweetest childhood memories of those poster cars for an afternoon driving one. It might not live up to my childhood poster dreams, but I wouldn't care. Being behind the wheel of such a rare car, flaws and all would still be a dream come true. And that is why I'm so jealous of the anyone who gets an opportunity to drive my boyhood poster car, the BMW M1.
Read the complete M1 driving review and let us know what you think. Would you trade the nostalgia of what you always dreamed the car would be like for the chance to drive one, flaws and all?
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