OUT OF THE DUST

BMWíS MID-ENGINED MEISTERWERK DISCOVERED IN ITALIAN GARAGE AFTER 34 YEARS

GERMAN BMW dealer and specialist Mint Classics has unearthed a 1981 BMW M1 that has been gathering dust in an Italian garage for more than three decades. The new owners claim that the M1 was parked and hasnít turned a wheel since 1982. With the original tyres still fi tted, the carís odometer shows a youthful 7392 km on the clock.

As the pictures show, the M1, worth in excess of $500,000, was liberally buried in boxes and other household junk, yet a thick layer of dust and a sturdy glassfi bre body appears to have protected it from the worst environmental excesses. In fact, after just a cursory clean and refresh, the car emerged looking surprisingly presentable.

Despite the recent fad for survivor condition cars, Mint Classics intends to bring the M1 back to showroom condition, which doesnít appear too diffi cult. Although production of the M1 ended 35 years ago, its reputation as one of the fi nest driverís cars of its era remains undimmed and auction prices of good examples have skyrocketed in recent years. Just 435 units were ever built, BMW having to rescue the tooling when the originally commissioned builder, Lamborghini, suddenly fell into bankruptcy.

Although for some years the M1ís twin-cam 3.5-litre six-cylinder engine was viewed by investors as an impediment to it being bracketed in the top drawer of 70s/80s supercar royalty, BMWís only mid-engined road car is now very much perceived as the real deal.

Chancing upon one in a suburban lock up? Well, thatís priceless.