Surprising facts about the M1

Stamp series

This M1 stamp series has been sent to us

(digital photo only)

"Bequia" s an isle of the "Grenadines" near the "St. Vincent Passage" in between the "Atlantic Ocean" and the "Caribbean Sea".

March group C

The M1 has always been - on the track as well as on the road - in many respects a very special car. The semi-Italian with Bavarian soul itself was exotic. Even more unconventional were two cars for which the M1 provided the basis.

For the 1982 racing season, March built a streamline coupé for the new group C regulation. The wind tunnel dictated the conditions. Under the skin the technology of the BMW M1 was hidden with power provided by the 480 hp M1 3.5 liter conventional engine. The car was designed for races in the USA and started twice in 1982. In Riverside (6h) with Marc Surer and David Hobbs and in Laguna Seca with David Hobbs.

After the installation of the 2.0 liter turbo engine of McLaren Engines, Detroit, the car was destroyed by a big fire.

For the following race was reported or participated:

26.04.1981 with Procar Motor 6 h Riverside , David Hobbs (GB)/ Marc Surer (CH), 6th Place
03.05.1981 with Procar Motor 100 mile Laguna Seca, David Hobbs, 6th Place
24.05.1981 with Procar Motor 200 mile Lime Rock, David Hobbs, fastest lap, lost in round 46 of 132
31.05.1981 with Procar Motor 200 mile Mid Ohio, David Hobbs, 5th Place
[Translate to English:] 26.07.1981 mit Turbo Motor 100 mile Sears Point, David Hobbs, Ausfall in der 12. Runde von 40
02.08.1981 mit Turbo Motor 100 mile Portland, David Hobbs, 4.Platz
16.08.1981 mit Turbo Motor 6 h Mosport, David Hobbs/H.-J. Stuck, gemeldet aber nicht gestartet
23.08.1981 mit Turbo Motor 500 mile Road America, David Hobbs/Vern Schuppan(AUS), gewertet 47.Platz (Getriebeprobleme)
13.09.1981 mit Turbo Motor 150 mile Road Atlanta, David Hobbs, gewertet 18.Platz, Ausfall

BP autogas M1

A different project revealed less relation to racing. The aim here was to break the world speed record for fluid-gas powered cars. Together with BP the result was 301,4 km/h beating the old record by 18,4 km/h.

BMW Group Archiv: BMW M1 - gas-powered.
BMW Group Archiv: BMW M1 - gas-powered.
BMW Group Archiv: Preparations - Harald Ertl and his gas-driven BMW M1.
BMW Group Archiv: Preparations - Harald Ertl and his gas-driven BMW M1.
BMW Group Archiv: BMW M1 - the fastest gas-powered car.
BMW Group Archiv: BMW M1 - the fastest gas-powered car.
BMW Group Archiv: Lightweight design with space frame.
BMW Group Archiv: Lightweight design with space frame.
Erich Matter: Harald Ertl presented his BP autogas M1 in August 1981
Erich Matter: Harald Ertl presented his BP autogas M1 in August 1981


BMW M1: the fastest gas-powered car.

New world record of 301,4 kph in 1981 on VW experimental high-speed track.
On 17th October 1981, a specially modified BMW M1 set up a world record of an unsual kind. Racing driver Harald Ertl of Mannheim reached a speed of 301,4 kph in his M1, wich became the fastest gas-powered road car in the world. Month of preparation had gone into achieving this record speed. The M1 featured a tubular space frame made of steel with a glued and riveted plastic body. The record-breaking  slingshot was powered by a water-cooled six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3.453 cc, boosted to 410 bhp by two exhaust turbochargers. The gas tank was in the boot and helt a total of 45 liters.

Further information see next column "Prospectus M1-turbo"

Prospectus M1-turbo


5-page flier about the BMW M1 turbo (BP-gasauto) by C.A.R. & Harald Ertel

PDF download

“Home Amongst the Gum Trees” (the only one converted to RHD)

Report by Maurice Alexander, Hawthorn East, VIC, Owner .

M1 #377 was exported from the motherland on the 15th of December 1980 to his awaiting owner Mr Odile Van Rossum in the United Arab Emirates. Five years later on July 25th 1985 he was returned to Europe with 12,149kms and carried the number plate "KJD154W" in the UK. The owner was Mr William Loughran, a car collector from Lancashire in United Kingdom. It was with Mr Loughran that the car was converted to right hand drive. The car wasn’t driven more than 3,500km while it was in the UK, however the RHD conversion made it attractive later on for sale to the Australian and Japanese car market. Interestingly the M1’s interior cabin is narrower on the right-hand side making it a nice fit for the driver to brace for G-force when concerning. The car was registered again in the UK on 10th March 1987 with 12,357 kms and then on 1st March 1989.

The M1 was finally released from its shackles in England and was sent on a long journey by sea, to its colonial settlement in Australia.  The buyer of the car in Sydney, Australia was Mr Les Miller. The car arrived here on 31st July 2000 and it was most fitting that the P&O Nedlloyd vessel bringing the M1 to Australia was named the "Berlin Express". Upon arrival in Australia the car had travelled 15,731kms. I purchased the car on 7th April 2010 after it had travelled 19,644 kms. It has now travelled 26,000kms of beautiful scenic outback roads, I have always had the mindset that a car should always be driven and enjoyed. 

My love affair with the BMW M1 started when I was a young man living in Europe during 1979 /80. I went to as many Formula 1 Grand Prix race meetings as possible to follow Alan Jones (Australian). It was here I discovered the BMW M1 Pro Car races. They looked fantastic, sounded amazing and were driven by the best drivers in the world. I enjoyed watching these races on the Saturday as much as I enjoyed watching the Formula 1 race. I fell in love with the BMW M1 and although I only had very rare sighting of these cars while living in London. I made a promise to myself that one day if possible… I too would own an M1.

I was searching overseas to import an M1 into Australia, as these cars are unseen on Australian roads. When to my absolute amazement, I saw a spectacular example parked in a car showroom. It was here! It was in excellent condition and it ticked all the boxes for me. It also meant I did not have to face Australia’s high car import taxes of 35% luxury tax, plus a 10% GST and a 5% Stamp duty. 

Everything works on the car (including all gauges, clock, windows and A/C), which is a credit to its German engineering. The M1 is a pleasure to drive with a strong motor, excellent brakes, precision steering, absorbing suspension and a surprisingly quite cabin for a mid engine car.

For most of my M1’s 31 years, it has been garaged and locked away from public view. Now I make it my personal aspiration to let people experience this vehicle, and for the younger generations to see what amazing machines the world has to offer.  The M1 has finally been unleashed across the Australian landscape where it is very much at home.

The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne (15th to 18th March 2012) has a Historic Demonstration event (6 laps each day) in showcasing iconic racing and sports cars from the previous 80 years. The M1 has been invited to participate in this on track event. It’s a fitting tribute that the M1 is recognized as a great car of my youth for its automotive advancement some 30 plus years ago.

Maurice Alexander


The Werk Shop is a full service, independent European repair and restoration shop located 45 minutes north of Chicago in Libertyville, IL.
( www.thewerkshop.com ).

we have permission by Michael Marijanovic to use this story on our home page.

How the M1 has been lifted and fitted to the great wall.



Member Login

Our privacy policy apply.