• 1979 BMW M1 Pro-car

    The Polar Coordinates M1. Image: Bonhams

BMW’s mid-engined supercar, the M1, is arguably among the most collectible BMW models ever built. Produced from 1978 until 1991, only 556 examples were built, and it’s unknown how many remain today. Some were built as road cars, while others were built for an M1 spec series that pitted the best drivers in the world against each other in identical cars. While road-going M1 made “only” 276 horsepower, cars campaigned in the Procar series produced upwards of 470 horsepower, which made them a fitting exhibition race preceding Grand Prix events in 1979 and 1980.

The BMW M1 captured the attention of Peter Gregg, an accomplished road racer and six-time IMSA champion. Gregg also owned Brumos Motors in Jacksonville, FL, and placed an order for a BMW M1 in 1978, to be built to FIA Group 4 specifications. The car was completed in 1979, but a tragic event in the fall of 1978 would make this particular M1 even more valuable.

Gregg and artist Frank Stella were at Monza to watch Gregg’s friend and former teammate, Ronnie Peterson, compete in the Italian Grand Prix. Peterson was involved in an opening lap crash that shattered both his legs. Although his injuries were not perceived to be life threatening, the Swedish driver died the next day as a result of the crash. Stella, who had been working on a series of paintings called “Polar Coordinates,” dedicated his artwork to the memory of Ronnie Peterson.

Full story after the jump.

When Gregg took delivery of his M1 in 1979, Stella agreed to paint the car in the same “Polar Coordinates” theme as a tribute to Ronnie Peterson. Although not an “official” BMW Art Car, Gregg’s M1 has the distinction of being the only BMW painted by an Art Car artist (Stella painted a BMW CSL Art Car) that’s not in BMW’s museum in Munich.

Gregg would only enjoy his M1 for a few short months. Following a crash en route to Le Mans in 1980, Gregg was left with permanent double vision. Unable to race again, Gregg committed suicide in December 1980, and his car ultimately wound up in the possession of New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

Gregg’s M1 will cross the block at the upcoming Bonham’s auction in Pebble Beach. Pre-auction estimates show the price at between $450,00 and $600,00, but chances are good it will go much higher than that, especially if BMW gets in on the bidding.

Source: Bonhams

About the author

Related Articles

This Alpina Green BMW M1 Procar Looks Absolutely Fabulous

What do you think?
Show Comments


  (714) posted on 01.27.2012

It’s a nice preserve car . The car has unique body paint that stands out in BMW vehicles. It should be placed on museum to preserve the legacy of Peter Gregg.

  (797) posted on 01.4.2012

Nice! I wonder if the auction is done? And what’s the final bidding? It is a good thing that classic cars are get to auction. Better than having stayed up in a house.

  (394) posted on 10.21.2011

Yes, this one will cost a lot when auction hits it. No doubt about it. Only 556 samples were built before people will also want to grab a piece of this classic car.

  (630) posted on 10.4.2011

I like the concept very trendy and cool. As what I expect they really good on customization and configuration of car. This one shows more of its beauty.

  (459) posted on 09.1.2011

Wow! It’s a race car and it is super lowered car. This kind of style is not crashing car because of the lowered style.

  (526) posted on 08.16.2011

If the purpose of this one is to help a charity, I’m one of those people that would like what they’ve done. I wonder what will be the outcome if they will continue customizing the car.

  (372) posted on 08.16.2011

Yeah, this vehicle is so funny when it comes to styling and paint job. The aerodynamic of this car needs modification. Well, it seems that they haven’t improved the M package of the car as well.

  (231) posted on 08.16.2011

haha. The face of this vintage vehicle is so far from the sporty look of the current M1. However, the speed performance is great. I’m just on the styling of the vehicle!

  (320) posted on 08.15.2011

I think this car is kinda risky to promote. The old seems to be lame. And I doubt its performance if it can really beat or even fight close with its competition. This car is also expensive for the upcoming auction.

Car Finder: