This M1 is, hands down, the barn find of the year!

Every now and then someone stumbles across an absolutely amazing car that has been stashed away in a barn and completely forgotten about. One of our favorites or recent years was a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante that was found back in 2009. But, more recently, there was a Ferrari 250 GT California SWB that was followed by the find of a 1973 Jaguar E-Type Series III V12 Roadster a couple of months later. Today, we’re happy to report that there has been another great barn find that is being advertised by Mint Classics on their Facebook page: a 1981 BMW M1.

Now, the M1 is special in its own right, being regarded across the world as BMW’s only true supercar and the first mass-produced, mid-engined vehicle from the iconic brand. But, that’s not what really makes this specific example so special. See, this example has just 7,329 km on the clock which computes to just 4,554 miles to those of us here in the U.S. Details about the car itself are rather scant at the moment, and Mint Classics has yet to add it to its official website, but it is known that it was found in a southern Italian garage where it had been sitting since 1982.

Needless to say, and as you can see in the pictures, this baby is in need of a serious detail and some mild maintenance. But, aside from that, and the need to replace any weathered rubber components, this thing appears to be in near-perfect condition. And, as you’ll see in a few of the pictures, it’s already been given a quick bath, and surely the restoration of this classic beauty will be underway shortly.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

You Won't Believe the Mileage on this BMW M1 Drivetrain
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The BMW M1 was such an iconic car for BMW and, being the first mass-produced, mid-engined car from the German automaker, it’s a fine piece of history that anyone would be lucky to own. Hidden away behind the front seats is an M88, 3.5-liter, twin-cam, inline-six that delivers a cool 273 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Sure, that’s not much by today’s standards, considering you can get a Ford Focus RS with 350 ponies and 350 pound-feet on tap, but the M1 wasn’t a slouch. It could hit 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds, 100 mph in 13.3 seconds, and topped out at 164 mph. Shifting duties were handled by a ZF five-speed that sent the power to the rear wheels. Now, it wasn’t exactly the quickest car of the 70s and 80s, but it is regarded as one of the most refined and civilized models of the times. It was easy to drive and had exceptional handling – something that supercar brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini couldn’t compete with way back then.

You Won't Believe the Mileage on this BMW M1 Interior
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If you’re interested in learning more about the M1, you can check out our full review of it here. Otherwise, here are some of the basic specs of this great model:

Configuration M88 in-line six
Location Mid, longitudinally mounted
Displacement 3.453 liter
Bore / Stroke 93.4 mm (3.7 in) / 84.0 mm (3.3 in)
Compression 9.0:1
Valvetrain 4 valves / cylinder, DOHC
Fuel feed Bosch / Kugelfischer Fuel Injection
Aspiration Naturally Aspirated
Power 273 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 243 LB-FT @ 5,000 RPM
BHP/Liter 80 bhp / liter
Power to weight 0.21 bhp / kg
Top Speed 264.7 km/h (164.1 mph)
0-60 mph 6.5 seconds
0-100 mph 13.3 seconds

Source: MintClassics

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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