So, at last, after the best part of a year, I finally have my M1 at home!
After keeping my eye out for a long time for an M1 I found one in July last year that looked like it fitted the bill.
As with many M1’s the car history is not fully known, but it was first supplied by BMW leasing to an address in Munich in 1980 and from there found its way to Switzerland from where it was imported to the UK, but not registered, in 2011.
Mechanically the car is in very good condition, there are some cosmetic rubber components that are not 100%, but replacements for most M1 parts are very difficult to find.
The engine is not the original, the engine number on the block does not match up with the number it should, it’s not even the correct format! However, it appears that the engine is of a higher performance than standard. There was a company that tuned M1 engines, it’s possible that this is one of these. The car was also fitted with a stainless steel silencer.
The car was originally white, at some point had been painted silver and then painted white again. The last repaint was done by a company that specialised in building luxury fibre glass yachts and they have done a very good job of painting the fibre glass body.
The interior was originally black leather and cloth but, possibly when painted silver, had been re-trimmed in red leather with red carpets. I believe that the dash had also been covered red, but this had been reverted to black because of reflections on the windscreen. The interior had been done very well, but I wanted to return it to as close to original as possible. Also, the way the carpet had been done it was difficult to use the accelerator without hitting the brake, unless you had very narrow feet!!
This is what it looked like when I bought it.
Sourcing the materials required to restore it to its original appearance took much, much longer than I anticipated. The seat cloth is unique to the M1 but I managed to find a source in Germany and bought 4 sq m plus a genuine roof panel which is covered in the same material (the roof had been covered red too). The leather used in the M1 has finish that is difficult to replicate, you can get close but not exactly the same using widely available leather. Again I managed to source some of the original leather, a total of 18 sq m was needed, 4 full hides. I also found a genuine new hand brake lever and handle and a new gear knob.
The backs of the seats are covered in a black tweed like cloth, this proved very difficult to find something that looked identical and impossible to find the original material. Eventually I managed to find some material that was a pretty close match.
The carpets turned out to be very frustrating. There are 9 pieces of carpet, two floor pieces, 2 wheel arch pieces, two pieces down each side of the transmission tunnel (4 in all) and a piece at the back. I managed to find 5 genuine pieces of the 9 pieces required, but the material is impossible to replicate. In the end I had to settle for a reasonable colour match high quality carpet, it’s probably much better quality than the original, but I was a little disappointed that I could not use the genuine stuff.
Other miscellaneous parts that were required were a replacement radio (which currently does not work!), a brand new set of original floor mats (which need to be fastened down somehow as they currently slide right under the pedals!), a genuine replacement rear silencer and twin black tail pipes, replacement rear window seal, black flock finish centre cubby hole (the original had been covered red), leather covered ash tray, a genuine rear ///M1 decal (from the USA), new wheel centre caps with the old BMW logo and I even found an original unused M1 English instruction manual.
I also found a genuine new mph speedometer, the original kph speedometer rear just 5055 when replaced, I don’t know if this is the original, it may have been replaced when the engine was replaced. A selection of hoses and gaskets and other odds and ends were obtained from BMW classic, I wasn’t sure if they would be needed or not but though it best to start building a spares bank just in case!
I collected the car from Munich Legends on 1st July after they had given it a thorough inspection. I drove it to a Shell garage and back to fill up with V-Power, just enough to get the car good and hot. We then did a final inspection on the ramps to check for any leaks, remarkably there was nothing at all, dry as a bone, the ML techs said they had never seen an M1 with no leaks!
I left ML to drive the car home just after midday, you might remember that 1st July was a rather hot day, my route took me clockwise round the M25 past Heathrow where the recorded temperature reached 36.7C! I was a little apprehensive to say the least, the temperature on the motorway was probably significantly higher, but the car did not miss a beat over the 275 mile trip. The air con is rather rudimentary, but it did its job, just!
I’ve had the car up on ramps again since I got home, still pretty much bone dry, just a very small amount of sweating from a couple of places.
Things left to do include:
- Repair the radio
- Repair the clock, some of the illuminated elements don’t work.
- Find a way to anchor the floor mats.
- Find a way to secure the spare wheel, there were two designs, the one that matches the main wheels can’t be fastened down using the supplied bolt!
- Find a replacement left front indicator, it has a small crack, part NLA.
- Find a replacement right window guide, it has a small cut, part NLA.
- Find as many spare parts as possible!
Finally, here are a couple of pictures as she is now, I'll add some more detailed pictures later.