This years Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este will honour the BMW M1's 30th birthday.


Spring is in the air for those that dwell in the northern hemisphere and with spring comes dry, warm sunny weather. Most classic car enthusiasts will already be preparing their beloved machines for the new season ahead. Generally, valuable classic cars are taken out of commission during the cold winter months to preserve the mechanicals and the body work from corrosion and deterioration.

Heightened activity in classic cars means an equal gain in activity for classic car event organisers as the next 6 months is their peak season. One of the first major events is the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este to be held near Lake Como.

More than fifty exotic pieces of machinery will be brought out into the spring sunlight from various marques. Vehicles such as the 1967 Pininfarina Dino 206 Competizione from Ferrari, a 1938 540 K Autobahnkurier from Mercedes (one of only two ever made) and the 1950 Mille Miglia winning Ferrari 166 MM Touring Berlinetta will make an appearance. The calibre of vehicles is extremely high which makes it even more of an honour that this event is to be BMW’s showcase for celebrating the 30th birthday of it’s iconic M1 sportscar.

The M1 was BMW’s answer to the all conquering Porsche 935 which was dominating the Group 5 series back in 1976. Essentially the M1 was a homologation special, the rules of which dictated that BMW would have to build 400 vehicles over a two year period to qualify. During the gestation period, the BMW M1’s design flirted with Lamborghini chassis builders before financial difficulties at the Italian automaker forced BMW to bring much of the work back in house. Guigiaro’s Ital design came up with the M1’s timeless shape. BMW’s M88 3.5L twin cam 24 valve straight 6 churned out an impressive 277hp from its mid engined position which gave the M1 huge cross- continental potential with 160+mph performance available.

The ironic twist in the M1’s tale is that homologation rules deemed that all 400 vehicles be built and sold to the public before it could race in the group 5 category, something BMW never achieved until 1981. By this time the game had moved on and BMW’s M1 was outclassed by more modern machinery.

Nevertheless this vehicle is still an icon for the Bavarian brand and was the first of many “M” vehicles to grace our roads and thirty years on it still cuts a distinctive edge amongst the more modern pack of supercars.

The Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este will held over the weekend of the 25th to 27th of April.

Gallery: 2008 Villa D'Este: BMW M1 30th Anniversary