BMW’s M1 was one of the biggest surprises in supercar history. In 1978, BMW’s lineup topped out with the 635CSi, which had a new 217hp 3.5-liter engine, and the year before you could only get up to 176hp. Suddenly in October of 1978 at the Paris Auto Show, here was a mid-engine BMW M1 with a racing CSL’s DOHC 277hp engine in an Italian body. It was intended as a homologation model for racing, but the racing part never really happened and ultimately, BMW only produced about 400 for the street.
The M1 failed as a race car but as a supercar, it is one of the all-time greats. Csabe Csere wrote in Car and Driver in 1981,
“The M1 might have been the right car at the wrong time, but every driver deserves a turn at the wheel of what is probably the best fast car ever built… The M1 is the absolute pinnacle of hyper-fast street cars. Its overdoses of power and handling and responsiveness are suitably tempered by comfortable accommodation and a civilized ride. If a gentled-down race car can be made this good, then all the other ultracar builders are going about it from the wrong end.”
The BMW M1 AHG Studie
Just like today, however, tuners couldn’t resist making a good thing better. In 1982, Peter Gartemann at German dealer AHG built 10 Studie editions, intended as street versions of BMW M1s in the Procar series. The full widebody kit includes front 8- and rear 9-inch three-piece 16-inch BBS wheels, a front air dam with functional ducts, ground effects and a wing. The interior has Alcantara upholstery and upgraded stereo, as well. But it’s the drivetrain that makes the M1 AHG Studie amazing. It has a full race clutch and adjustable suspension; competition exhaust; and 350hp. Lastly, each car was custom painted for the customer by Hermann Altmiks.
Advertised on SpeedList by Canepa Design, I think this incredible geometric grayscale finish may be the single best paint scheme I’ve ever seen on a car, period. Even more incredibly, this car was originally supposed to be a Procar, but was never used and transformed into the street-legal M1 AHG. With looks, pedigree and performance, how can it not be Car of the Week?