Friday, June 1, 2012

Celebrating 40 Years of ///M: Classic Showcase

Munich Automobiles, the World’s first dedicated BMW M dealership is celebrating BMW M Division's 40th Anniversary, and will be showcasing a small but select choice of classic autos to the public over the weekend. Although the Motorsport division were involved in earlier BMWs, the first true Genesis of the M-car was the uniquely exotic M1. Probably the only BMW ever that has two roundel badges on the rear end. Developed in conjunction with Lamborghini and penned by Giugiaro, the M1 was initially built to satisfy racing homologation rules, but these ever changing rules meant that when the M1 was ready to race, it was outlawed. So instead, they went racing by themselves, creating the M1 Procar series. The series ran for two years, with Niki Lauda winning the 1979 season, and Nelson Piquet the 1980 season. After BMW met the standards for Group 4, the Procars were used by various teams in the World Championship as well as other national series. One of the rarest cars ever made, only 456 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW's rarest models. With 1 making it to Singapore sitting proudly inside the M-car showroom after a painstaking restoration process which began a year ago. They love these car so much, we were given gloves when looking at the cars. I would do the same too if these were my babies. I of course couldn't resist sliding behind the driver's seat. What joy it was just sitting inside. You just know it's a special car when you are seated inside. Getting to hear one startup though, is pure icing on the cake. Needing no introduction at all, the legendary E30 M3. THE M3. One of the most successful racing cars of all time, the E30 M3's unmistakably boxy silhouette still looks stunning even today. Compact, lightweight and fast. In the hands of skilled drivers, this car ran circles around bigger and more powerful machinery on and off the tracks. In full bore race trim, the 2.5-litre 4-cylinder S14 engine was pushing out over 250 horses without the need for forced induction. Getting behind the wheel just feels like home again. Everything just feels right and natural. Fantastic. Countless race wins and multiple accolades and awards from various magazines, this Sport Evolution version of the original M3 signalled the last few chapters of production for the race-car-for-the-road E30 M3. It was the most powerful of all the E30 M3s, with 235 horses on tap from it's zingy high-revving engine. Production of the original E30 M3 ended in early 1992 and even though the youngest ones are already over 20 years old, the E30 M3 remains a favourite amongst many car enthusiast, both young and old alike. What's this sitting next to the Sport EVO? No prizes for guessing. With it's distinctive front bumper, this could only be the E46 M3 CSL. Or "Coupé Sport Leichtbau" if you prefer. Lighter, more powerful, a tweaked suspension setup and numerous lightweight panels used all round, this was another M-special limited edition car with only 1400 units produced and only 3 remaining in Singapore. None will be up for sale anytime soon i reckon. Sitting right at the end, was a non-M car, but to it's credit, there were no M-cars back in the day when the 2002tii was running about. The closest we got to an M-car back then was probably the iconic 2002 Turbo. This car though is a very important part of BMW's history, it brought the company out of near bankruptcy in the 1960s and being the 3-Series' great-great-grand-daddy, it also gave birth to the segment we now know as the sport compact sedan. The tii variant was the most powerful of the NA 2002 cars and this prime example belongs to a local owner who has graciously allowed the car to be part of a beautiful lineup of some very lovely BMWs. The classic showcase will be available for public viewing only over this weekend (2nd-3rd June 2012), so do drop by Munich Automobiles for a visit. You won't regret it. Munich Automobiles is also holding a photography contest together with this small showcase. For more details visit Munich Automobile's facebook page.


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