My Car Quest

October 22, 2021

The BMW Wedge – The Shape of the Times

by Mike Gulett –

Summer is here – I know this may seem hard to believe but it is true. This means car events are here and one of the best is the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, although it is now past.

To help us all get in the mood for other events here are some of my photos from Amelia Island in 2013. The wedge was the Shape of Things to Come in the 1970s and early 1980s.

There were a few BMW wedge shaped cars at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. BMW is not known for mid-engine cars but when they make one they do a good job.

1972 BMW Braque Turbo

1972 BMW Braque Turbo

1972 BMW Braque Turbo

Frenchman Paul Braque became the new Chief-Designer at BMW in the 1970s. This car was presented during the 1972 Olympic Games and is fitted with a BMW Turbo engine that produces 200 hp. Only two of these models were built.

1972 BMW Braque Turbo

1972 BMW Braque Turbo

1972 BMW Braque Turbo interior

1981 BMW M1

Introduced in 1979 the M1 replaced the 3.0 CSL. The M1 was a radical departure for BMW, whose success had always been producing front engine cars (except for the Isetta).

BMW M1

Officially called the Mid-Engined BMW M1 Project E26, work was begun in 1976 with Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign in charge of the styling and Lamborghini handling the construction.

The M1 was intended to be a race car but there were not enough produced to qualify for Group 4 and 5 classes.

BMW M1

This car is No. 402 of 450 built and an award winner!

BMW M1

1979 BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo

1979 BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo

1979 BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo

Constructed on a BMW made birdcage this historic race car is fitted with a M88/2 6-cylinder engine that has twin turbos and produces 850 hp!

This car raced in the World Championships of 1979 and 1980.

I suspect this Gruppe 5 Turbo is much faster than either the M1 or the the BMW Braque Turbo.

1979 BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo

1979 BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo

Let us know what you think of BMW wedge cars in the Comments.

 

 

1979 BMW Gruppe 5 Turbo

BMW Logo

Some of this content was first published in March 2013. Photos by Mike Gulett.
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The BMW Wedge - The Shape of the Times
Article Name
The BMW Wedge - The Shape of the Times
Description
Beautiful BMW mid-engined wedge shaped race cars at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 2013.
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Comments

  1. AL Breon says

    In the early 80s as a driver for the local BMW dealer here in MD. The M1 they had on the floor at the dealer had finally been sold. There was a 5 series that had a mechanical in NJ and needed to be picked up. I rode shotgun in the M1 up to NJ and was dropped off to get the 5 and then the M1 went to it’s new owners. Quite an experience, I must say

  2. Most people don’t know that the M1 was built by Lamborghini. At the time Lamborghini was struggling to stay alive and they knew how to built tube frame mid engined cars, so it was a good partnership.

    • AL Breon says

      I believe that to be true…I’ve heard or read that some lineage can be traced through the Miura, Ford’s GT 40, Marches…and a bunch of 40 inch tall cars

  3. Barton Workman says

    The initial agreement was for Lamborghini to build the M-1s but the company was in financial free-fall
    at the time and they could not meet their obligations to BMW.

    While Lamborghini did indeed build the first few examples, BMW took the project to a chassis builder
    called Bauer which made the remainder of M-1s in Germany.

    M-1s are nice driving machines. BMW was experimenting with sophisticated electronics and so the car
    has a “brain” (ECU) but the located it in the engine compartment. They’re also very touchy in the electronics department so after starting one, it must remain running to get up to operating temperature otherwise the
    plugs foul easily.

    If anything goes wrong with the “brain”, it becomes a very dicey proposition as locating new ones is
    extremely difficult (if next to impossible, even with BMW Heritage flying 747s full of parts world wide) so it is necessary to keep someone who may rebuild the “brain” handy in the address book.

    BHW

  4. Okay. I have to know… what is that dot on the passenger side just below the rear window?

  5. wallace wyss says

    I remember testing one while at a car magazine when they were new. I thought they made a big mistake
    bringing it out with a six when at the time us macho dudes thought real sports cars had 8 or 12 cylinders.
    I have read where Giugiaro reluctantly took over production after the original supplier reneged. That gave him enough of a taste of manufacturing where he didn’t want to do that again,though he did for limited editions of show cars.

  6. Jack Koobs de Hartog says

    Did anybody ever think of this BMW project with Bizzarrini In BMW’s project list called E18 ?

  7. Jack Koobs de Hartog says

    A 12V was also mentioned in that project ….

  8. I must admit to liking the open rear wheel well Turbo variant more but stunning automobile on so many levels…

  9. Rex OSteen says

    My son finished Clemson University two years ago and works for the BMW facility near Greenville.SC. 1/3 of the value of exports from SC come from this large plant. The property is near was once planned to be what is now the Alabama NASCAR Tallegeda race track, but religious conservatives here stopped the track, becuse they feared the sales of achol on Sunday violated the concept of keeping the sabbath holy. The school has changed over the years, as have the students. My son knows nothing of this wedge concept, which was also explored with military jet prototypes after WWII.

  10. Glenn Krasner says

    The Valentine’s Day before this past one, right before the pandemic struck, my girlfriend and I went out to my favorite Italian restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, one I have been going to since 1987, to celebrate the holiday. Unbelievably, after dinner, on the way back to the subway, at 6th Avenue & Van Dam Street, there was a red BMW M1 parked right there on the street. How, why, what the f**k? I had never even seen one at a car show before, and here there was one parked right on a major Manhattan street! Made the night even more special, although my girlfriend could not understand why I spent 10 minutes goggling this car from every angle humanly possible! One of the most beautiful designs ever! Despite being a “wedgie”, the design did not look dated at all. Glenn in Brooklyn, NY.

  11. Glenn Krasner says

    OK. Here is a picture of a modern wedgie I spotted the other night – a 2015 Lotus Evora at 1st Avenue and East 59th Street.

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