I recently went to Austin, Texas, which is a large city that’s primarily comprised of construction and hipsters, and I discovered a BMW M1 sitting outside at a repair shop. This was a tremendous surprise to me.
Allow me to set the stage. My wife and I had a free 3-day weekend a few weeks ago, and we decided to go to Austin, since it’s relatively warm in November. Unfortunately, we picked the only cold, rainy weekend in the entire month, so we had to look for alternate activities besides our usual, "walk around until our legs are so sore we can’t move."
So we went to this little shop called Uncommon Goods, which has a bunch of weird stuff, and it’s right next to a BMW repair place. As we left the shop, we drove past the BMW repair place, and there it was: a BMW M1, sitting on a lift, outside of the repair place, for the world to see. Given that a nice BMW M1 is now worth something like $500,000, and given that I’ve only previously seen M1s at the Pebble Beach Concours events, I was a bit surprised by this. So I pulled over, and I took a photo, and then I tweeted it out.
Now, for those of you who don’t know the M1, the basic back story is this: the M1 is a mid-engine supercar which was sold from 1978 to 1981. It’s tremendously rare, as BMW made just 453 of them, and you pretty much never see them. Ever. Anywhere. As a result, I found it especially exciting that I was staring at this one.
Of course, you can imagine the reaction to my photo: Many people were shocked to see it, as well as the rare BMW 2002 Touring also shown in the photo, and it was just as much of a surprise for most of my Twitter followers as it was for me. But not everyone, as a few local Austin people recognized the BMW shop right away as Terry Sayther Automotive, a popular independent BMW service shop — and the best in the region, especially for older BMW models, according to comments I received. Alas, the M1’s presence there wasn’t as much of a surprise as I thought.
Still, you don’t often think that a cold, rainy November weekend will reveal a BMW M1 — but there never seems to be a dull moment when you keep your eyes peeled searching for weird cars.