In the mid-1970s, BMW came up with a radical idea for the followup to its dominant 3.0 CSL touring car—a mid-engine supercar, built with racing in mind. Since the Bavarian company didn't have any experience building supercars, it turned to an automaker that did: Lamborghini. Unfortunately, Lamborghini was in deep financial trouble, declaring bankruptcy in 1978, and putting the M1's production into limbo.
Thankfully, the M1's designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, was there to save the day. At least, thats how he tells the story in this amazing clip .
"The situation [with Lamborghini] was far from being comfortable," Giugiaro said. "But, Italdesign had to take full responsiblity for the project: it was the only way to save it."
As our colleagues at , the M1's steel tube frame and fiberglass body were built by two Italian contractors, Marchesi and Trasformazione Italiana Resina, respectively, and were mated at Italdesign. After adding the interior, Italdesign sent M1s over to German coachbuilder Baur, which installed the rest of the mechanicals.
In this clip, Giugiaro also explains the various elements of the M1's design and shares some original sketches from the 1970s. Giugiaro, along with BMW Motorsport head Jochen Neerpasch and its genius engine designer, the late, great Paul Rosche—played a huge role in the genesis of the M1, so he's one of the best people to talk about it. It's a fascinating clip.
Oh, and here's an image of a dog sitting on a M1 I found while researching this piece. I couldn't not include it.