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BMW’s Melbourne show-stopper

Agent orange: The BMW M1 Homage show car, which pays tribute to the low-volume M1 produced from 1978, promises to be one of the stars of next month's Melbourne motor show.

BMW to pay Homage to the Melbourne motor show with M1-inspired concept car

5 Jan 2009

ONE of the world’s most eye-catching concept cars of the past year will be one of the star attractions of this year’s Melbourne International Motor Show, which runs from February 27 to March 9.

The BMW M1 Homage show car will be the centrepiece of the company’s stand at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and will sit alongside the all-new BMW 7 Series sedan, which will be making its Australian public debut.

BMW Group Australia managing director Guenther Seemann said that the M1 Homage show car displays the company’s design capabilities and will be a drawcard for visitors to the Melbourne show.

“The BMW M1 Homage is a sensational looking car that highlights both the strong dynamic motorsport heritage of BMW, but also the talent and skill of our current designers, who created a 21st century look at how a new generation BMW M1 could look,” said Mr Seemann.

BMW Australia’s Melbourne display will also include its new twin-turbocharged V8-powered X6 xDrive50i SUV, which will be officially released locally later this month.

14 center imageBuilt to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the BMW M1 supercar, the Homage (left) was developed by BMW’s famed M division and made its world debut at a Concours d’Elegance event at Lake Como in Italy last April.

BMW has not revealed any production plane for the M1 Homage, despite plenty of speculation, saying only that it remains a tribute to the original supercar.

The original M1, a mid-engined vehicle designed for the racetrack, was designed by by famed Italian stylist Giorgio Giugiaro, who took his inspiration from the BMW Turbo concept designed earlier by Paul Bracq.

Around 450 road-going M1s were sold from 1978 to 1981 in order to achieve the homologation needed for it to qualify for racing.

Although Lamborghini was engaged to help with the development and production of M1 prototypes, BMW took over control of the project.

BMW has not revealed what type of powerplant is installed in the mid-engined Homage but says the car has similar dimensions to the original model except that its passenger cell is slightly larger.

The new model adopts many of the M1’s original design themes, including the long wedge nose, low roofline, classic coupe outline and the very wide body, but has regular headlights instead of the original pop-up versions.

Aerodynamic refinements include air-vents below the roofline, in the black recessed cut-line of the vehicle behind the side windows, with small flaps that guide air into the engine compartment.

The concept car’s kidney-shaped grille guides air through to the engine while also forming the front section of the crash box, which BMW says is similar to that of the monocoque chassis in a Formula One car.

BMW design director, Adrian van Hooydonk, said the M1 Homage was a showcase of BMW’s design capability.

“The BMW M1 Homage clearly manifests the creativity and potential of the BMW Design team. A project such as this is a valuable source of inspiration for our day-to-day work,” he said.

BMW says that the iridescent ‘Liquid Orange’ paintwork was exclusively developed for the M1 Homage and cites the classic 1970s M1 colour.

Back in 1979, the BMW M1 was Germany’s fastest series production sports car and the closest thing to a Lamborghini carrying the blue and white propeller badge.

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