A super-rare £250,000 BMW has been found mouldering in a shed – that was once the fastest custom car in the world.
The M1 model, built in 1979, was sold and customised two years later by renowned Austrian racing driver Harald Ertl to smash a land speed record.
He was able to reach a record of 187mph with the car by using twin turbochargers, measuring around 410bhp.
The iconic motor was last on the market 25 years ago – which led enthusiasts to assume it had been lost – until it resurfaced in Wanted, east London.
A widow decided that it was time to sell her husband’s car, which had been collecting dust under a sheet in her shed.
She called car specialist Charlie Howarth, who was ‘completely stunned’ to discover the car underneath the dust sheet.
Now, a car auction in Essen, Germany, is set to feature the prototype on April 13 – and it could fetch up to £250,000.
Charlie said: “When I received the call I expected to find something mundane, but what I discovered was something special.
“The car was found behind a driveway in Wansted, we’ve left it in original condition – it adds to its mystique.”
Auctioneers Coys of Kensington said the M1 was designed to compete with the supercar market in the 80s, but with ‘BMW-style reliability’.
This particular model was ‘a one of a kind’, developed with BP, which was looking to promote a new Autogas product.
It still has a six-cylinder, 24 valve engine and fuel injection – and the supercar is capable of achieving top speed if cleaned up.
Two passengers can fit into the motor, which can reach 0-60mph in just seconds.
Valuers and auctioneers at Coys are now seeking an owner for Harald Ertl’s custom design.
A spokesperson said: “This wonderfully sleek and even more aggressively-styled M1 has recently been unearthed from a garage in east London.
“After it was ‘lost’ for nearly a quarter of a century and coming to the market for the first time since 1993; this is possibly the rarest M1 in the model’s history.
“This glorious BMW M1 supercar is a rare mix of stunning performance and practicality.
“Its handling and reliability are excellent. The levels of comfort were of a degree unheard of in a mid-engined supercar up till then.
“Undoubtedly a piece of motoring history and the subject of several articles, this is a hugely interesting prospect for any serious enthusiast or collector.”