Surprises in the Used Car Listings

October 30th, 2012

You just never know.

Think of any car, no matter how rare, that you might want to own. Almost anything you want can be found in used car listings somewhere, whether a classic Mustang or a pre-owned Lamborghini. The truth is, somebody, somewhere, probably wants to sell the car you want to buy. The trick, of course, is finding it.

Every once in a while, a car so rare comes up that it should be crossing the stage at a Barret-Jackson auction, rather than showing up in the classifieds.

Some of the Top Gear blokes recently got a hankering to check the nearest online classifieds for a rare car indeed: A BMW M1. Not a 1M, mind you, but the midengine M1 supercar produced between 1978 and 1981. The one that BMW originally partnered with Lamborghini on, the one that was supposed to go down in history as one of the greatest racers ever.

Thing is, the car failed at racing in spectacular fashion but turned into quite the nice road car. Here’s how Top Gear explained it:

The 3.5-litre six-pot engine had two camshafts, four valves per cylinder, a dry sump, tubular exhaust manifolds, and spacey Bosch Kugelfischer fuel injection. All of which conspired to a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed a shade over 160 mph. Its tubular chassis, mid-engined layout and race-bred suspension set-up earned it fantastically stable and predictable handling proclivities too.

BMW built 399 road-going versions of the M1, and Top Gear happened to find one for sale somewhere in the land of online English classifieds. No price was listed, but I’m sure it would be fit for an auto auction.

This story got me thinking about rare or classic cars that show up when least expected. There’s a rotting 1963 Corvette split window in my hometown and countless stories of barn finds and eBay treasures. I’ve seen plenty of exotics and potential dream cars on the CarGurus used listings, and I wonder:

Have you ever stumbled across a dream car in an unlikely place? 

-tgriffith

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