BMW built 40 M1 Procars, only one of which was made street legal.
BMW only built 453 examples of its magnificent M1 sports car between 1978 and 1981, making it one of the Bavarian automaker’s rarest models. Its hardcore racecar sibling, the M1 Procar, is even rarer, however. A mere 40 models were built in 1979, and only one of them can be legally driven on the road. And now the only street-legal M1 Procar in the world is about to make a public appearance at this week’s prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The M1 Procar’s backstory goes like this.
Originally, BMW intended to enter the M1 into the World Sportscar Championship, but new requirements meant that 400 M1s had to be built for homologation. At the time, BMW hadn’t met the regulations. As a solution, the automaker devised a one-make race series, and the M1 Procar was born. 40 race-ready M1 Procars were built to compete in the support series between Formula One races, but chassis number 32 was built as a backup car that never competed. The BMW M1 Procar Championship was ultimately short lived. After the championship wrapped up in 1980, BMW stripped chassis number 32 of its racing parts to make it street legal and sold it on.
It then found its way into the US where it was restored by renowned racer Bruce Canepa, who added a massive rear wing, 17-inch BBS center-lock wheels, and non-standard Brembo brakes. The original six-cylinder engine was rebuilt by VAC Motorsports, which added electronic fuel-injection and tweaked the engine to produce 414-hp and 357 pound-feet of torque through a five-speed ZF gearbox. It’s finished in Basalt Blau with a black leather interior. As well as showing the world’s only street-legal BMW M1 Procar at the McCall’s Motorworks Revival in Monterey during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Thermal Club will also be hosting a virtual reality track experience.
“We look forward to bringing a piece of racing history and a state-of-the-art virtual tour of our club to this exclusive event,” said The Thermal Club Founder Tim Rogers. “Enthusiasts from around the globe head to Monterey Car Week to celebrate automotive history and enjoy the incredible amenities around the Peninsula. These are precisely the people who will appreciate the unique attributes of The Thermal Club.”