With only 453 built, the BMW M1 remains one of the rarest models from the German marque to this day. However, BMW devised something even rarer in 1979: the BMW M1 Procar.
Of the 40 BMW M1 Procars that were built—the car was only produced in 1979—there is just one example that is street legal and it will arrive at Pebble Beach in just a few short days.
The story behind the M1 Procar is an intriguing one. In 1979, BMW Motorsport devised a one-make racing series for the M1 to meet new regulations implemented by Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA). BMW planned to take the M1 racing in the World Sportscar Championship, but new requirements meant 400 M1s needed to be built. Because 400 cars had not yet been built, the one-make Procar series was the answer.
BMW built an additional 40 M1 Procars fitted for race duty, which still counted toward the 400 car minimum. The street-legal M1 Procar was one of those cars. It is chassis 31 of 40. It was a backup car that was never run in competition.
How did it become street legal? BMW owned the car, but later sold it. Before selling it, however, BMW removed many of the racing parts, thus making it street legal.
This 1979 BMW M1 Procar was completely restored by racer Bruce Canepa at his garage in Scotts Valley, California. The 415-horsepower inline 6-cylinder engine was rebuilt by VAC Motorsports. It is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The paint color is called Basalt Blau, which only appeared on M1s driven by the Quandt family that runs BMW. The body kit and massive wing are decidedly vintage motorsport, and the wheels, oh those center-lock BBS wheels, are to die for. It's like a Hot Wheels car come to life.
The M1 Procar will be displayed by The Thermal Club, a private motorsports club located in the California desert. The company will also offer a virtual tour of its exclusive 344-acre facility for those in attendance at Pebble Beach.
For more from Monterey Car Week and the accompanying Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, see our dedicated hub.