One-off road-legal 1979 BMW M1 Procar

There were very few BMW M1 Procars built... 40, in fact. As they were race cars, none were road-legal. Oh, except this one!

Restored last year by Californian motorsport museum Canepa, this M1 Procar has been altered to be legally driveable on the street.

1979 BMW M1 Procar frontWhen it was reconditioned, the engine was sent to a company called VAC motorsport, with its new output after being worked on reported at anywhere from 308kW to 350kW.

Before an M1 Procar series revival in 2008, then BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen said the M1 itself was supposed to be a racecar for the road.

“The M1 was unveiled 30 years ago as the first car created independently by the then BMW Motorsport GmbH. It was a racing car which BMW customers could also drive on the road, a unique project which had to overcome some tricky administrative hurdles before getting off the ground.”

To get people excited about the car, there was to be a real race car, but for that to be eligible homologation had to be met.

1979 BMW M1 Procar headlightsTo build the 400 units required for Group 4, BMW devised a single-make series for the M1 Procar.

“The idea of organising a single-make series was born out of necessity - i.e. the requirements of homologation,” Theissen continued.

“Nobody expected the BMW M1 Procar series to go down quite so well. Just a mention of it today still triggers an enthusiastic reaction.”

And the enthusiasm carries on to this day. The road-going version which was recently sold by its custodians at Canepa is due to be displayed at the McCall Motorworks Revival in Monterey in a couple of days’ time.

Tim Rogers, founder of The Thermal Club where the car's being displayed, says the people attending the event are exactly the right audience to appreciate the M1 and the club itself.

“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,” Rogers says.

“Enthusiasts from around the globe head to Monterey Car Week to celebrate automotive history and enjoy the incredible amenities around the Peninsula."

If you happen to be in California with a day to spare, go check it out. You probably won’t get another chance!

Images by Canepa

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