Unfortunately for BMW, and fans of racing, BMW’s M1 Procar racing series wasn’t very successful. It lasted a couple of seasons, but then ended and, with it, the BMW M1. The M1’s success hinged on the success of the Procar series, as it was intended to be a limited production car that was designed for racing. Without the racing part, the M1 was too expensive to sell at any sort of reasonable price. Thus, the M1 eventually died. Which is a shame, ultimately, becuase the BMW M1 was an incredible car and the Procar racers were even more so.
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Fortunately, some folks at Canepa, a classic car restoration shop in California, were able to get their hands on a BMW M1 Procar chassis and restore it to stunning condition.
This specific BMW M1 was number 31 of 40 Procar chassis built and it began its life as a spare for the racing series. The car was restored back to as original as possible, but Procar parts are hard to come by, as you’d imagine. So some of the parts were replaced with period-specific parts, but those were used sparingly and tastefully, so the car still has its heritage in tact. The suspension uprights, control arms, tie rods, wheel hubs, body kit and rear wing were all replaced using Procar parts. Original Procar brakes can’t be had anymore, so Canepa used Brembo calipers from a Porsche 962 racer and rotors from a Porsche 935.
The M88 3.5 liter I6 engine was sent out to VAC Motorsports to be rebuilt. During its rebuild, it was also upgraded using a period-specific Motec electronic fuel injection system, which gives it 414 hp and 357 lb-ft. Though, the fuel injection system was hidden, so it retains the stock look. The ZF-sourced five-speed manual transaxle gearbox was rebuilt as well, by Vintage Racing Motors Inc.
After that, the body and chassis were completely stripped down and restored as well as slightly upgraded in certain areas. For instance, the original front fender flares were considered a bit too big, not matching the proportions of the rear. So they were slightly reduced, very carefully, to give the car a better stance. They even gave the chassis rails a “concours finish”. The body was then painted in a gorgeous Basalt Blau. While purists might cry that this paint color was never offered on the M1 road car, there were four BMW M1s that were made special for members of the BMW board and their family that wore this color.
The only modifications really made to the body of the car were the covering and paining of the body fasteners, to give the car a cleaner look, and two dry-break gas fillers, so it can be filled at any gas station.
The interior was also reupholstered with black leather and grey stitching, to match the exterior color of the car. To make it more livable on the road, modern sound and heat insulation was also installed. Overall, the cabin looks period and like the inside of an original M1 road car, despite the minor upgrades.
This is a stunning car and one any collector would love to own. I’m pretty sure I’d give whatever organs aren’t absolutely vital to own and drive this car everyday. Check it out.