BMW M1 Procar

Rose Tinted Glasses And The BMW M1

 

Their was a time when the M1 wasn’t very well liked and viewed as a bit of a disaster best forgotten about. Only 453 production M1s were actually built and hence its rarity and current value.

The Giugiaro designed M1 was supposed to be assembled by Lamborghini, but Lamborghini had found themselves in financial trouble so BMW had to move production.

The M1 was meant to go into International Group 5 racing, but by the time production had resumed BMW had not made the required amount of sales for homologation. Instead it was raced in the BMW M1 Procar Championship. In reality the Procar series was plagued by engine issues and mixed reviews. People lost interest and eventually the series went under and dissapeared.

So let’s have a glimpse without the rose tinted glasses on. Back in 1981 Popular Mechanics compared it to the Porsche and Mercedes of the time quite unfavourably. Here is Stirling Moss taking part in a review for Popular Mechanics in 1981:

As you can read above, overall value for money and the price of keeping a barely street version of a race car serviced priced it out of the market. Also having Stirling Moss say:

“I don’t feel as comfortable in this car as I do the others . It has substantial oversteer in fast corners and is rather vicious near the limit. You’d best no what your doing and have your mind on your work””

… Is less than ideal.

That’s not to say it was actually a terrible car, just that we should all calm down a bit and not throw the car completely out of context. Despite it’s problems with the engine and it’s dynamics it still gave one of other Popular Mechanics reviewers did some good feeling:

“the sensation of having that twin-cam six just behind your head is hard to describe – it’s like extra bass, but without the 12-inch woofers.”

But let’s keep in mind it wasn’t built to be a road car, but as a road car only to meet the criteria necessary to race it.

I mentioned in the Both Hand Drive Podcast a while back that I have never driven one, but I’ve loved it since I was a kid based on looks alone.

BMW M1
A recent build by Canepa – a high end classic car restoration shop in California.

Given how few there are, the chances are slim that I’ll ever get drive one and that’s fine by me because it’s actually a hero I’m not so sure I wish to meet.

I think I’ll just keep my rose tinted glasses on and assume that Stirling Moss chap didn’t know what he was talking about.

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