Watch The Flame-Spitting Dance of a 1979 BMW M1 ProCar at Spa
9,000 RPM never sounded so good.
The upcoming rebirth of the 8 series will give BMW the two-door grand touring machine it's been missing for almost twenty years, but there's still an M1-shaped hole at the top of the lineup. And even it's content with simply teasing a new concept every few years, at least we can still relive the glory days with the sonorous, flame-filled dance of a 1979 BMW M1 ProCar at play on the smooth tarmac of Spa-Francorchamps.
Made from only 1978 to 1981, the M1 has cast a long shadow over the brand since then. Just 453 of these homologation specials were built after a planned partnership between BMW and Lamborghini collapsed, but the results were sublime. BMW's first mid-engined car used the famous M88/1 powerplant, a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine with twin cams, six separate throttle bodies, and Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection putting out a respectable 273 horsepower.
But in 1979, BMW kicked it up a notch with the introduction of an M1-exclusive racing series that ran for two years, with none other than Niki Lauda taking the inaugural championship. These so-called "ProCar" builds are a masterclass of analog brilliance, capable of 193 mph and 470 horsepower at a lovely 9,000 RPM. And with only 40 made—the series ended after the 1980 season as BMW shifted their efforts to Formula 1—they're even rarer than their street-bound counterparts.
Our own Lawrence Ulrich managed to score some seat time in one of these hen's teeth at Laguna Seca last year, and he's never been the same since. This video might be the next best thing.