Just about every Alfa Romeo racecar ever built is a valuable and desirable piece of automotive engineering, but few are as eccentric as the 164 ProCar. The sole example is powered by the world’s only Alfa Romeo-built V10 engine and the events that lead to its introduction are deeply rooted in Formula 1 and motorsports.
As highlighted by The Drive in a recent piece, the story of the Alfa Romeo 164 Procar begins with the BMW M1 Procar Championship – a one-make support series for Formula 1 that began in 1979. It served as a proving ground for up and coming drivers and also allowed BMW to test out some of its technology on the M1 Procar racecar as it prepared to have the car approved for Group 4 racing.
After the M1 was successfully homologated for Group 4 competition, the BMW M1 ProCar championship ended. Alfa liked what BMW was onto with the race series, however, and had Brabham Formula One engineers throw together their own ‘ProCar’ prototype. Brabham, which was in parternship with Alfa in F1 at the time, contracted Motor Racing Developments to build an Alfa Romeo-badged V10 engine for the prototype, which they bolted in the middle of the three-piece composite bodied racecar.
The finished product weighed just 1,653 lbs and produced 600 horsepower, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of just over 2 seconds and top speed of 217 mph. Alfa was pretty serious about using this wild creation in a second coming of the ProCar championship, too, until it was unable to get teams onboard to build the cars themselves. Shame – could you imagine an entire field of these things being driven in anger?