1973 was a landmark year for BMW, not only did the German manufacturer power Jean-Pierre Jarier to the European Formula 2 Championship, they also captured the European Touring Car Championship using one of the most iconic racing ‘saloons’ of modern times: the 3.0 CSL, known popularly as the ‘Batmobile’.
BMW had returned to six-cylinder power for its range-topping models in 1968 with the launch of the 2500 and 2800 saloons. Also new was the 3.0 CSL’s forerunner, the 2800CS coupé, though the latter’s running gear had more in common with the existing, four-cylinder 2000C/CS. The introduction of the similarly styled 3.0-litre CS in 1971 brought with it numerous improvements, including four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, and with 180bhp on tap the model was good for around 130mph. For racing purposes there was the lightweight 3.0 CSL.
Visually indistinguishable from its more ‘run of the mill’ relations, the CS and CSi, the 3.0 CSL (Coupé Sport Leicht) was creative homologation at its best. The BMW engineers’ solution to the marketing department’s requirements was to develop a limited production run ‘homologation special’ to meet the constrictive framework of the Group 2 racing class regulations. By removing the trim; using thinner steel for the main bodyshell; aluminium alloy for the doors, bonnet and boot lid; and Perspex for the side windows a valuable 300lbs (136kgs) in weight was saved – ‘Leicht’ indeed.
Homologated initially with a fractionally over-bored (3,003cc) engine (enabling it to compete in the over 3-litre class) the 3.0 CSL came with 206bhp for road use and well over 300 horsepower for the track.
The wonderful BMW 3.0 CSL presented here in Verona red with contrasting black interior, has benefitted from a plethora of work and refurbishment between March and May 2016. Some of the work included a full respray, refurbished front and rear suspension, refurbished interior wood trim as well as original Scheel seats and new carpets; all chrome work stripped and refurbished and a new exhaust fitted.
There is a comprehensive history of maintenance including a major engine rebuild of the original unit by renowned independent BMW specialists Munich Legends. The level of care and passion that has gone into this car is evident and the car has been regularly invited to exhibit at Goodwood and other events. Currently showing 73,000 miles on the odometer, this RHD example of a swiftly appreciating model would be an asset to any serious collection. The car is offered with a current MOT and UK V5C.