This is one of the greatest road cars of all time, it is a 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL, UK Supplied, Right Hand Drive, one of around 500 made. Our car was restored a few years ago by Munich Legends and still presents superbly and drives perfectly. Our car is currently Golf Yellow but started life Ceylon Gold, a very colour with only 18 being made. It is ready to go and will form the centrepiece of any BMW collection.
1973 was a landmark year for BMW, for not only did the German manufacturer power Jean-Pierre Jarier to the European Formula 2 Championship, it 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. In 1973 the engine's stroke was increased, upping capacity to 3,153cc (nominally 3.2 litres) and from mid-season onwards the racing CSLs used the so-called 'Batmobile' aerodynamic package, developed at Stuttgart University, which consisted of a front chin spoiler, large rear wing and various other devices. Illegal for road use in Germany, the wings were left in the boot for final installation after purchase.
Thus equipped, the Batmobiles were able to defeat the previously all-conquering Ford Capri RS2600s, Toine Hezemans capturing the 1973 European Touring Car Championship for BMW at the wheel of a 3.0 CSL and co-driving one to a class win at Le Mans that year with Dieter Quester. Ford bounced back in 1974 but from 1975 onwards the BMW 'Batmobiles' won five consecutive European Touring Car Championships, a quite unprecedented run of success.
This superb CSL has been in the hands of the previous owner for the last 18 years as part of his collection of rare and low mileage classics. He has done little with the car, other than admire it. There is a very comprehensive file of history prior to his ownership, dating back to 1980 when it was sold to a Mr Tyler for £2,600. He clearly appreciated it, spending freely on care and maintenance, including a respray for £2,100 in 1981. There are numerous bills on file from BM Sport and several from Wood & Pickett from this period in the car’s life.
Tyler kept it until 1989 when it was sold to Mr V Cunnell. He used the car regularly, adding around 11,500 miles over the next seven years before deciding to commission a comprehensive restoration, which he entrusted Bramley Garage to administer in 1996. They engaged E9 experts Munich Engineering to strip the car, carry out the necessary body repairs and respray in period correct Golf Yellow, replacing the car’s original scheme of Ceylon Gold. The work carried out was very comprehensive and is fully detailed in bills on file.
Once complete, it was clearly too good to use, so was sold in 1997 to Mr Barrett who was to keep the car until it entered the vendor’s hands in 2000 through Straight-8 Garages by which time it had covered 84,500 miles, a figure which hasn’t changed since then. The car has lived in a Carcoon ever since.
Supplied with an old style V5, 12 old MOTs and a handbook and CLS supplement, this fine and well-historied CSL, in striking Golf Yellow, is as good as it gets…