BMW 3.0 CSL
Built along three distinct series between late 1972 and 1975, BMW’s 3.0 CSL (the "L" suffix signified "leicht" or "lightweight") “Batmobile” was truly a homologated racing car for the road. Just 1,265 examples were factory-produced, of which 765 were left-hand drive cars and 500 were right-hand drive for the UK market. Common features to all cars included lightweight alloy hood and outer door skins, thin-gauge steel panels, a lightweight interior and up-rated engines. While the UK-destined cars were somewhat more civilized and retained their stock bumpers, power windows and soundproofing, the raucous LHD cars neither had front bumpers nor soundproofing and featured lightweight fiberglass rear bumpers. Beginning with Series 3, of which the car offered here is an example, a host of radical aerodynamic devices were fitted to the CSL and inspired the car’s “Batmobile” nickname.
On the track, the 3.0 CSL was more than a match for its nemesis, the Ford Capri, and created a sensation in German Touring Car (DTM) and European Touring Car (ETCC) competition. Toine Hezemans secured the ETCC championship with a 3.0 CSL and co-drove one with Dieter Quester to a class victory at Le Mans in 1973. That same year, the 3.0 CSL scored a 1-2 finish at the German Touring Car Grand Prix at the famous Nürburgring, with Chris Amon and Hans-Joachim Stuck placing ahead of Hezemans and Quester. The 3.0 CSL went on to win the ETCC from 1975 through 1979, and Stateside, the 3.0 CSL contested the IMSA GT Championship, scoring wins with such well known drivers as Sam Posey, Ronnie Peterson and Brian Redman. The 3.0 CSL was also the canvas for BMW’s first “Art Cars,” as painted by noted artists Alexander Calder and Frank Stella.
Only 167 3.0 CSLs were built, with both the Series 3 and Series 3.5 cars equipped with the iconic “Batmobile” aerodynamic equipment and powered by the enlarged 3,153 cc six-cylinder engine.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
206+ bhp, 3,153 cc inline six-cylinder engine, Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 103.4".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Simon Clay