BMW 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile' Coupé 1973
Chassis no. 2275537
•Present family ownership since 1975
•In long-term storage (circa 1980-2018)
•Believed genuine 57,280 kilometres from new
•Restored in 2018
•Registered in the UK
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 original, left-hand drive BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile is offered fresh from extensive recommissioning and restoration. According to BMW, chassis number '2275537' was manufactured on 25th September 1973 and delivered on 2nd November 1973 to the UK importer, BMW London Ltd. The original colour was Polaris metallic, paint code 060.
In 1975, the car was purchased by the lady vendor's father, a Dumfries garage proprietor, having been first registered in the UK in October of that year. Its owner drove the BMW for circa five years, servicing it himself. Since 1980, the car has sat in his workshop, and over the years was dismantled with a view to restoring it. The current odometer reading is circa 57,279 kilometres (approximately 35,600 miles) which in view of the car's lengthy period of inactivity is believed genuine.
Early in 2018, the Batmobile was delivered to Classic Restorations (Scotland) Ltd in Alyth as a bodyshell and crates of parts, to be rebuilt. We are advised that the works included a complete engine overhaul: new cylinder head, pistons, bearings, chains, etc. In addition, the suspension and brakes were completely overhauled with all components cleaned and powder coated prior to re-assembly. Other components renewed include the clutch; clutch and brake master cylinders; metal brake pipes and hoses; radiator; alternator; distributor; exhaust system; and tyres.
The bodywork has had some small patches welded to the inner wheelarches, which have been sealed and coated with 3M Body Schutz (in black). The rear spoiler has been stripped, repaired, and partially repainted (the body had already been repainted in the original silver colour). The interior has been re-upholstered and the carpets and headlining renewed using new original BMW material throughout. Accompanying paperwork consists of sundry restoration invoices and photographs; current MoT certificate; and a UK V5 registration document.
With only some 110 Series 1 Batmobiles produced compared to over 19,000 standard CS/CSi models, these 'specials' will always be rare and today this ultimate BMW coupé is highly sought after.
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