Wednesday, 12 November 2014

3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The 'Batmobile' was the jewel in the crown of BMW's 1960s/early-'70s renaissance. After the financial woes of the late-fifties and the ignominy of a mooted merger with Daimler-Benz in 1959, the Neue Klasse debuted at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show in '61, displaying the 1500 as the brand's new wave of sporting, luxurious cars. And while this morphed into the 2000C/CS coupé and the iconic '02 series, BMW spotted a hole slightly higher up the food chain that Benz were capitalising on: big, sporty luxury saloons. So the Neue Klasse's M10 four-cylinder engines were comprehensively re-engineered into the six-banger M30, and the New Six range was born. It came in the form of the E3 saloon and E9 coupé, and the most celebrated iteration of this was the 3.0 CSL (Coupé Sport Leicht) development of the early 1970s. A homologation special for Group 2 racing, it featured boisterous aero addenda, aluminium body panels, and near-unbeatable performance.

This particular one is a rare right-hand drive model, which was restored in 1991 and has been very well looked after through its life in the UK - you can see more details on its 2010 Bonhams listing here. I spotted it in the car park at this year's Goodwood Revival (more photos here), and can assure you that the photos don't do the eye-searing brightness of the paintwork justice...

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