Classics for sale: BMW 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'

Rare BMW CSL 'Batmobile' fresh from restoration goes up for auction in October. This homologation special is a living legend.

The automotive world is a rich tapestry of all breeds of motor car. From supercars to superminis its diversity is truly impressive when you take a moment to think about it. But amongst the greatest of these creations are a handful of machines that sit on an even higher plenum. The BMW 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile' holds an almost mythical status, and one is available in an upcoming Bonhams auction.

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The 3.0 CSL was born out of BMW’s need to homologate a new touring car for the European championship. Regulations for Group 2 racing were pretty strict at the time so BMW had to get creative about how it would save weight. Thinner steel was used for the bodywork, soundproofing was removed, perspex replaced much of the glass, unnecessary trim was removed and some aluminium bodywork was introduced. Interestingly, road-going CSLs that came to the UK were a tad heavier then their foreign brothers due to the importer requesting that the soundproofing was retained.

When it came to engines the CSL started out with a 3.0-litre unit (3,003cc) enabling it to compete in the over 3.0-litre class, but capacity was soon upped to 3.2-litres. The other big upgrade came in the form of an aerodynamic bodykit that was developed by Stuttgart University that gave it the 'batmobile' nickname. These aerodynamic appendages were actually illegal on road cars at the time, and so the CSL was sold with these body parts in the boot for the owner to attach at a later date.

Manufactured on 25th September 1973 and registered in November of that year, this prime left-hand drive example has just emerged from extensive restoration and recommissioning. In 1975 it made its way to the UK and was disassembled in 1980 in preparation for some restoration, however, there it sat for some 38 years before the restoration was finally completed in early 2018. A complete engine overhaul, including a new cylinder head and pistons, joins restored brakes and suspension.

It is believed that around 110 Series 1 CSLs were built making this 35,600-mile example a rare thing indeed. This car is going up for auction with Bonhams on 5th October 2018 with an estimate of £210,000 - £270,000 ($275,681 - $354,447).

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