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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Bridging the Gap TWIN-TURBO #1972 #BMW-3.0CS-E9

    A classic #E9 3.0 CS that has been fully restored and has twin-turbo power under the bonnet! We look at a stunning E9 CS from California that manages to combine old-school cool with the more modern trend for turbocharging. The best of both worlds? Words: Ben Barry. Photography: David Bush.

    The #BMW-3.0CSL-E9 was the first M Division model in all but name, setting M’s front-engined, naturally aspirated, rearwheel drive template that would endure for almost four decades. Only recently did M Division begin to diverge from that script, equipping its high-performance coupés and saloons with twinturbocharged engines in an attempt to maintain performance figures while also meeting more stringent mpg and CO² targets.

    The car on these pages bridges that gap: it’s a beautifully restored Californian #BMW-E9 that packs a sixcylinder forced-induction punch, and today I’m going to be lucky enough to drive it. But this isn’t a CSL, and that certainly isn’t a 1 Series M motor lurking beneath the bonnet – it’s a 3.0 CS fitted with an only slightly more modern 530i engine (E12), but one to which twin turbos were added long before M even considered dropping its famed naturally aspirated engines.

    The story starts back in 1994 when a technician at BMW specialist Moran Motorsport in Berkeley, California took a well-worn 3.0 CS into the company workshops and prepped it for a respray. Typically, rustprone E9s fare far better in California’s hotter climate than they do over here in northern Europe, but the bodywork still needed plenty of attention and the Moran technician decided he wasn’t going to go for half measures: his tired project was completely stripped bare, with all the suspension, interior, glass, doors, wiring and powertrain removed before the bodywork was bare-metalled in preparation for its fresh coat of gleaming white paint.

    It was a labour of love for the technician, and he spent the next decade working his way over the E9 during his spare time until he was finally happy. The original 3.0 CSs came with a 3.0-litre, carburettor-fed straight-six but this car’s original engine was ditched during the project’s reassembly phase in favour of a 3.0-litre, fuel-injected M30 lump from a 1977 530i, which was uprated and fitted with the twin turbochargers. It’s a compact and neat installation that could easily be mistaken for a factory job and it’s tough to see the turbos when you open the bonnet, even if you do trace the two pipes that arc over the rocker cover and down into the engine bay’s depths. In fact, it’s only by getting on your knees and looking under the car that you can actually see the small turbos that are stamped with IHI logos. They feed directly from a Pfaff manifold straight back to the inlet manifold without passing through an intercooler on the way.

    At the same time as the new engine was fitted, in went a more modern five-speed ZF manual gearbox to replace the original four-speed unit, plus a heavyduty clutch, limited-slip differential and beefed-up suspension, which included chunkier anti-roll bars. It took another decade for the interior to get any attention but in 2004 the leather seats, carpets, wood, dashboard, headlining and door panels were all either replaced or restored to their former glory, and today the interior still looks fantastic. Most recently, in 2008, the turbos were rebuilt and a new stainless steel exhaust fitted, as well as a highflow K&N air filter, upgraded fuel pressure regulator and blow-off valve.

    Now this very unique #BMW-3.0CS is up for sale, sparkling in the showroom at Fantasy Junction, a high-end classic and sports car dealer located across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco. There are a pair of E36 M3 daily drivers parked around the back of the premises – company owner Bruce Trenery arrives in a tidy Dakar yellow example – but Fantasy Junction typically deals in Porsches, Ferraris, classic race cars and other exotics that can change hands for hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars. So it says something that this is one of the few BMWs on its books; it’s big money at $49,000 – around £30k at today’s exchange rates – but then it is a pretty special car.

    We follow Fantasy Junction staffer Chris Kelley over to Golden Gate Fields for our shoot, and the streetsleeper CS looks particularly cool in the Californian sunshine, cruising down the freeway with those crisp lines glinting in the sun. Only its more modern 17- inch alloys indicate that all is not what it seems – until Kelley accelerates.

    There are no power claims made for the CS but even from where I’m sitting it’s clearly a very quick car; I’m in a US-market Hyundai Equus rental car, which boasts a 5.0-litre V8 pushing out 429bhp and 376lb ft but weighs 2065kg – this is not one of the Euro-spec econoboxes that proved so popular during the scrappage scheme! – and when Kelley accelerates hard up a straight freeway on-ramp in the CS, the hard-charging Hyundai only just matches it.

    When we arrive at our location, Kelley hands me the keys. My turn. Click open the door handle, swing out the elegant driver’s door and you sit down onto those immaculate sports seats, with their squishy, flat bases and the impressive amounts of lateral support around your rib cage. Those elegantly thin pillars create an airy lightness and excellent visibility in the cabin – it feels almost like you’re wearing a goldfish bowl on your head, so high is the ratio of glass to metal and the ease with which you can place the car on the road. You notice the three-spoke steering wheel that’s canted away from you, the factory-fit aircon that still blows cold, and the wood dash with its four dials, a 150mph speedo and a rev counter with a 6400rpm redline dominating.

    The only changes to the standard spec appear to be a short-shift kit and an aftermarket head unit together with some speaker pods that are tucked away in the footwells, but look closely and you’ll also see that there’s a pair of electric window switches and manual winders in both doorcards. The last owner apparently got so tired of fixing the notoriously tricky electric windows that he gave up, reasoning that it was easier to occasionally turn a handle than regularly dismantle the doorcards.

    I turn the key in the ignition barrel and the straightsix settles to an even idle with a warm, fluffy burble emanating from the exhaust. I move off slowly, all too aware of what a covetable car this is. At low speeds the clutch is perfectly friendly, the steering feels meaty and slop free and the gear changes are noticeably direct but also physical and stiff-jointed. The engine, though, is perfectly well mannered, pulling from low revs without the slightest grumble or suggestion that it’s been tuned for more higher-speed business than this.

    But start going faster and the twin-turbo setup really comes into its own, and when you accelerate hard in first gear the 17-inch rear Eagle F1s spin up in the dry and you feel the limited-slip diff lock up quickly, firing you down the road at a pace that’s hard to reconcile with those retro looks – especially for the poor souls you’ve just left for dead at the traffic lights.

    Pull for second gear and those rear tyres hook up and feel perfectly capable of putting whatever you throw at them down to the surface, even when you give it plenty of throttle through the corners.

    By now you’re really motoring, the nose rising up under heavy acceleration, the rear squatting down, and an element of slop introducing itself in to the now lighter steering around top-dead centre. It’s an easy car to drive, and the suspension remains perfectly compliant and daily-driver friendly, despite the uprated shocks and springs. But the thing that stands out most of all about driving this CS is the engine. It’s far from outrageously quick, but it’s sufficiently pokey to feel plenty fast enough by modern standards, and it’s certainly far faster than the immaculate 3.0 CSL that I borrowed from BMW UK’s heritage fleet a little while back. This turbocharged 3.0-litre is also very refined, with none of the uncouthness that you might expect from an aftermarket conversion: it pulls from next to no revs, gets a stride on at 2000rpm and really kicks after 4000rpm, but it’s all so beautifully integrated and free from angry steps in the rev range that you can’t imagine #BMW doing it any better. The only thing I would prefer are uprated brakes – the CS’s pedal feel is too spongy for my liking, so a more modern system or even an uprated AP Racing setup would no doubt transform the car and imbue its driver with much more confidence.

    After half-an-hour of driving, I reluctantly hand back the keys. Not everyone will like the idea of a mint CS that’s been so comprehensively played around with, but I do. Unlike so many classics, I can genuinely imagine driving this unique car each and every day, its balance of knockout looks and modern thrust proving a compelling combination. Tough to find in this condition in the UK, too.

    And then comes the realisation that Fantasy Junction is just down the road from an international port, and that this one-off opportunity could be sailing its way to you in just a few weeks. Quite the tempting proposition, I’d say.

    Fantasy Junction
    Tel: +1 510 653 7555

    Those rear tyres hook up and feel perfectly capable of putting whatever you throw at them down to the surface.

    Interior took ten years to restore and it’s beautifully finished. A modern stereo and window winders are the only additions.

    Engine bay looks relatively standard aside from the extra pipework as the turbos are located low down. They certainly do the job though.

    This turbocharged 3.0-litre #M30 is very refined, with none of the uncouthness you might expect from an aftermarket conversion.

    VIN Code 2250293
    Exterior Color – White elephant
    Interior Color Black Leather
    Mileage 2497 Miles
    Engine #M30B30 3.0 Litre Twin-Turbo 6-Cylinder
    Transmission 5-Speed #ZF
    Stock FJ1417
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Eight grand. A lot of money, right ? Just think what you could spend it on, assuming you had it going spare. What’s that? It’s still possible to pick up a house, flat or cottage for that kind of money? Not where I live, baby. Besides, if that’s the way you think we’re not speaking the same language. I said ‘spare’.

    How about a whole fleet of 2CVs? Silly person, you can’t drive more than one at once. A modest little yacht, maybe? Schmuck. You really want everyone to know you’ve got maritime tendencies? A fragile Italian car with the vroomiest engine and the most tasteless interior in the whole world? Count me out, moonbeam.

    You know what I’d buy if I had eight grand to play with? I’d buy me one of the sharpest cars in the world. It would be immaculately designed, tastefully finished, beautifully engineered. It would be ridiculously comfortable, it would be fast, smooth and would handle impeccably. Above all, it would be civilised. It would probably be a #BMW-3.0CSi-E9 .

    You heard. A three-litre petrol-injected coupe, fresh off the Bayerische Motoren Werke shelves. It’d be long and blue, preferably a nice metallic turquoise. I’ve got it all figured out. Just the right proportions of glass to steel and enough ‘options’ in the straight package to leave me happy, just playing with the electric windows all day long. Forget the lightweight CSL, with or without the ‘Special’ (stripes and wings) pack. What do you think I am, flash?

    Mind you, I’m luckier than most. Most people can only daydream. Just occasionally, though, some of us get the chance to put it into reality. And I’ve just had a #BMW-3.0CSi for ten days. Yeah, surprise.

    Stroll nonchalantly out to the carpark, a new set of keys clasped in the cleanest hands this side of ‘The Lancet.’ Paranoia begins with a 3.0CSi. Why, people are actually staring at me. Is it that obvious?

    Open the door. Big door, lip till now I’d been asking myself if it really looks like eight grand. Open up that driver’s door and it even smells like eight grand. Sit in, but gingerly. Adjust the seat, bouncing a little in the process. Feels a little hard after countless cheaper makes, but it inspires the feeling that I could drive a million miles (for one of your smiles?) and climb out feeling as relaxed as when I started.

    And relaxed is the only way to describe it. It starts easily, the automatic choke sensing itself into operation. The clutch is light enough to require effortless operation, heavy enough to let you know it’s there. Into gear — slightly notchy, but nothing to worry about — and the clutch comes in as smoothly as an encyclopaedia salesman’s patter. A squeeze on the accelerator, the merest touch on the power-assisted steering and I’m moving. Can it really be that easy? You mean some people actually drive like this all the time?

    Ridiculous. It feels as if I’ve been driving it all my life. Snick, snick, difficult to stay cool about a car that feels this good. I must remove the smug look, I’ll be spotted as a masquerading upstart easy as pie. Snick, snick, I don’t even need to overtake people properly. They are actually moving out of the way. Ridiculouser and ridiculouser. There’s got to be a good reason for flooring the throttle — hell, who needs one. And guess what ? It's got to be one of the smoothest engines I’ve ever whizzed round the rev band. Easy, solid power, all the way round. Next time out I’m going to need a neck brace.

    Journey’s end before I’ve even realised I’ve started. This is getting serious. I thought motoring was supposed to be fun. This is a whole new ball game. No sweat, just complete relaxation. I figure I’m as comfortable as I’m ever likely to be, in a car as close to perfect as I’d ever want it to be.

    The interior’s just fine. Cloth upholstered seats, nice drop of quality carpet. Not a great deal of legroom in the back, but sit an ordinary mortal in the hot seat and by the law of averages he’d have to move it forward a good six inches.
    You’ll never find a fascia like this on, say, a Japanese car. It’s not overdone, there’s nothing flashy about it, it's just all there and in the right place. Steering column's adjustable for length, and the trimming can’t be faulted — even all that wood's real. The four big instruments — speedometer, rev counter, clock and I multipurpose gauge — tell me all I want to know. Quickly, easily, and without distracting me. I have all the controls I need at my fingertips, and incidental switches are never far away.

    The electric window rocker switches, for instance, are set on either side of the gearstick. Two each side, one each for back and front windows. Slow the windows may be, but strong enough to crack a walnut; should you feel the need.

    They seem to sum the whole thing up, really. They didn't have to be that good — a perhaps cheaper installation would have been perfectly adequate. But BMW have left nothing to chance, and everything is just that bit beefier than it need be, just to make sure.

    (One good reason for the strength is that in a true pillarles coupe such as this, sealing and wind noise could be something of a problem. They aren’t. But I do wish there wasn’t a duplicate pair of switches for the rear seat passengers to play with. Sod it, they’ve got seatbelts already.)

    I’m simply not interested in finding fault. I could criticize the speaker grille for flimsiness, but then you don’t normally let Dron loose in a car, hellbent on seeing which bits come off. Besides, the VHF radio more than compensates. Slightly less forgivable, though, are the steering wheel vibration and location of ashtrays. The ashtrays, set in the doors, are almost impossible to manage without double joints, certainly without taking your eyes of the road. And invariably the ash is blown off long before it drops in. Ah well, suppose I could always give up smoking.

    And back on the road. The complete smoothness. In every respect, of the thing is quite staggering. Driven the apparent gaps between the gears — at certain speeds! I’m aware of a feeling that I’m too fast for the gear I’m in, yet too slow for the next one up. It disappears quickly, the flexibility and torque of the injected straight straight six taking care of any doubts on my part. An automatic box is the real answer, although the change in carburation means losing a few brake horsepower.

    And at speed the thing’s equally disquieting. The amazing power-assisted steering is second to none I’ve encountered, with a light but positive feel right the way from a traffic crawl to the 130-odd top speed, wet or dry. I’ll repeat that: wet or dry.

    The #M30 2985cc 222bhp SAE (200bhp DIN) engine ( #M30B30 ) pulls smoothly right up to 6400rpm, and a top speed of 136mph. Accelerating up to the limit, speeds through the gears are truly astonishing. First gear will see 38mph, second’s good for 65 (0-60mph in 7 ½ secs), and third runs out at 102mph. So much for the once-magic ton. All this, and the fuel consumption between 20 and 25mpg. Or even better, driven carefully.

    And you know the real turn on? That tremendous feeling of absolute confidence. Of knowing that those great big discs all round will haul it to a stop with no apparent effort. With the redesigned suspension (‘for ride comfort’) and stronger torsion bars front and rear, the handling’s as neutral as you’ll find anywhere, the minimal understeer turned into power oversteer at a touch of the throttle.

    It’s all too easy to break the law in a car like this. Safety at speed is one thing, but when there’s virtually no sensation of speed it really does make a nonsense of a 30mph limit.

    I could carry on eulogising for hours, but I keep coming back to that price tag. Assuming that a #BMW 2002 is worth close on three grand (and it is, every penny), is there really five thousand’s difference ? Mixed feelings here on the staff. Some say yes, others an emphatic no. All depends on your social standing, aspiration and means. And since none of us figures anywhere in those terms of reference, we’d all have difficulty justifying a £7,870 cheque for the sheer pleasure the car gives.

    The specifications are interesting, but largely academic here. Anyone buying the car doesn’t need to know the grubby bits, and anyone merely daydreaming has got the pix to drool over. If you really want to know, check them out with your local dealer. We’ve a few more photographs we’d like to use, on the assumption that they tell a whole lot more about the car than a few thousand more hysterical words.

    One thing’s for sure, though. I now have a whole new set of standards to measure other, less outstanding cars against. Things will never be the same again.
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    1973 BMW 3.0 CSL £83,695

    One of the 500 CSLs built for the UK market, this older restoration is holding up very well, says Russ Smith.

    Fjord blue has to be the best colour for a CSL – it suits the lines so well and people can’t seem to stop staring at it. So it wants to be good and despite having been resprayed over 20 years ago, this car doesn’t disappoint. The prep was done well as no flaws show up in the straight panels – good to see as the aluminium-skinned panels are easily dinged. All we could fault the body on was the rear edge of the bonnet sitting slightly proud. Evidence in the partial history file shows regular rustproofing has been done since restoration.

    There is some light spotting in the chrome on the quarterlight surrounds, and it’s flaking a bit on the rear light bezels, but the rest of the brightwork is superb. The only other external flaw is the nearside front indicator lens, which has been glued back together after a breakage. All four Alpina alloys have been refurbished – there’s a bill for it in the history file – and wear matching near-new Yokohama 195/70 R14s.

    Inside, the initial impression is good – you have to look closely to find fault, and even then be a bit picky. Like the material being a bit loose and baggy on the lower half of the driver’s seat backrest; a simple job for a trimmer to rectify. There are a few marks on the thin chrome strips on the door cards, and some black paint chipped away around the heater controls. The gearknob is obviously original, but still at the stage where you’d call it patinated rather than worn, and while there’s no stereo fitted there are Blaupunkt speakers in the doors.

    Carpets have survived well and are being preserved by three sets of overmats in the front. The steering wheel is a new Momo prototipo, but as this replicates those used in racing CSLs we’re not going to quibble. On the road it feels well sorted, with a turbine-smooth engine, slick gearshift and dead-straight stopping from the recently overhauled brakes. There are no clonks from the surprising but correctly compliant suspension. Three of the electric windows operate – at a reasonable speed – but the offside rear one currently doesn’t work.

    Water temp sat at just above the quarter mark. That’s doubtless helped by what looks like a fairly new radiator, and both oil and water were clear and up to level.We could see no leaks from the engine, but the engine bay, though generally well presented, could easily be improved by replacing a few corroded clips and brackets. The corrosionprone strut top areas are straight and bubble-free and look to have been painted at the same time as the rest of the car. All in all, this is a lovely example of a CSL that drives just as it should. None of the minor flaws we’ve noted would put us off the car as they are easily sorted for minimal outlay – but could be used to chip a thousand or so off the asking price.

    Only minor imperfections to the interior; wheel isn’t original but replicates race car.

    It wouldn’t take more than few evenings’ work to make the engine bay concours-spec.


    In #1968 the 2800 CS is launched as a long-nosed version of the 2000 CS coupé with a 170bhp 2.8-litre straight-six.

    That lasts until 1971, when it’s replaced by the 3.0 CS. The bodyshell remains the same but the engine is stretched to 2985cc for an extra 10bhp and 15lb ft more torque. Handling is improved and rear brakes are upgraded to discs.

    In 1972 the CS is joined by the fuel-injected 3.0 CSi. This adds another 20bhp and 5mph to the top speed. A few luxuries are added inside.

    Also in 1972, the homologation-special 3.0 CSL joins the gang. The engine capacity is stretched slightly to 3003cc to put the car in an over-3000cc racing class. Output is declared as the same 200bhp as the CSi, but it has always been suspected that this was on the conservative side. Weight is saved by aluminium door skins, bonnet and boot, plus lightweight bucket seats. In UK trim with steel bumpers it comes in about 140lb (64kg) lighter than a CSi. Chrome arch lips cover inch-wider alloys.

    CAR #1973 #BMW-3.0CSL / #BMW-3.0CSL-E9 / #BMW-E9 / #BMW
    Price £83,695
    Contact KGF Classic Cars, Peterborough (, 01733 425140)
    Engine 3003cc, inline-six, SOHC / #M30 / #BMW-M30
    Power 200bhp @ 5500rpm
    Torque 200lb ft @ 4300rpm
    Top speed: 133mph;
    0-60mph: 7.3sec
    Fuel consumption: 18mpg
    Length: 4658mm
    Width: 1676mm
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    / #2016 / #BMW-2000C vs #BMW-E9 / #BMW-2800CS / #BMW-M10 / #BMW-M30 / #M30 / #M10 / #BMW-2800CS-E9

    Ugly Duckling BMW's 2000C Odd Ball developed into the Jaw-Dropping CS. BMW’s E9 model, badged as the CS, is one of the firm’s most recognisable and cherished vehicles. Sporting either 2800CS or 3.0CS, it won the hearts with a near perfect balance of practicality, classy aesthetics and sporting performance. Adding to the enigma was the brutal-looking and race track-killing CSL variant that, thanks to its plethora of large aerodynamic aids, earned the ‘Batmobile’ nickname. Stuart Grant discovers the odd-looking, less powerful 2000C is the unlikely forerunner to these easily identifiable icons.

    Let’s clear this up right away. The 2000C is an odd-looking car. Not really ugly, just odd. But it does grow on you and once you’ve driven one you will more than likely want to add it to your collection of Beemer coupes. Launched in 1965 the single carburettor 2000C (Coupe) and twin carb 2000CS (Coupe Sport) made use of mechanicals from the New Class BMWs, meaning that the majority of underpinnings and M10 engine were like those found in the later 2002 model. In C format the 1990cc motor pumped out 100bhp at 3300rpm DIN, while with extra fuelling on the CS was claimed at 120bhp. Power went to the rear wheels via 4-speed manual as standard, but the C could be ordered with a 3-speed auto box and top speed came in at just under 180km/h. Around 10,000 CS versions and 3692 Cs left the Cs left the factory between 1965 and 1969. The fact that only 443 of these Cs were in manual guise gives a slight inkling that this was a car for styling and cruising rather than out and out sport driving. That said, the zero to 100km/h (0-62MPH) was more than acceptable for the time at 10.4 seconds, and BMW did see to it that the stopping ability was up to scratch with boosted front disc brakes and drums at the rear.

    Road manners, thanks to fully independent suspension, were akin to the BMW sporting saloons of the period and that world famous steering feel and feedback was already in evidence.

    Debate rages as to who penned the shape, with some mentioning Michelotti and others claiming it as an in-house effort by Wilhelm Hofmeister inspired by Bert one’s earlier 3200CS. What is certain is that German coach builder Karmann manufactured the cars, perhaps why there are some styling similarities to the Karmann Ghia Type 34. What jolts those with a keen BMW eye is the lack of side grilles in the front panel, with just a relatively large double kidney grille finding a home. The rest of the front facia is solid steel with a row of ventilation slots lurking behind the chrome bumper providing the cooling system and engine with fresh air. In what is now common practice, the headlights were located behind a curved glass covering but American legislation saw to it that cars from across the pond kept traditional individual units.

    Moving rearward, the Ugly Duckling gradually evolves towards a swan with the profile from the windscreen back pure 2800 and 3.0CS beauty. Not surprising when you find out that BMW simply extended the front end and restyled the front valance with the arrival of its longer, more powerful and silky smooth straight 6-cylinder in #1968 .

    Opening the pillar-less doors and climbing inside the cabin continues this theme of confusion with a mix of classic #BMW and something a little strange. Like the 2002 the large glass area makes for a light and airy interior - the seats, door panels and handles are exactly as you’d find in other BMW models of the era, but the steering wheel complete with chrome hooter ring and the abundance of wood on the dash look more like Scandinavian furniture than typical form follows function BMW.

    In some ways the 2000C and 2000CS were BMW’s attempt at becoming the average Joe Motorist’s fashion accessory, giving those that wanted a stylish coupe, without the added expense of blistering performance, a chance of owning one - they weren’t cheap but were within reach of those looking at BMW saloons.

    In 1969 production came to an end, not because of the looks but rather because the German giant had just introduced the 2800CS 6-cylinder BMW E9 version, which looked and went a lot better.

    Shoehorning the longer engine into the old 2000C was not an option so the wheelbase and overall length was extended to make for a larger engine bay. While fiddling with the front end, designers adopted the appearance of the firm’s 6-cylnder E3 saloons so the CS got the traditional double-kidney flanked by a set of horizontal slatted grilles and circular lights.

    Removing the slab front improved the aerodynamics, which, combined with the 2788cc 6-pot delivering 168bhp, drastically improved BMW’s coupe performance in the 100km/h sprint to 8.3 seconds and top speed jumped to 200 kays an hour. A 4-speed transferred the oomph to the exact same back end as the Ugly Duckling initially but this was upgraded to suit over time, including the addition of rear brake discs. Road tests raved about how, when driven sedately, the twin Sol ex carburettor 2800CS was unbelievably smooth and quiet but when provoked would wake up and become a driver’s car, eating up the roads with both grunt and handling ability. Ride remained comfortable, some would say even soft, and the addition of power-steering didn’t detract from the class-leading feedback seen in the 2000CS and making it a lot easier to park, even with the stockier rubber fitted to the new alloy wheels.

    BMW also kicked the oddball interior into touch with the 2800CS, reverting to an uncluttered and very unflashy appearance with wood trim now only a highlight and not overwhelming. It wasn’t a cheap car though but fit and finish came from the top drawer; mod-cons like electric windows upped the game and detailing was exemplary - for example the well stocked toolkit that hinged out from a compartment in the boot lid, set the trend for Beemers for years to come.

    By 1971 model year BMW had enlarged the 2800 to 2986cc and rebadged it 3.0CS or 3.0CSi, the CS featuring twin Zenith carbs and the CSi Bosh D-Jet fuel injection. The C.S was good for an 8.2 second 0-100km/h while the CSi galloped in 7.5 with 180bhp and 200 respectively. CS top speed was recorded at 211 and the CSi at 224km/h. When the fuel crisis hit in 1973 BMW' reacted by swapping out the engines for a 2494cc 150bhp unit but only 874 were made before the E9 production came to a close in 1975.

    During the 3-litre period BMW also developed a lightweight homologation special in order to go racing in the form of the 3.0CSL - L standing for Lightweight. The use of aluminium panels drastically dropped the weight 200kg and additions of a rear wing, front air dam and various other aero gadgetry to the later 3.2-litre version helped keep the CSL grounded while also earning its Batmobile nickname. Initially the 3.0CSL had a capacity of 3.003cc to bump it up into the over 3-litre racing class and then 3153cc. Toine Hezemans scooped the 1973 European Touring Car Championship in a CSL and teamed up with Dieter Quester to notch up a class win at Le Mans the same year. CSLs went on to win the same championship from 1975 to 1979, excelled Stateside in the IMSA GT class with the likes of Brian Redman and Ronnie Peterson at the wheel, while Jody Scheckter and Gunnar Nilsson drove one to victory in the 1976 Kyalami 1000km race.

    Artists Alexander Calder and Frank Stella confirmed the beauty of the E9 BMW when they were commissioned to create BMW’s first two Art Cars on a pair of 3.0CSLS. Who would have thought such exquisiteness could have come from such an ugly duckling - three cheers for the 2000C and 2000CS! The world of motoring is a better place because of you.
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Fast orange. Of sixties BMWS the E9 is the most admired of all, and of these the 3.0CSL E9 is the one to have. A potent lightweight homologation special built to allow BMW to enter touring car racing, the CSL has become a legend in the four decades that have followed. However, you won’t see another like this original Irish example... Words by Jack Kingston. Photos by Andrew Pollock.

    / #BMW-E9 / #BMW-3.0-CSL / #BMW-3.0-E9 / #BMW-3.0-CSL-E9 / #BMW / #1972 / #M30 / #BMW-M30

    For those of you old enough to remember the first motoring part-works 'On Four Wheels', a free A2 poster came with one of the issues. It was a full-colour cutaway image of a Group 5 racing #CSL , and it hung on my bedroom wall for years. I later turned it into a banner that now hangs on my garage wall. Such was the allure of that car that I later bought an E9 CSi in silver, which I thoroughly enjoyed for a few years. I now have the opportunity to test this CSL owned by Niall O'Sullivan from Limerick, and to see how much better it is than the standard car.

    There are two features of this CSL that immediately stand out; the registration plate and the colour. 272 CRI was sold in Ireland in 1972, and is the only CSL registered in Ireland from new that we are aware of. Only 500 right-hand-drive cars were produced in 1972/1973 for the British market, and these were more civilised than the stripped-out left-hand-drive versions for the Continent - all RHD cars came equipped with the ‘City Pack', which was also an option on LHD cars. Total production was just 39 more than the 1,000 needed to homologate the CSL for the European Touring Car Championship. Alongside the more sober colours of the period, BMW offered three paint schemes for the truly extrovert - Tiagra Green, Canary Yellow and this Inca Orange version. The strength of this colour reinforces what is arguably one of the most beautiful coupes that BMW have built, spawned from the awkward-looking 2000 CS with its shorter bonnet (only four cylinders) and lack of a full-width grille, sporting only the BMW centre “kidneys". Speaking of colours, the #1972-Le-Mans-CSL was the first of the so-called "Art Cars" (by Calder, Stella and Lichtenstein) that led to a string of unique paint schemes that blended technology, design and art into a successful racing package for BMW.

    One cannot write about the CSL without referring to its racing development, as this is what defines the car and is essentially its raison d'etre - it evolved from the CSi in order to win the European Touring Car Championship in the early seventies. There were a couple of problems that mitigated against the BMWs beating the winning Capris on track: too much weight, a propensity to eat tyres and a feeling of rear- end steer from the independent suspension layout. By hiring the men from Ford who made the Capri a winner, BMW set out to take the ETCC championship. This they did by the use of light weight (hence the name 'Coupe Sport Leicht) and the use of aerodynamic aids to stop the car moving around on track. As these were homologated, the road-going examples had to be to the same specification. So, first was the diet: thinner- gauge steel on the bodywork, aluminium doors, boot and bonnet, thinner glass and a Perspex rear window, a plastic rear bumper, no carpets, no wooden dashboard and, critically today, absolutely no rustproofing of any kind, ensuring that they will rot absolutely everywhere and making the survival rate low and the cost of restoration high. These measures knocked about 3 cwt. (150kg) off the weight, while power from the fuel- injected three-litre straight-six remained the same at just over 200bhp. Aerodynamics were taken care of by adding a deep front spoiler, air splitters on the wings and a roof spoiler that directed air down to a huge rear wing, which could be seen to bend in the middle under the 70lbs of downforce it generated. All this stopped the car sliding about wearing tyres, and tamed its manners enough to finally beat the Capris. The racing versions were nicknamed 'Batmobiles' thanks to their giant boot spoilers, but only just over 100 were delivered in road- going form with the full aero-kit fitted. BMW went on to race the CSL in Group 5 with a turbo engine, aluminium 24-valve head, 750bhp and a top speed of 200mph!

    The period Hella spotlamps tie in perfectly with this car's seventies motorsport character. The bucket-style rear seats are a unique touch.

    The recent mechanical refresh saw the suspension and brakes completely torn down and rebuilt, with all bolts and fasteners going to the zinc platers in the process. The original brake calipers were found to have hairline cracks and had to be replaced, while all rubber bushes were changed. The KW coilovers were built to order using the original struts, due to the E9's relative rarity

    The interior is an interesting combination of 'gentleman's carriage' wood trimmings and competition componentry, but is purposeful and full of character.

    The 3,003cc straight-six is completely standard in Nialis car, but the Bosch fuel-injected mill is good for a smidge over 200bhp and sounds fantastic.

    The good news for owners was that they could buy into all of this racing glamour by simply ordering a CSL from the showroom. Race on Sunday, sell on Monday, as Ford used to say. The British buyers did not favour the extreme specifications of the German lightweights, and the 500 cars delivered in RHD were better kitted out. Because of the unfavourable exchange rate with the Deuchmark the cars worked out at over £7,000, and BMW Concessionaires felt that buyers wouldn't pay this high a price for a stripped out road car, so they were all specified with the additional City Pack, which comprised of a heated rear window, racing steering wheel, Scheel adjustable racing seats, Boge shocks, stainless-steel bumpers, black undercoating, an interior light, sound-proofing, carpeting, a luggage compartment mat, power steering, tinted glass, electric rear windows, a tool kit and an internal locking bonnet. The aero accessories weren't homologated until 1973, and could be ordered as a BMW aftermarket accessory (‘racing kit'). The doors, boot lid and bonnet had aluminium skins and were very easily dented, a hand in the wrong place when closing them being enough to cause damage.

    Alpina strut brace and Ground Control top-mounts combine with KW coilovers to get the most out of that famous chassis.

    The glorious BBS E55 wheels have been stepped up to seventeen-inch on the back and sixteen-inch on the front, in the spirit of the over-the-top DTM racers of old.

    The competition aerodynamic parts homologated by the CSL weren't part of this car's spec when new, but are very-much a part of this model's story and look great in this application.
    Niall's car, chassis no. 2285018, is a rare survivor of that batch. Mr John Hynes of Baldonnel, Dublin purchased the car, which was English registered and was an early ‘drive back' car. As a marketing exercise when BMW GB launched the CSL, BMW Concessionaires invited 50 dealers to Munich on the 9th and 10th of October 1972. After a boozy night, the next day a CSL was brought to the hotel on a traditional Bavarian horse and cart with the staff in traditional dress. The dealers, who had been able to choose the colour of the car they wanted, were then given their individual cars to ‘‘drive back" to the UK. The CS register have identified quite a few of these cars from their date of first registration in the UK being the 11th of October, and the BMW Classic certificate for this car confirms that it was originally delivered to BMW Concessionaires and registered (date of delivery on the cert) on 11th October. Each dealer got the car to use as a customer demonstrator before the car was sold to the public. At that time the CSL cost more than twice the price of a V12 E-Type (and £1,000 more than a semi-detached house), thus ensuring their extreme rarity on these shores. Precious as it was, Mr Hynes had no problem in racing the car in period. It was fitted with a roll cage (now removed), and driven to races in Mondello and Kirkstown, where it acquitted itself very well by knocking three seconds off the lap record! In 1975 came its crowning glory though, when it won the Dunlop Hawthorn Trophy in the Phoenix Park. Niall is keen to trace any photographs and history of this car during this competition period, which can be sent to this magazine for forwarding. However, ‘The Park' was not the last time it was brought to a racetrack - it was regularly driven from Dublin to Monte Carlo for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the typically 600-mile run from Paris to Monaco being dispatched in about six hours. I'll leave you to do the maths on average speed, but the CSL could top out at 130mph... This really was a supercar of its day, soaking up the miles of autoroutes in comfort and civility. The everyday Renault and Peugeot drivers could only blink in awe as this bright orange projectile streaked past!

    The service history of the car records that it was regularly maintained in the seventies by Frank Reilly Motors in Rathmines up to 108,000 miles, with many of the parts sourced from long-time BMW gurus Jaymic of Norfolk, England. In 1981 it was brought to Marbella in Spain, where it was used sparingly, racking up only 1,500 miles in ten years. It aged well in the sunshine, but a few years after returning to Ireland it started to show signs of cosmetic deterioration and was entrusted to Robert Andrews Motors in Bangor for a complete mechanical overhaul in 2005. By mid-2006 it was finished, having had an engine rebuild and a new coat of paint. Luckily this car never suffered the rigours of the British salted roads, so the body needed only minimal attention. Some time after this, the car was sold on to only its second Irish owner, who kept it for a short time before selling it to current Limerick owner, Niall O'Sullivan, who also runs another CSL, this one being the E46-series M3.

    In advance of embarking on a full cosmetic restoration in the future, Niall has had some work done to keep the car functional and enjoyable, the work being entrusted to Jon Miller of Classic Carreras in Killaloe, and has taken the opportunity to put his own stamp on the CSL in the process. Practical work like stripping, reconditioning and powder/zinc-coating the suspension and brakes came first, with all new suspension bushings also being put in place. Remanufactured front and rear E9 Alpina strut braces were fitted, and the brake calipers had to be replaced as they were found to be harbouring hairline cracks when stripped. That aggressive, tarmac- sniffing stance has been achieved with a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers, which were built to order using the original struts, and Ground Control camber-adjustable top mounts were added to the front end for further adjustability. The simply glorious wheels evoke both touring car racing and the famous BMW art cars in equal measure - the BBS E50s were custom built using new centres, and are running 8x16-inch rims up front and 9.5x17-inchers out back to really pack out the arches. These RHD City-Pack cars also never came with the spoilers from new, and so these were prepped, painted and fitted by Jon Miller; the front lip, wing-top fins and rear roof spoiler came from Zaprace in the UK, while the boot spoiler is an original BMW item sourced on German eBay. Save for the Schroth harnesses and MOMO Alpina steering wheel, the interior is as it left the works, but this is one of those cars whose dramatic looks belie a short list of modifications.

    The fantastic Scheel seats are factory, but wear Schroth harnesses added by Niall.

    Driving the legend

    So, what are these legendary cars like to drive? The answer is, whatever you want it to be. Slip down into the Scheel bucket seats, twist the key, slip into the first of four gears, and that familiar straight-six just lopes off like any 3-litre CSi; there's no drama, and it's nice and drivable through city traffic. Visibility is great due to the slim pillars, and the large glass area makes the interior almost panoramic, so it's easy to place on the city streets. The clutch is a tad heavy, but the take-up is smooth and the bite is progressive, making for very easy progress. Soon though we are in the country, and the car comes alive. The throttle is stiff and needs a deep push, but the engine responds without hesitation and third gear seems to hang on forever. No matter how unruly the road surface, this car tracks straight and true. The power steering is pin sharp, and nothing will upset it, inspiring immediate confidence in this now 43-year-old car. The chassis is stiff, but the quality uprated suspension soaks up the bumps and the ride comfort is not disturbed in the slightest. There is no bottoming out - the chassis set-up is too clever for that - and the new braking system is perfect, so good that speed is scrubbed off without even noticing it. Time to point towards the motorway. Here, the car shows its other side - it's comfortable, fast, refined (except for a hissing door seal) and relaxing. Everything about this well-maintained car makes it so easy to live with. There's no transmission slack, although the gear lever throws are too long to be rushed. You won't catch the synchros out though, and engagement is positive in a touchy-feely kind of way. Cornering hard does not provoke the front end to wash out in understeer, as the back comes round nicely just at the crossover point. I can see now how these were so good on the track, and really that's exactly where I'd like to take this one. Its racing days may be over, but I thought I heard Niall mention something about a track day... Count me in!

    This CSL doesn't wear the giant 'Batmobile' rear spoiler homologated for the model, but has plenty of drama about it all the same.
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  •   Chris Hrabalek reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    / #1972 / #BMW-3.0CSi-wide-body / #BMW-3.0CSi-E9 / #BMW-3.0CSi / #BMW-E9 / #BMW /

    SOLD FOR: £42,750

    Described as ‘an extremely rare example of a roadgoing aluminium wide-bodied lightweight BMW, with the looks and performance of a ‘Group 2’ #ETC car of the early 70s. The car was converted by #Alpina , BMW’s motorsport partners, we believe in the late Seventies’. This right-hand drive machine had had a three-year ground-up £80k restoration and featured a 3.5-litre #M30 straight-six breathing through three twin-choke #Weber carbs. We bet it goes well and at £42,750 it looked like good value given its restoration cost.
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