1973 BMW 3.0CSL ‘ #Batmobile
Genuine ‘Batmobiles’ are be few and far between; this lookalike offers an accurate compromise, says Richard
There’s a common misconception that every BMW 3.0CSL came bedecked with spoilers, fins and a stripped interior. Many owners, especially British ones, opted for more subtlety. That was the case with this car, now for sale from a private collection. Its conversion from Series II CSL to ‘Batmobile’ spec was done during a restoration using, according to the vendor, genuine BMW Motorsport parts. The attention to detail included conversion from right- to left-hand drive. It has covered under 500 miles since.
Finished in Chamonix White with BMW Motorsport striping, care has obviously been taken to make this look as accurate as possible, with the full quota of add-on aerodynamic and weight-saving parts. Exterior condition is mostly excellent. Corrosion is absent, save for what looks like a minute stain at the rear of the left-hand side sill cover. On the other side, the right-hand side sill cover doesn’t quite fit flushly because of a loose securing screw. The left-hand rear edge of the bonnet also doesn’t sit quite as snugly as it could when closed. Up close, there are a few minor marks on some of the side trim and black-painted rear bumpers. The chrome wheelarch trims are all superb.
Behind the Alpina wheels, only the nearside pair show any minor rim scuffing.
Tyres are Bridgestone Turanza T001s, 205/55 R16 91Ws up front with wider 225/50 R16 92Ws at the rear, all from 2013 and looking healthy. The underbody looks to have been comprehensively sealed. Inside, the cabin is very tidy, although it shows more ageing signs than the exterior.
With 67,679km (42,054 miles) on the speedometer, it has obviously been looked after but not over-restored so that it loses any patina. Thus the wood shows some some wear, mostly around the extremities by the doors. There’s a gap in the centre console for the radio, just waiting to be filled by a period Blaupunkt or Becker. Apart from the clock, all of the controls, gauges and warning lights work and behave as they should. The seats – leather with corduroy inserts – look nearly new.
On the road, the BMW behaves impeccably. There’s no roughness, the idle is smooth and the temperature needle stays resolutely at the centre of its travel once it reaches working temperature.
Gear selection is easy throughout, with a surprisingly light clutch, and the steering feels tight and accurate with no play. As docile as the CSL is around town, the car comes alive when let loose on a faster road – it surges forward with no hesitation. Fortunately, the brakes are very sharp; they pull the car up quickly, without any veering to one side.
Sadly when the owner responsible for the restoration passed away, the history went AWOL. However, this car bears all the marks of a very good 3.0CSL where the ‘Batmobile’ additions have been performed to a high, authentic standard. And it’s up for considerably less money than you’d pay for an original ‘Batmobile’.
CHOOSE YOUR BMW 3.0 CSL E9
1 Production of the homologation ‘Leicht’ BMW E9 began in 1971, under the 3.0CSL designation. Lightweight steel and alloy body panels, Plexiglass rear side windows and a stripped-out interior saved 200kg over the standard 3.0CS.
2 After 169 cars, the second series came out in 1972 with a fuel-injected 3003cc engine in place of previous 2985cc twin-carburettor unit. There were 500 rhd and 429 lhd examples.
3 The third series (1973-1974) saw engine capacity increased to 3153cc, and aerodynamic aids added. On road cars, these were often supplied unfitted in the boot for owners to fit. All of these 110 cars were left-hand drive.
4 The fourth series (1974-1975) brought down the curtain on the E9 3.0CSL, with just 57 made.
Contact Private seller, Letchworth, Hertfordshire (07860 264932)
Engine 3003cc sohc straight-six, M30 / Bosch electronic fuel injection
Max Power 200bhp @ 5500rpm
Max Torque 200 lb ft @ 4300rpm
Top speed: 134mph
Fuel consumption 17mpg
Interior shows age-related wear but no over-tired trim pieces ‘Batmobile’ aero parts are supposedly genuine BMW items.
The basis is a second-series E9 CSL, so it has a 3003cc straight-six.