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.
CHOOSE YOUR #BMW
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
Contact KGF Classic Cars, Peterborough (kgfclassiccars.co.uk, 01733 425140)
Engine 3003cc, inline-six, SOHC / #M30
Power 200bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 200lb ft @ 4300rpm
Top speed: 133mph;
Fuel consumption: 18mpg