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During the 1970s, motorsport was evolving and gaining mainstream popularity with every season.
A multitude of race series saw entrants from OEM manufacturers, developing bespoke homologation specials to one-up each other, tenaciously hunting more power and less weight for the ultimate competition cars.
For much of the 1960s, BMW had relied on power to come from its 4cyl M10 engine which saw extensive use in the marque’s New Class saloons. The 1500, 1600, 1800 and 2000s all used variations of this engine and it wasn’t until the E9 coupes were introduced in 1968 that BMW returned to six-cylinder power.
Designed by Wilhelm Hofmeister, the E9 replaced the 2000 C with a significantly prettier shape. His signature design feature, a low forward bend at the base of the C-pillar would be named the ‘Hofmeister kink’ and remains a part of BMW’s design language to date. Longer and wider than it’s predecessor, the new E9 shape meant the larger 6cyl engine would fit, but weight savings and changes to the aerodynamics meant performance was significantly improved, even on the base model 2800 CS at introduction.
The 2800CS was replaced in 1971 by the 3.0 CS, with the engine growing from 2.8 to 3.0 (importantly a 2,986cc) capacity, power increasing from 168hp to 200hp at the time. The CS also introduced four-wheel disc brakes, In May 1972, BMW introduced the now-iconic 3.0 CSL.
Born out of a need for speed, the ‘CSL’ or Coupe Sport Leichtbau was built to enable competing in the European Touring Car Championship - a series they would ultimately conquer. The car was visually indistinguishable, sticker set aside, the CSL was an ingenious homologation special - bending the rules in all the right places.
Group 2 racing regulations were strict. Whilst the car remained visually identical, thinner steel was used for the body shell. The weight savings continued, with aluminium being used for the doors, bonnet and boot lid and perspex used for the side windows. In its lightest form, a 3.0 CSL was 136kg lighter than standard.
The engine was fettled too. Whilst the 3.0CS was by most standards a 3.0, the CSL power plant required an over-bore of one-quarter of a millimetre nudging displacement to 3,003cc. Now it could race in the ‘over three-litre’ racing class. The CSL produced 206bhp in road form, the race cars, north of 300 hp.
Just 1,265 examples were built, by comparison north of 19,000 of the 2800/3.0CS left the factory gates. 500 examples made their way to the UK and the importer at the time insisted the UK - specification retained some of the traditional luxuries of production cars. A genuine 2+2, the RHD cars were much more aligned to its rivals of the time - the Jensen Interceptor, the V12 E-Type, Aston Martin’s DBS and most notably, another motorsport king, the Porsche 911 2.7 RS Touring.
Advertised as the ‘City Package’, these cars retained the mod-cons of the time; glass electric windows, soundproofing and the standard production bumpers making for a particularly luxurious sporting GT car.
This Chamonix White CSL, was delivered new to the UK in 1974 and is one such example benefitting from the City Package. The ownership of this car is comprehensively documented from new. Each and every owner, from delivery to the current day, is detailed in the extensive history file accompanying the car. History such as this is a rare privilege for any car, this example has remained unmodified from new.
First registered in May 1974, the car was supplied new to C.R Page of Hampstead by BMW Chiswick who retained the car for two years. In 1978, the car moved into the care of its third owner, the Marquis of Blandford where it would reside within a collection at a certain Blenheim Palace! Whilst in the care of the Marquis of Blandford, the engine was blueprinted by Tom Walkinshaw racing at a cost of £1,800.
Most recently the car has been the care of Mr Taysom, a renowned Porsche collector who owned the car for two years and then sold the car to its current owner through Hexagon Classics in 2012.
Recently restored by marque specialists Munich Legends, this CSL presents on the button and is ready to be used and enjoyed.
A superb example, this CSL presents today with superb unbroken provenance and is available to view at our showrooms just outside London.
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