Arguably the most recognizable BMW race car of all time, the E9 3.0 CSL holds a unique position in the history of the Bavarian marque. After Bob Lutz joined the company in 1972, he then acquired Ford’s Head of Motorsport, Jochen Neerpasch, to become BMW’s lead racing engineer within the newly formed BMW Motorsport GmbH. The group’s first project would see their return to touring car racing with the E9 chassis, beginning the CSL project.
This given name, Coupé Sport Leichtbau (CSL), represents the modifications made to the chassis to homologate the car for racing. Featuring the two-valve code M30 inline six-cylinder with fuel injection, the engine was modified over the course of its production, eventually moving up to a slightly larger 3,003cc, and finally to 3,153cc.
In competition specification, the engine would be modified to an even larger 3,498cc with a four-valve head. Roughly 215 kilograms had been stripped from the chassis with thanks to the use of plastic windows, aluminium components, and thinner-gauge steel.
In 1973, an updated CSL debuted with the most iconic modification of all, the ‘Batmobile’ aerodynamics. With help from ALPINA, a large air dam, fender fins, rear windshield spoiler, and a large rear wing were added to the body providing the solution to the much-needed reduction of drag and lift at speed. In this revised specification, the BMW would go on to a successful and lengthy motorsport career.
This stunning FIA Group 2 specification 3.5 CSL ‘Batmobile’, chassis number 2210270, started life in 1972 as a 2800 CS race car, much like the majority of period code E9 cars and was built by the garage FALTZ, an ALPINA authorized dealer and prominent private BMW team in Essen, Germany.
The car campaigned in the 1972 Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) Championship under the skilled hands of Hans-Peter Joisten, who proceeded to take ninth place in the overall standings for that year.
During 1973, the car was purchased by Graziano Cancian halfway through the year in June. Cancian built the car up to 3.5 CSL specs, installing a Schnitzer engine to get there, and competed within various DRM and the European Touring Car Championship races through to 1976.
Later, in 1979, the car was sold to Peter Herke of California and subsequently upgraded to Group 5 specification in order to run in the IMSA GT Championship. The car was extensively modified with a body similar to those used by the Vasek Polak team throughout the 1970s. Though the car was perhaps considered outdated at this period, Herke continued to campaign the car until 1985 where it was then placed into storage until 1992 when it was invited to participated in the 20th anniversary of BMW Motorsport held at Sebring in the presence of Karl-Heinz Kalbfeld, the managing director of BMW Motorsport GmbH at the time. For this occasion, the car was painted in the historic BMW Motorsport colours. Using the car sparingly, Herke attended a hand full of historic motoring events before offering it for sale in 2007.
The car was purchased by Speedmasters who took the immediate decision to restore the car back to its Group 2 specification, as raced from 1973 until the Group 5 upgrades later in 1979. The decision was taken to finish the car in its 1973/74 livery, as there are numerous photos of the car from this time and crucially, it is in this specification that the car is competitive in historic racing.
The restoration was entrusted to QM Engineering in the UK, commencing in 2008 and culminating in 2009. Roger King, who ran QM Engineering, had worked for Broadspeed in the 1970s and worked on the first BMW CSL car that was produced as a study for BMW. During restoration, the car was completely stripped and rebuilt, with the addition of a fully welded-in FIA roll cage to enhance both safety and the torsional rigidity of the chassis.
James Hanson of Speedmasters would then go on to race the car and reported that it was found to be 'more than a match' for the other CSLs on the grid.
In 2010, the car was then sold to Richard Meins, a regular front runner at historic motoring events. Meins proceeded to campaign the car in Masters Historic Racing and the Donington Historic Festival in 2011 and 2012. During his ownership, it was decided to send the car for yet more work with specialists in Germany, Schirmer Race Engineering. A further €100,000 was spent on the car and the engine was rebuilt again.
A few years later, in 2015, the car was sold to Mr Rittweger who continued to look after the car with no expense spared, fitting new fuel cells in late 2016. The car underwent a full report by GSD RaceDyn as Rittweger continued to campaign the car in Historic Motoring events.
Today, the car qualifies to compete in the most highly regarded historic race series', including the Masters Series, Le Mans Classic, Historic Touring Challenge, and Peter Auto's popular Heritage Touring Cup.
Complimented by FIA papers valid until 2029, important period documentation and imagery, entry forms, customs documents both from Europe and the US when it was exported to Herke, this example of the iconic ‘Batmobile’ is ready to enter the most prestigious events. The full Group 5 fibreglass bodywork that the car was previously fitted with still accompanies the car.
This fantastic example of BMW’s famous ‘Batmobile’ is available to view at our showrooms outside London by appointment immediately.