The Silverstone Classic Sale 2017

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1973 BMW 3.0 CSL

Lot No.: 443

Registration: REC 400M
Chassis Number: 2285416
Engine Number: 2285416
Number of cylinders: 6
CC: 3003
Year of Manufacture: 1973
Estimate (£): 70,000 - 85,000
(+buyer’s premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)

The 3.0 CSL is a lightweight, performance-oriented version of the standard 3.0 CS/3.0 CSi coupé.  Utilising the E9 platform, the 3.0 CSL was unveiled at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show and was introduced in May 1972 as a homologation model for the German Touring Car Championship developed by a separate division within BMW AG, a division that would later become BMW Motorsport GmbH.

The CSL achieved some great results, with wins at Le Mans in the touring car class in 1973 and 1974, the IMSA GT Championship in 1975, and winning the European Touring Car Championships every year from 1973 to 1979 (apart from a minor blip in 1974).

The "L" in the designation meant leicht (light), unlike in other BMW designations, where it meant lang (long).  A total of 1,096 CSLs were built, with just 500 of these being imported into the UK.  The great majority of UK cars had the ‘City Package’ option fitted, designed to make the 3.0 CSL more usable as a daily driver.  These versions retained the standard interior trim, negating the total weight saving somewhat, but the other benefits were retained, including aero kit, thinner gauge steel, and aluminium parts. 

Early CSLs, produced in late 1971 and early 1972, utilised the standard 2,985cc M30 inline-6 engine with twin carburetors and were only offered in LHD. They were replaced by a fuel-injected model displacing 3,003cc available in RHD during late 1972 and early 1973. The final cars, all LHD and with a larger fuel-injected 3,153cc engine, were built in two distinct production runs during late 1973 and 1974-75.

All fuel-injected CSLs have a unique model code and chassis number sequence.  Fuel-injected CSLs with the 3.0-litre motor have VINs that run from 2275001 through 2275429 (left-hand drive version) and 2285001 through 2285500 (right-hand drive version).

The car presented here is a 1973 BMW CSL 3.0 (model 3452), and is a genuine, right-hand drive, UK-specification model (Chassis # 2285416), thus being the 416th RHD CSL model produced, and one of only 151 such examples imported in 1973.  

It was first registered on the 3rd August 1973, finished in Polaris Metallic with the obligatory black Scheel sports seats upholstered in cloth with leatherette bolsters.  We understand the car has had just four previous owners; however, the last two were in the same family, owning the car collectively for the last 30 years.  It is believed the car was put into heated dry storage in 1997 when its owner at the time was working overseas, and unfortunately, the car’s service book was misplaced during this period.  

REC 400M was purchased by our BMW-enthusiast vendor because of its exceptional condition, appearing rust-free and a matching numbers example, and he commissioned a complete bare-metal professional restoration.  With the car being so unspoiled, many original parts were simply cleaned, renewed and reinstalled.  Where this wasn’t possible, genuine new-old-stock BMW parts were used.  The result is simply stunning, a best-of-both-worlds car – bringing collectively a sense of real authenticity plus the reassurance that every component is as good as it could be.  Now being sold due to a change in circumstances from a small collection of other classic cars, this stunning CSL is simply not to be missed.  

These low production, homologation BMW CSLs often feature as a choice in car enthusiasts’ ‘dream garage’ scenario, and it’s with good reason – beautifully engineered machines that have that special feel, unique to BMW.