*Matching chassis, engine and registration numbers
*An older restoration
1973 was a landmark year for BMW, for not only did the German manufacturer power Jean-Pierre Jarier to the European Formula 2 Championship, it also captured the European Touring Car Championship using one of the most iconic racing 'saloons' of modern times: the 3.0 CSL, known popularly as the 'Batmobile'.
BMW had returned to six-cylinder power for its range-topping models in 1968 with the launch of the 2500 and 2800 saloons. Also new was the 3.0 CSL's forerunner, the 2800CS coupé, though the latter's running gear had more in common with the existing, four-cylinder 2000C/CS. The introduction of the similarly styled 3.0-litre CS in 1971 brought with it numerous improvements, including four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, and with 180bhp on tap the model was good for around 130mph. For racing purposes there was the lightweight 3.0 CSL.
Visually indistinguishable from its more 'run of the mill' relations, the CS and CSi, the 3.0 CSL (Coupé Sport Leicht) was creative homologation at its best. The BMW engineers' solution to the marketing department's requirements was to develop a limited production run 'homologation special' to meet the constrictive framework of the Group 2 racing class regulations. By removing the trim; using thinner steel for the main bodyshell; aluminium alloy for the doors, bonnet and boot lid; and Perspex for the side windows a valuable 300lbs (136kgs) in weight was saved – 'Leicht' indeed.
Homologated initially with a fractionally over-bored (3,003cc) engine (enabling it to compete in the over 3-litre class) the 3.0 CSL came with 206bhp for road use and well over 300 horsepower for the track. In 1973 the engine's stroke was increased, upping capacity to 3,153cc (nominally 3.2-litres) and from mid-season onwards the racing CSLs used the so-called 'Batmobile' aerodynamic package, developed at Stuttgart University, which consisted of a front chin spoiler, large rear wing and various other devices. Illegal for road use in Germany, the wings were left in the boot for final installation after purchase.
Thus the equipped 'Batmobiles' were able to defeat the previously all-conquering Ford Capri RS2600s, Toine Hezemans capturing the 1973 European Touring Car Championship for BMW at the wheel of a 3.0 CSL and co-driving one to a class win at Le Mans that year with Dieter Quester. Ford bounced back in 1974 but from 1975 onwards the BMW 'Batmobiles' won five consecutive European Touring Car Championships, a quite unprecedented run of success.
This right-hand drive BMW 3.0 CSL is one of the so-called 'Drive Back' cars that were collected directly from the Munich factory by UK distributors in October 1972 and driven back to this country for sale. In September 1989 the BMW was offered for sale at an auction in Brighton where it was purchased by the immediately preceding owner, Mr Mark Miller. The car had previously been restored over a three-year period by Homesdale Motor Traders Ltd of Bromley, Kent, who completed the rebuild - using genuine BMW parts - in 1987. When purchased in 1989, 'LMB 4L' had covered fewer than 300 miles since the restoration's completion. Homesdale's work schedule is on file together with a copy of the auction catalogue.
The current enthusiast owner purchased the BMW from Mr Miller in August 2015, since when it has formed part of his private collection, being regularly serviced but used only sparingly. 'LMB 4L' benefits from a new full exhaust system - a genuine BMW part supplied by Cooper Cobham BMW. Finished in Verona Red with black interior, this well presented car is offered with sundry bills, MoT to May 2017, and a V5C registration document.
With only 1,039 CSLs produced between 1972 and 1975 compared to over 19,000 standard CS/CSi models, these 'specials' will always be relatively rare and today this ultimate BMW coupé is highly sought after.