1973 BMW 3.0 CSL (E9)

Lot Number: 612

1973 BMW 3.0 CSL (E9)

One of 500 UK-delivered, meticulously restored and outstandingly presented City Pack 3.0CSLs with a £100,000 restoration behind it and period-correct upgrades.

  • Sold for: £90,000

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 26th August, 2023 at 11.00am BST at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN

  • Body Colour

    BODY COLOUR
    Polaris Silver

  • Drive

    DRIVE
    RHD

  • Registration Number

    REG NUMBER
    WAL 857M

SUMMARY

One of 500 UK-delivered, meticulously restored and outstandingly presented City Pack 3.0CSLs with a £100,000 restoration behind it and period-correct upgrades.

DESCRIPTION

Visually indistinguishable from its more commonplace counterparts, the CS and CSi, the 3.0 CSL (Coupé Sport Leicht) showcased creativity in the realm of homologation. As we all know, success in motorsport sells cars, and the marketing department's demands prompted BMW engineers to develop a limited-production 'homologation special,' to meet the constrictive framework of the ‘Group 2’ racing class regulations at the time. They achieved this by stripping away unnecessary trim, using thinner steel for the main bodyshell, using aluminium alloy for the doors, bonnet, and boot lid, and even opting for Perspex for the side windows. This clever approach resulted in a significant weight reduction of 300lbs (136kgs) - truly living up to its name, 'Leicht,' meaning light in German.

From a mechanical standpoint, these cars were nearly identical to the fuel-injected CSi which meant 200bhp and a top speed of over 140mph. However, to compete in the over-3-litre class, the engineers slightly increased the engine displacement to 3,003cc. With all-round independent suspension (McPherson strut front and semi-trailing arm rear), disc brakes, and responsive steering, the CSL displayed impeccable balance and driving dynamics. When new, it carried a hefty price tag, surpassing that of a Porsche 911 2.7 RS by several hundred pounds. Now, the CSLs from the 1970s are the most sought-after BMWs, owing to their fabulous competition history including winning the European Touring Car Championship every year between 1973-1979 with the exception of 1974.

We understand that a mere 1,039 CSLs were ever produced, out of which 500 came in right-hand drive for BMW UK. Interestingly, virtually all UK cars were fitted with the “City Package,” technically an optional extra, that included a front bumper, electric windows, power steering, a heated rear screen, boot lock, a tool kit, and sound deadening. This upgrade undoubtedly enhanced the car's civility, but it naturally offset some of the initial weight savings. The particular car in question is one of those 500 right-hand drive models and has been privy to a meticulous and impressive restoration.

The car we’re offering is a truly incredible example with an interesting story. Currently owned by its 5th keeper from new, with its 3rd custodian owning the car for 26 years, keeping it in a heated garage but having it laid up in said garage since 1999 until being sold in rolling project form at auction in 2014. A well-known amateur racing driver purchased the car but unfortunately passed away before any significant work was done so it was re-sold in 2015 in running and driving project form to the current owner who set about bringing it up to rude health, investing over £100,000 in the process, with a plethora of bills and invoices on file for parts, labour and maintenance.

The majority of the restoration was undertaken by Paul Baker Restorations to an incredible standard. As part of the work undertaken, the car was taken down to the bare shell including removal of old paint and rust with photos documenting these processes. It was repainted in Polaris Metallic Silver and adorned with high-quality BMW Motorsport (Martini) side-stripes. The bodywork restoration was done meticulously with modern materials, resulting in an excellent condition. While we don’t know why, but presumably because both the cars and parts were so cheap at the time, and with no indicators of any foul play at hand, the car was re-shelled in the late-1980s, using a CSA shell but retaining its lightweight alloy bonnet, doors, and boot lid, the main characteristic of the CSL. The previous owner made it clear that the car has been re-shelled by omitting certain markings. Completing the pleasing external aesthetic, the car was fitted with new replica Alpina 16” wheels with Michelin tires. The old 14” wheels were retained and will come with the car.

Mechanically the engine was upgraded to a reconditioned CSL engine with 3.3-litres displacement, a big step up from the original 3.0-litre. It was a genuine BMW factory reconditioned unit as it is coded 33 indicating 3.3 litres (BMW rounded up the displacement), E indicates “Petrol Injection” and “D” indicates D-Jetronic. 1096 is the serial number and “A” indicates remanufactured. By good fortune, this upgrade will compensate for the slightly heavier shell because it increases the mid-range engine torque by 23ft/lbs. The cylinder head and bores were serviced, and various components were replaced or tested, and a gas-flowed stainless-steel exhaust was installed.

All suspension parts were restored, and new suspension bushes were fitted, front wishbones were replaced, brake servos were changed, and brake components were overhauled as well as installing thicker anti-roll bars and replacing the power steering pump.

Inside the car the interior wood was re-veneered, the panels were restored and reused, the Scheel seats were recovered, a new period correct carpet set was installed but the original roof lining was retained.

It almost goes without saying that the car is exceptional in its appearance and condition. Its overall quality, finish, and presence on the road make it highly desirable to collectors and enthusiasts alike. Since completion, it's been used and enjoyed for both short trips and long, including a drive out to Le Mans 24hr where it behaved beautifully, as expected. As can happen with significant restorations the car now feels too precious to our Devon based vendor to warrant regular use tight and twisty West Country roads knowing the cost of even a minor 'tap'.

This is a stunningly restored BMW CSL with a rich ownership history, outstanding looks and incredible workmanship. Whilst the re-shelling and engine upgrade impact its originality, to even the most well-trained eye one would be strained to know this without prior knowledge. With performance, heritage, history, restoration, rarity and stunning looks all in its favour, this may be one of the best CSLs to broach the market in recent years, and very attractively priced.

SPECIFICATION

Lot Number
612
Make
BMW
Model
3.0 CSL
Registration Number
WAL 857M
MOT Expiry
Exempt
Chassis Number
2285486
Engine Number
330ED 1096A
Transmission
Manual
Body Colour
Polaris Silver

CONSIGNOR

Consignor

For further information regarding this lot please contact Harry.

CONTACT

SHARE THIS LOT

All cars must be removed from the venue between 9am and 2pm on Monday 28th August. Full payment must be received before any item is available to be released.

Our transport partner EM Rogers can assist with collection and delivery. Please contact them on +44 (0) 1604 755 511 or trafficdesk@emrogers.co.uk for a quote.

Any cars not collected by 2pm on Monday 28th August will be taken to EM Rogers storage facility in Northampton for a fee of £175 plus VAT. Storage will be charged at £10 plus VAT per day from the Monday onwards.

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