The 3.0 & 3.5 CSL’s or to give them their much more appropriate name of the ‘Batmobile’ were built to compete in the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) of the 1970's. A period that saw manufacturers like Ford and BMW build some very rare and even more exciting homologation specials. Ford had their Zakspeed Escorts and Capris and BMW had their CSL.
The rules of the ETCC at the time were reasonably loose but dictated that the cars must be able to carry four people and that at least 100 examples had to have been constructed. Therefore BMW began with the CSL, which stands for 'Coupe Sport Leicht', and indeed it was, with an aluminium bonnet, boot and doors, reduced trim an absence of sound proofing and lighter sports seats, a weighting saving of over 136kgs was found, even on the road car.
With such an interesting base, the race cars could only become more excessive and therefore bigger wings and spoilers were added during development for 1972 to 76 on just about any flat panel, couple that with a screaming 6 cylinder engine, ultimately in 24 valve, 3.5 litre racing form and a thoroughbred legend was born.
Of the 4 CSLs, the last of their type built by the factory in 1976, are the ultimate version of the Batmobile. All survive, one being firmly in the hands of the BMW Museum as it is an original Art Car, hence cannot be driven and the other two are now non original, hence this car is the only running original 1976 Batmobile in the world.
This car is the works Schnitzer car for the 1976 World Championship, being officially entered as BMW Motorsport GmBH – Schnitzer and is the only BMW to be driven in period by two F1 drivers Ronnie Peterson and Gunner Nilsson. It competed at all the rounds that year and finished 2nd overall behind the 700BHP Porsche 935.
At the end of the season the car was bought by the Memphis Racing Team to use in the 1977 German Championship.
But what happens to a race car in the depth of a European winter, some maybe put warmly wrapped up and but in hibernation, others go looking for competition in warm climates. So the car was sold again this time to a group of Indonesians, who in December of 1977 won the Indonesian GP held at Jakarta.
Things unfortunately went downhill in 1978 as its engine was damaged by cracking the oil sump which resulted in a seized engine and being harshly abandoned in a timber shed immediately after the race and never used or seen again, until that is, it was discovered by its current owner in the early 90s. After prolonged negotiations it was shipped back to Europe for a full nut and bolt rebuild, as with ex-works mechanics and BMW helping as everything magnesium parts had turned to powder or become damaged in the humid Indonesian climate.
The car is 100% original, even all body panels are from the 1976 car and only the front spoiler is a remanufactured item as when the sump cracked in 1978 in Asia it was due to curb hopping, the spoiler being smashed before the sump was hit by same curb.
Engine : 3.5 ltr, 24valve, Straight six cylinder, front mounted, 475 bhp
Induction : Fuel Injected, Normally Aspirated