One of the most beautiful. One of the most underrated. The 3.0 CSL is a car that looks amazing even when parked next to cars worth ten times the amount. As a classic it ticks every box; racing pedigree, limited numbers (500 RHD), beautiful styling, period feel – and most importantly, that mystery ingredient that attracts so many people to its distinctive lines.
The 3.0 CSL was so expensive back in 1972 – twice the price of your average house – that very few people could afford one. Remember that until BMW started to win on track with the CSL, the company was more known for producing Eastern-bloc style nasty square boxes. And with the war a recent memory for many people, German cars were not necessarily flavour of the month. But a few people got it. Driving a CSL now you can see just how ahead of the pack BMW really were. Compare, say, an E-type Jag, or even some of the more expensive Italian exotica, and its not hard to see why the CSL then cleaned up at the race track for the next five or so years.
The few who ‘got it’ soon spread the word. And despite the relative commercial failure of the CSL – UK cars had to have a ‘city pack’ of toys fitted to entice people to part with their £6800, which promptly added back most of the weight shed for the ‘L’ designation – a cult following was born. The faithful few watched as values plummeted over the years and their cars often fell apart – we’ve heard many a story of ruined holidays and embarrassing breakdowns – but even then, for many, its still the best car they ever owned. And those who remember the CSL from their childhood, with relatives or friends who owned one of these incredibly rare cars, the memory has never left them. Many of them end up in our showroom, hoping to find the car of their dreams.
Set up right, the CSL drives like the GT it was always meant to be and still impresses even today. The 3.0 M30 engine – which went on to power a huge swathe of BMWs in various forms right into the 90’s – throws out a smooth but very vigorous 200bhp, making it a seriously quick machine by the standards of the time. And by 70’s classic car standards the CSL is a very reliable machine, with good parts availability for all but the odd piece of trim.
The problem is availability. Out of the original 500 it is estimated that fewer than 65 remain (source: How many are left? Website) and we would suggest that the majority of those still registered are in urgent need of saving from extinction. Many people took advantage of BMW’s generous offer to change the engine when faults occurred back in the day, so matching number cars are scarce too. The biggest problem has never been the price of CSLs, but whether you can find one worth owning.
This particular car has undergone a full restoration, but the original restoration company sadly went out of business just as the project was coming to a close. We thoroughly inspected the car upon arrival at ML, and only the finishing touches remained to complete the project – most of which have now been sorted. The whole car is completely rust free, and is a solid, faithful example – good enough to be recommended by our technical team as a car to own. The eagle-eyed buyer will notice the Alpine white paintwork, which looks great with the tri-colour Motorsport stripes and sports front valence. Also evident is the leather interior – which should of course be Scheel with vinyl, and a few other minor trim anomalies. But with its matching numbers, comprehensive (by CSL standards) service history and documentation, this car is the perfect example of a CSL you would want to own. It has been priced to reflect the few outstanding items needed to make this car ‘one of the best’, and still leave the buyer feeling that he or she has found a bargain.
This is a CSL that simply has to be seen. For more information, or to book a visit to view this fabulous classic, please contact our showroom team on 01825 740456 or email us on email@example.com