1972 BMW 3.0 CSL


BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke or, translated into English, Bavarian Motor Works.

The BMW name goes back to 1913 when the company manufactured aircraft engines. It wasn’t until 1928 that BMW actually sold its first car – the BMW 3/15. BMW purchased Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, which, at the time, built Austin Sevens under licence and sold them under the Dixi marque. The BMW 3/15 was a rebadged Dixi which was effectively a rebadged Austin 7! Things moved quickly for BMW and the company soon became a significant manufacturer of sports and luxury cars.

World War II curtailed motor vehicle production and it had a crippling effect on BMW. Miraculously the company survived and it began manufacturing motorcycles in 1948 and cars in 1952. Its first post-war effort was the BMW 501 which was built in a new factory in Munich. The car was reasonably successful and it effectively relaunched BMW. At the time BMW was also building its fabulous little Isetta, but the company was doing it tough financially. BMW survived bankruptcy and a potential take over from Daimler-Benz. It was the launch of the BMW ‘New Class’ cars that proved to be a game changer for the company. In fact the compact little cars probably saved BMW from financial ruin. By 1963 BMW’s fortunes had turned around and from then on the company went from strength to strength. Today BMW is recognised as one of the world’s most successful prestige car manufacturers.

BMW models such as the 328, 507, 3.0 CSL and M1 are today recognised as some of the greatest sporting cars ever built.

What is often forgotten is BMW’s rich motorsport pedigree. The BMW 3/195 was raced back in the late 1920’s, the BMW 328’s of the 1930’s were extensively raced with great success in this period, a BMW 2000TI won the 1966 European Touring Car Championship, Nelson Piquet won the Formula One World Driver’s Championship in 1983 driving a BMW powered Brabham BT52 and in 1999 a BMW V12 LMR won Le Mans.

Another of BMW’s interesting motorsport stories was the development of the BMW 3.0 CSL. The E9 Series BMW’s were very successful and BMW decided to build the 3.0 CSL as a homologation special to make the car eligible for racing in the European Touring Car Championship. The CSL suffix was an abbreviation for Coupe Sport Lightweight. The car was built using thinner steel for the shell, the trim and soundproofing were removed, aluminium doors, bonnet & boot lid were added and Perspex side windows fitted. BMW built 1,265 examples and interestingly 500 of them were sold into the UK. The UK delivered cars were not as light as the others because the importer insisted on retaining the soundproofing, electric windows, and stock E9 bumpers on these cars. They were delivered with what was referred to as ‘City Pack’.

The later 3.0 CSL’s had the option of the ‘aerodynamic pack’ which included the front spoiler/air dam, short fins running along the front guards, a spoiler above & behind the trailing edge of the roof and a tall rear wing. Interestingly the rear wings were not installed at the factory, but were left in the boot for installation after purchase. This was done because the wings were illegal for use on German roads. It was the full aero package that gave to the car’s nickname ‘Batmobile’.

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to confirm the sale of a UK delivered, factory right hand drive BMW 3.0 CSL. The BMW 3.0 CSL is a rare car anywhere in the world, however, they were never sold new in Australia so it is an exceptionally rare car in this country. This particular car is partway through a restoration and with most of the hard work done it presents a unique opportunity for its new owner.


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  • BMW 3.0 CSL
  • 1972
  • Coupe
  • Manual
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  • 3003 cc


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