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One of the 429 left hand drive cars built in 1972
Recently imported into California from Japan
Matching chassis and engine numbers
Has all correct lightweight body panels
4-speed manual transmission, 3.0-liter inline six engine
Homologation model for BMW’s CSL race cars of the 1970s
Homologation models are often considered to be some of the finest examples of street cars, sharing direct motorsport lineage with their track-racing alter egos while fulfilling the racing requirements for entry. It’s not uncommon for certain homologation models to get critical acclaim and a cult following, but the BMW 3.0 CSL is one of those cars that has maintained its position as one of the most popular Bavarian Motor Works cars of all time. Lightweight, elegant design, and tactile feedback driving experience all combine to reward its driver with an unforgettable experience.
The 3.0 CSL differs in a multitude of ways, from construction to driving dynamics. Introduced in May of 1972, the “L” in the name meant leicht (German for light). This weight reduction was achieved through using thinner steel to produce the body, the deletion of soundproofing and trim, using aluminum alloy doors, hood, trunk lid, and Perspex side windows. Lightweight fiberglass bumpers were also used in favor of heavy metal ones. The first original CSLs used an engine with a displacement of 3,003cc which allowed their race car alter egos to participate in the “over three litre” racing category. Highly successful in European racing, the CSL completed in the Group 2 category in the European Touring Car Championship, with CSL drivers winning the Drivers title six times in the years 1973, and 1975 to 1979.
This BMW 3.0 CSL is believed to have been imported into Italy for its first owner based on Italy-specific language that is present on the car. Interestingly, the car has A/C installed which would have been a dealer option in period. The previous owner was informed that the CSL made its way to the United States at some point during its lifetime, then moving onto Japan. The most recent owner imported the CSL in late 2018. He kept the car for a year and a half before Canepa acquired it from him.
Upon arriving at Canepa, the CSL was inspected from front to back. The car had been partially restored over the years, while the engine bay looks remarkably original with original finishes and period-correct items. The chassis and engine both match one another, adding to this car’s authenticity. The engine starts up with no effort whatsoever, and the Scheel sports seats were expertly reupholstered based on the quality of work performed. The car overall gives a sense that it was thoroughly enjoyed but well taken care of, leaving it ready for the next owner to enjoy this homologation special.
BMW CSLs don’t come along too often due to their extreme low build numbers and fanatically-loyal enthusiast base that often keep examples for years if not decades. When one does come along and is available, it’s a special treat to see how similar (and how different) real homologation specials are and how much they shared with their racing counterparts. This CSL is just that, a glimpse into the era of when homologation specials shared lots of similar DNA with its racing big brothers, and the coolness exuded from a CSL because of this is undeniable.
31,502 miles = 50,698 kilometers