Motorsports Monday: Ready to Fly – 1970 BMW 2800CS Group 2 CSL Replica

BMW’s revolution and rebranding through racing started on March 25, 1973. At the Monza 4 hours race in the European Touring Car Championship, the “CSL” legend was born. Massive box flares, huge BBS magnesium race wheels and deep front spoilers adorned the delicate E9 coupe now, and the iconic German Racing White with blue and red stripes following the lines of the hood and sides of the car. And with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Chris Amon, and Dieter Quester BMW Motorsport would go on to win many races and establish the brand that would later launch the infamous “Batmobile” CSL, the 2002 Turbo, and of course the M brand. Prior to 1973, the top flight races were run by BMW through their partners Alpina and Schnitzer, and indeed the BMW Motorsport entrants at Monza failed to finish, with Niki Lauda at the hands of an Alpina E9. A few races later, the rear wing was introduced by BMW Motorsport, and in the hands of Dieter Quester the first BMW Motorsport win was recognized at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 22, 1973.

The 3.0 and later 3.5 CSLs would continue to race and win for a few years, establishing the brand as a serious contender to the established Porsche in the sporting market. Because of this, there were not only many in-period conversions to CSL race cars, but many replicas built since. This appears to be one of the latter – originally, a 2800CS which has been converted to look like the Group 2 racers with a period motor:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 BMW 2800CS CSL Group 2 Replica on eBay

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Bat Signal: 1976 BMW 3.5CSL

While there are iconic liveries that permeate motorsports, sometimes there are equally iconic aerodynamic aids. The 1970s and 1980s saw some incredible experiments, from the Brabham BT46 ‘Fan Car’ which sucked all of the air out from underneath the chassis, literally sticking the car to the road to the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’ car, which somewhere underneath the long tail and stretched front end was actually a 911 (in theory, at least!). For BMW, exploiting the Group 5 FIA rules to suit their E9 chassis and make it competitive with the Porsche 911. That meant the aerodynamics of the 3.0CS had to be altered, and the result was wings, fins, and flares. But if the road going version of the also lightened 3.0CSL looked outrageous, the racing version simply took the recipe and turned it up to 11. Giant boxed flares widened the E9 half again. A huge front air dam looked capable of clearing cattle on the Sante Fe railway. Huge centerlock BBS magnesium wheels sported a footprint that would make most large commercial planes jealous. And if the tires didn’t shock them, the huge cantilevered wing protruding from the back of the trunklid certainly would spoil their plans to go airborn. This was the legendary car which gained the name “Batmobile”, and though they were not ultimately able to defeat Porsche in the Group 5 contest for 1976 (you know that, of course, because of the many Martini Championship Edition Porsches we feature), they are no less memorable than the 935:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 BMW 3.5 CSL at Jan Luehn Cars

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Feature Listing: 1970 BMW 2800CS

In the movie Eight Mile, Eminem’s character was engaged in a rap battle. Stick with me, this is going somewhere. Challenge after challenge fell to Eminem’s funny yet cutting commentary in response to attacks on his character and upbringing, but when it came to the final he had to go first. There was an awkward pause where it seemed as though he’d choke, but then in a brilliant stroke of cunning, Eminem launched a barrage of insults – on himself. By taking away the enemy’s typical weapon, there was no response but to accept that he was just a great rapper. “Here, tell these people something they don’t know about me” Eminem taunts as he hands the mic to his opponent.

So, let’s discuss the 3,200 lb elephant in the room. Being an E9, this 2800CS has had rust. It also has a branded title, thanks to an accident in its history at a time when the value of these cars was fairly low. But do you know what? The previous owner and the seller combined efforts to keep this beautiful classic going. It’s been upgraded and attended to, and while it still has needs it is far from a project to run away from. This is drawn into sharper contrast as its replacement, the E24, has been steadily gaining value. Seemingly heading towards the cusp of being unaffordable for many enthusiasts, the highlights of the 6 series are shared with its predecessor; shark-like nose, a beautifully low waistline that elongates the silhouette, a sweeping roofline that it just perfect in execution. In fact, with so much attention focused now on snapping up E24s before they too become unobtainium, it’s the perfect time to consider this E9:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 BMW 2800CS on eBay

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1974 BMW 3.0CS

Ah, the internet. As I often say to my history students, back in the ancient times people actually had to go to a library to look up facts. Take production data, for example. Let’s say you wanted to know how many of a particular model were made. Well, you could phone the manufacturer, which probably wouldn’t get you anywhere. You might head to a knowledgeable dealer, but they’d probably lose interest as soon as it became clear you weren’t there to actually buy anything. You could write the manufacturer and hope for a correspondence back – probably in a few months. Or, if you were quite rich, you could hop on a plane and head to the company’s headquarters, hoping to be allowed in to the archives. But now, on a seemingly daily basis, more information is added to the nebula which is the internet. Some of it is true, some of it is false, and some is misinterpreted. As I say to my students, know your source. If you’re relying on the NBC Nightly News for your facts, for example, you might find that Brian Williams hand-built this E9 himself. Too soon?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 3.0CS on eBay

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Coupe Week Tuner Tuesday: Alpina B2S 3.0CSL and 3.0CS Alpina Tribute

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and when it comes to Alpina cars there certainly have been a lot of enthusiasts who are eager to copy the legends. Part of that is the great look that Alpina achieved, but also worth considering that Alpina models – especially early ones – command a premium that rivals some of the most exclusive models put out by the factory. Today, then, in honor of Coupe Week I have two E9 models. The first is a real-deal and rare 3.0CSL, but even then a special CSL; this one is an early carburetor model which was modified in period by Alpina to B2S spec. I then have an end-of-run U.S. spec 3.0CS that tries to imitate that look. These two cars obviously aren’t in contention with each other – but is the imitation good enough to warrant looking at?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BMW 3.0 CSL Alpina B2S on classicheros.co.uk

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1967 BMW 2000CS

If you like the classic BMW E9 coupe, odds are that you also think the earlier New Class Coupe is pretty awesome too. Granted, some don’t appreciate the more delicate look of the 4-cylinder big pillarless coupe, but most of the design features that Wilhelm Hofmeister penned into the 2000C and 2000CS were directly translated into the E9 coupe. That means, of course, that the design language was effectively the same for over twenty years until the last of the similar designs – the E24 – finally left production in 1989. Even then, the “Hofmeister Kink” remained a styling cue that was incorporated into the new designs from Munich. The 2000CS, though, held some unique details such as the front end which looked distinctly different than the models that followed. Shared with some of the New Class sedans, the dual beam lights hid behind a glass cover – something that wouldn’t occur again until the 1990s. But the profile was classic BMW coupe; a long hood and delicate A and C pillars with plenty of glass along with a sharply cut tail. Squint, and you can still see some details that are incorporated even into modern BMWs:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 BMW 2000CS on eBay

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1974 BMW 3.0CSi

I’ve made several references comparing the BMW 8 series to a few Ferraris, suggesting that it was perhaps a budget alternative to running a 456GT, for example. However, the E31 isn’t the only Ferrari-esque design to come from Munich; in many aspects, the E9 coupe shared some visual DNA with the Ferrari 330 2+2 from the 1960s. Now, for some that may sound like heresy and I can appreciate that; but take off the Rosso-colored glasses for a moment and look at the side profile of a 330 GT versus the E9 coupe; it’s nearly identical. The rear end treatment was quite similar as well, and while the grill on the BMW was obviously quite different the two even shared a quad-headlight setup. Obviously, underneath the Ferrari had that wonderful Colombo V12 versus the rather pedestrian inline-6 in the BMW; but pound for pound the BMW punched hard, especially in CSi trim. With 200 horsepower on tap it was certainly no slouch, especially in the midst of the oil crisis which neutered most V8s in America. It would take another two generations for the Big Three to break back into the 200 horsepower realm with nearly double the displacement of the E9. But the E9 wasn’t about straight line performance; it was a whole package – a speedy grand touring coupe with luxurious appointments and gorgeous looks:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 3.0CSi on eBay

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Motorsport Mondays: 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL

The “Batmobile” is a legendary car that helped to both define BMW’s place in global motorsports and to solidy its presence in the sports sedan realm. Sure, they had competed successfully for years in touring car and sports car races, not to mention substantial involvement in motorcycle racing. But the bread and butter of BMW’s 1980s reputation was built on their sporting nature, and that legacy was born in the 1970s touring cars. The CSL was a message to the world, much like the Porsche 911RS was – BMW was a major player, and here to stay. They’ve since built upon that racing legend, but enthusiasts look back upon these models as the ones that spawned the dreams of countless children – the lucky ones of which would go on to buy new BMWs in the 1980s. It’s not often that you see a well presented CSL with racing pedigree come up for sale, but there’s a stunning example available today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW CSL on racecarsdirect

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1970 BMW 2800CS

“Restomod” is probably a word that’s overused and misappropriated often. I’d consider any car with period-correct or period-inspired modifications, updated to make it more fun to drive or more reliable, and cleaned up to look a bit more sporty while still retaining the essence of the car a “restomod”. Nothing important is taken away, but some of the shortcomings are improved upon – or, at least made more enjoyable. Looks wise, there isn’t much that you can do to improve the E9 BMW – it’s a timeless classic design, beautifully elegant and simple. I wrote up a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC on our sister site, Classic Italian Cars For Sale, and it’s amazing how similar the overall look of the two cars is. Yet, while you wouldn’t dream of resto-modding a $800,000 Ferrari the prospect of changing your E9 – especially when it’s not the most sought after model – suddenly becomes much easier. As such, I really think the seller of this E9 made a pretty design much prettier with some minor modifications, some nice period details and a bit more sport with a heart transplant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 BMW 2800CS on eBay

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1974 BMW 3.0CS

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I recently got to play one of my favorite games, in which I finally catch the drivers of cars I often see parked and get to chat them up a little bit. In this case, it’s a silver 3.0CS that is very straight but has clearly been a daily driver since it was born. The owner cautiously espoused his love to the random stranger who had so briskly made a u-turn on his bike, but it was fun to get a little peek into the life of one of these absolutely classic BMWs. Today’s example is significantly nicer than the silver DD, thanks to low mileage, a beautifully restored interior, and the fact that it’s BROWN. I’ve been so pleased to see the rising appreciating for well-done brown sports cars, and this is the perfect example of how far brown can be from beige. All those nice things about it push this E9 into *gasp* modern BMW-price territory. I’d take this in a heartbeat.

Click for more details: 1974 BMW 3.0CS on Hemmings Motor News

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