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Belated Motorsport Monday: 1973 BMW CSL Race Car

This post is in our archives. Links in this post may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.

One of the best ways to get into a classic race car is to buy a fully built replica. While everyone really wants the real deal, no one wants to step up to pay the bills; and even if you did, would you really have the serious coin necessary to race a near priceless original race car to the max? While undertaking one of these race replica projects can be entertaining to say the least, more often than not the best way to get into one of these cars is to buy one that’s done. Today’s CSL replica is no stranger to the interweb faithful; it’s been featured on sites such as Bring A Trailer multiple times, and it’s up for sale again. In one of the most recognizable liveries run on German cars from the 1970s, sit back and soak up this awesome visual feast:


Year: 1973
Model: CSL
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: N/A mi
Price: Reserve Auction

Owner purchased car in 2009 from a dealer in Florida who was claiming it was an original Alpina car. It was a street car until the early 90’s. when it was converted to a race car and ran SCCA, BMWCCA, and vintage events in the Midwest. I ran it in several vintage events in 2009, but encountered several issues deriving from sitting in a warehouse in Florida for too long. I decided to rebuild the car and properly prepare it for vintage racing. I chose to build it as a tribute car to the Alpina Group 2 car that ran in the early 70’s.

In 2010 the car was completely stripped, the tub straightened, panels replaced, and a proper roll cage installed. The car was then re-assembled, tested, and raced at many important vintage events over the next 3 years.

The chassis features aluminum doors, trunk lid, and hood; fiberglass Group 2 fenders; Ground Effects suspension; custom trailing arms; custom camber plates; original BMW aero package; CR Getrag 5 speed transmission; E28 rear subframe and l/s diff.

The engine was just freshened by Tinney Performance and has dyne time only. Stock M30 block and crank with triple 50 mm Webers. Engine specs:
Displacement: 3583 cc
Compression: 12.95:1
Torque: 301 lb/ft @ 5400 rpm
HP: 370 @ 7100 rpm

Car is ready to race, and comes with a spare set of BBS basket weave wheels with used Avon slicks, and a custom muffled exhaust for use where track noise compliance is required.

Here are some helpful links to articles, videos, and threads about the car:

Build thread from the E9 Forum:

Article from Redline Review:

Build photos:

“Success story” from ‘Bring-a-trailer’ web site:

Pictures and promotion from ‘Bring-a-Trailer:’

Videos of the car in action from my Youtube channel:

There’s a serious amount of kit here, and while 370 horsepower may not sound like a whole lot compared to the nuclear-grade weapons coming out of Munich these days, this car likely weighs in at around half the weight of those street cars making the performance sensational. I love the “only what is necessary” approach to the build; it looks clean and simple, the way you want a race car. Plenty has been written about this car so I won’t reinvent the wheel, but sufficed to say a lot of money was spent preparing it. The asking price is currently quite high, but for example to buy a set of those vintage magnesium BBS wheels would set you back the asking price of some E24s in there entirety. Still, with the reserve currently set at what looks like over $100,000, this car isn’t cheap – but it offers a stellar alternative to the vintage race Porsches that often command the same or more money.