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, Jochen Neerpasch’s 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. And of course, the homologation road-going version has been a hot commodity since new, inspiring plenty of replicas. That is exactly what we have today – originally, a 2800CS that has been converted to look like a later CSL:
One notable omission from the EAG Ultimate BMW garage I wrote up last Monday was an E9. The E9 represented one of BMW Motorsports first production endeavors in the 3.0CSL. But beyond that, it also one of the prettiest cars BMW and their pals at Karmann Coachworks ever produced in my opinion. The elegant pillar-less design married with impossibly slender A and C pillars to create an elegant, sweeping greenhouse over the low, angular lines of the main body. Recently my wife asked me if there were any attractive cars made in the 1970s, and the E9 was my immediate retort. They were more muscular and yet elegant than the earlier and somewhat awkward 2000CS they were based upon. It’s just right.
Now, today’s example isn’t the mega-desirable 3.0CSL. It’s not even a 3.0, but the earlier 2800CS. It’s also undergone quite a few changes into a bit of a resto-mod. But for me, the look is bang-on and this is one of the better looking E9s I’ve seen recently. It was certainly worth a further look:
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:
Okay, I’m a little early. I wanted to celebrate hitting 2,800 “Likes” on our Facebook Fanpage with a BMW 2800CS, one of the prettiest cars BMW made. While we’re close, we’re not quite there – but hopefully this post and others help inspire people to read our page. In any event, the car. The 2800 took the basic formula of the New Class 2000CS and added slightly different styling touches and a larger motor. With around 170hp on tap, it was pretty powerful in its day and unlike many of the more recent coupes, was a relative lightweight. It was also quite pretty, one of the more timeless designs BMW produced. It managed to both be futuristic and classically proportioned, and really the 2000 and 2800 set the tone for BMW coupes for the next 20 plus years through the end of the E24 6-series production. This particular example presents well in classic light metallic blue, though it’s not its original color: