1973 BMW 3.0 CSL Coupé

Debuting in May 1972, the 3.0 CSL (Coupé Sport Leicht) epitomized innovative homologation. In response to the marketing department’s demands, BMW engineers devised a limited-production “homologation special” to adhere to the stringent regulations of Group 2 racing.

By stripping away excess trim, utilizing thinner steel for the main bodyshell, employing aluminum alloy for doors, bonnet, and boot lid, and integrating Perspex for side windows, a weight reduction of 300lb (136kg) was achieved—truly living up to its “Leicht” (light) moniker. Nevertheless, most of the 500 UK-delivered cars retained their interior trim, known as the ‘City Package.’

Initially homologated with a slightly over-bored (3,003cc) engine to compete in the over 3-litre class, the 3.0 CSL boasted 206bhp for road use and well over 300 horsepower for the racetrack. In 1973, the engine’s stroke was extended, enlarging the capacity to 3,153cc (approximately 3.2 liters), and midway through the season, racing CSLs adopted the ‘Batmobile’ aerodynamic package, featuring a front chin spoiler, substantial rear wing, and various other enhancements.

Toine Hezemans clinched the 1973 European Touring Car Championship for BMW piloting a Batmobile and co-drove one to a class victory at Le Mans that same year alongside Dieter Quester. From 1975 onwards, the Batmobiles secured an unprecedented five consecutive European Touring Car Championships, marking a remarkable era of dominance.

Photo Source: RM Sotheby’s