1974 BMW 3.5 CSL IMSA “Batmobile:” The Ultimate BMW?

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And no, they aren’t talking about Bruce Wayne’s fantastic contraption. Instead, they mean the 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL. Based on the E9-generation 2800 CS, the 3.0 CSL was introduced in as a homologation special clearing BMW to go racing with it in the Group 2 of the European Touring Car Championship. In 1974, the 3.5 CSL IMSA you see here was built to take BMW racing in the IMSA GTO class. The car is slated to be auctioned off early next year by Stratas Auctions, a classic auctions company that recently gave MotorTrend the change to drive a classic Ford RS200 (stay tuned for more on that).

The biggest change from the Group 2 spec car is highlighted right there in the name. The cast-iron block, DOHC I-6 has been beefed up from 3.0 to 3.5 liters and makes a very healthy 440 horsepower at 8,600 rpm. The aero that made the batmobile famous in the first place is exaggerated, too. The chin is deeper, the rear wing is much larger, and the body itself, while not any wider, has a different design at the back with a visible mesh that won’t be found on the non-GTO spec batmobiles.

This particular car was piloted to victory by British driver Brian Redman at the 12 hours of Sebring in 1974, one of the first American races that BMW’s then-nascent motorsports division ever competed in. The car itself is by no means a “mint condition” example, and battle scars like cracks in the paint and the body work itself are evidence that this car was raced hard. The interior is also bare bones, and there is even a little bit of rust building up in some places.

Clearly, if you want a mint-condition Batmobile, you’ll have to look elsewhere. But if you want an extremely rare piece of BMW’s racing heritage that you won’t feel bad about driving around, this might just be the car for you.



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