BMW 3.0 CSL
Introduced in May 1972, the 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built with the intention of making it eligible to race in the European Touring Car Championship. Featuring a unit body constructed from thinner steel, aluminium alloy doors, bonnet and boot lid, and Perspex side windows, 1,265 were manufactured in total. Interestingly, the 'L' in the model's designation originally stood for leicht (light) in contrast to lang (long) in other BMW model designations. Notably, the five hundred 3.0 CSLs exported to the United Kingdom were built with the importer's request for maintaining soundproofing, electric windows, and stock E9 bumpers, resulting in a heavier build. The 3.0 CSL was never sold in the United States.
The initial engine was the same as the 3.0 CS, but the bore was increased by one quarter of a millimetre in August 1972, allowing for a slight boost in horsepower to meet displacement requirements for racing in the over three litre category. This was followed further in 1973, as a substantial increase in the engine's stroke allowed for a displacement of 3,153cc. This new model was then homologated alongside a range of aerodynamic features, such as a large air dam, short fins on the front fenders, a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof, and a tall rear wing. The latter was not installed in the factories, and was instead made available separately for installation after purchase due to its illegality for use on German roads.
These improvements allowed for the successes of the 3.0 CSL, winning the European Touring Car Championship in 1972, 1975-1979, and taking class victory at Le Mans in 1973, as well as the German Touring Car Grand Prix at Nürburgring. The model was also raced in the IMSA GT Championship in 1975, with drivers like Sam Posey, Brian Redman, and Ronnie Peterson coming away with a few race wins. Finally, the first two BMW Art Cars were the 3.0 CSLs, painted by Alexander Calder and Frank Stella. The 3.5 CSL, meanwhile, was built specifically for Group 5 racing, and BMW earned three race wins in the 1976 World Championship for Makes with this model.
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