1976 BMW 3.5 CSL Group 5 'Batmobile'

Introduced in May 1972, the 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built to make the car eligible for racing in the European Touring Car Championship.

The 'L' in the designation meant leicht (light). The lightness was achieved by using thinner steel to build the body shell, removing the trim and soundproofing, using aluminium for the doors, bonnet, and boot lid, and replacing the side windows with Perspex. Initially using the same engine as the 3.0 CS, the 3.0 CSL was given a very small increase in displacement to 3,003 cc to allow the CSL to be raced in the 'over three litre' racing category. Further changes in 1973 included an aerodynamic package which featured a large air dam, short fins running along the front wings, a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof, and a tall rear wing. The rear wings were not installed at the factory, but were left in the boot for installation after purchase. This was done because the wings were illegal for use on German roads. The full aero package earned the racing CSLs the nickname 'Batmobile'.

In 1973, Toine Hezemans won the European Touring Car Championship in a 3.0 CSL and co-drove a 3.0 CSL with Dieter Quester to a class victory at Le Mans. 3.0 CSLs would win the European Touring Car Championship again every year from 1975 to 1979.

The 3.5 CSL was built for Group 5 racing and BMW won three races in the 1976 World Championship for Makes with this model.

With these results, it was the most successful BMW in the 1976 championship resulting in BMW being 2nd overall in World Championship, only beaten by the Works Porsche 935. This example is currently available from Jan B. Lühn, click on the link below for more information. Photos courtesy of Jan B. Lühn