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In pictures: the rare BMW that launched a racing dynasty

Classic & Sports Car Logo By Martin Buckley of Classic & Sports Car | Slide 1 of 16: Like many of history’s great cars, the BMW CSL – launched in 1972 – was a homologation special: a roadgoing masterpiece built to qualify the model for racing.

While it enjoyed great success on track, the street variant of the CSL also became a legend in its own right – a 3-litre lightweight saloon with incredible performance, built to the tune of just 1200 examples.

But, while the fabled ‘Batmobile’ variant has always captured the most attention thanks to its bonkers body kit, it was the purer, carburettor-equipped early cars that really created the CSL.

Few were built and little is known about them – so how did they come to be? Here's the story.

Hands-on with the ultra-rare 3.0 CSL in its purest form

Like many of history’s great cars, the BMW CSL – launched in 1972 – was a homologation special: a roadgoing masterpiece built to qualify the model for racing. While it enjoyed great success on track, the street variant of the CSL also became a legend in its own right – a 3-litre lightweight saloon with incredible performance, built to the tune of just 1200 examples. But, while the fabled ‘Batmobile’ variant has always captured the most attention thanks to its bonkers body kit, it was the purer, carburettor-equipped early cars that really created the CSL. Few were built and little is known about them – so how did they come to be? Here's the story.
© James Mann/Classic & Sports Car
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