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1972 BMW 3.0 CSL Clone

Posted by WindingRoad about 5 years, 8 months ago

Location: Emeryville, CA

Thanks to the financial stability provided Neue Klasse cars (the most well-known of which is the 2002), BMW was able to return to making larger cars in the late 1960’s. Available as both sedans (known as the Bavaria in the United States), and elegant pillarless coupes, these large six-cylinder cars are both handsome and robust. They were available in a number of configurations in terms of engine size, fuel delivery, and transmission type, the most desirable of course is the now iconic CSL. 

Although the competition version, the CSL was quite a successful production car, with over 1,000 examples produced in standard trim, and a further 167 in the very rare Batmobile series form. Early CSLs were carbureted, and moving through the production cycle, fuel injection was introduced as was standard on the E9 chassis CSi models cars, although not available to the US marketplace originally. The Street cars were always oriented more toward grand touring than road-burning performance. This car, however, has seen extensive upgrading including the installation of a genuine 3.0 CSL engine (number 2212191), which has greatly transformed its road-going character.

Originally painted in the sought after Golf yellow- which is rarely seen on non CSLs- and desirably optioned with air conditioning, electric sunroof, power windows, and the 5-speed manual transmission standard to CSi’s, this particular CSi made an exciting candidate for conversion to CSL Clone status. 

Previously a one-owner car for some 24 years, and professional converted to its current CSL configuration in about 2006 by the owner at that time, the following work was performed: 

The engine was taken from an early CSL, stripped down, examined, and the cylinder head rebuilt. 

Stainless fender flares installed, 

Scheel seats, and Petri steering wheel installed (both are original CSL parts)

Added front spoiler, roof spoiler, trunk lid spoiler, side stripes, roof antenna, wind splits and rear bumper (all are replica CSL parts) 

Installation of a complete stainless steel exhaust system

Addition of an engine start button (in place of the hazard switch)

Installation of an AM/FM/CD player with 4 speakers, 

Addition of a front strut brace, 

Addition of a battery kill switch, and the battery relocation to the trunk, 

Conversion to a modern aluminum radiator, 

Trust and shocks upgraded to Bilsteins. 

The wheels are original Alpina, upgraded to 16’s

New Yokohama Ecos 205/55/16 front and 225/50/16 rear tires.

Under the current ownership period considerable detailing and sorting has been performed, and the car just completed a long distance, high speed run into Fantasy Junction from Nevada. Although the electric windows are slow to operate, and the wipers are not currently operating, the car proved to be very entertaining to drive, and generates much appreciation among BMW fanatics on the open road. 

Best described as a driver level car cosmetically, the car presents well at first glance, but is certainly not so nice as to discourage use under varied road conditions. It would be ideally suited to events such as the Rising Sun Rally, or The California Melee. Fitted with a genuine CSL powerplant as confirmed by engine number, we feel this car is intrinsically somewhat more important than a standard CSL Clone. It employs the iconic CSL presence without the delicate thin aluminum body panels, plastic windows, flimsy hood and trunk lip props, or $300,000 price tag preventing its enjoyment as the ultimate driving machine!

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