This Historic 1974 BMW 3.5 CSL IMSA "Batmobile" Is the Ultimate Ultimate Driving Machine
This race-winning example is going to be a must-have for any serious BMW collector.
BMW has churned out some pretty stellar machinery in its 100-year-plus history as an automaker. The E30 M3, the M1, the original M5 sedan, the Isetta bubble car, and the 2002 all spring to mind when the topic skews to Bayerische motoren brilliance. But if you were to ask some BMW enthusiasts what the ultimate roundel-badged machine is, they might simply say "The Batmobile. "
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, and it is slated to be auctioned off early next year by Stratas Auctions.
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 rear 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 contested. The car itself is by no means a "mint condition" example, and battle scars like cracks in the paint and bodywork 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 thrashing around, this might just be the car for you.