Widebody Racer: 1972 BMW E9

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As the resident BMW fanatic, it’s not hard to see why this photo got my blood pumping. A barn find BMW E9 coupe in any form is exciting, but especially when it has the widebody box flares attached and all the other clues to a racing history. Well, this 1972 BMW 3.5 CSI here on RaceCarsDirect has since been restored, but it’s still an amazing find now that the resurrection is complete. 

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Not much info is given about its history, but the seller claims this photo shows the car in period race trim. It sounds like this was not a factory car, but rather a private entry that had the genuine Group 4 aluminum body kit added on at some point in its life. My guess is this car has been a race car since nearly new and based on the authenticity of the kit and the Alpina graphics, the original owner spared no expense in making a replica of BMW’s lightweight CSL cars built for the European Touring Car championship.

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Now completely restored, the barn find E9 wears the classic Motorsports livery and wide BBS wheels, along with the various aero bits that helped these cars fly on tracks like Le Mans. The engine has also been worked over to 3.5L with triple Webers and a dogleg gearbox (likely close ratio) to stir the inline-six to life. I’ve always found these cars beautiful, but not standing still – only at full chat with the various spoilers doing everything they can to keep the car on the ground.

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Image courtesy of philscarblog.wordpress.com

To be a race fan in the ’60s and ’70s had to have been incredible. Access was easier, the price of entry was lower and the cars were so much closer to the real thing. Aero kits reigned supreme and paint jobs were extensions of personalities, not corporate branding. The image above captures the spirit of these E9 racecars perfectly, but the car for sale here needs some rub marks on its fenders and brake dust on its wheels to be perfect, in my opinion. For about $115,000 U.S., one of you could have the chance to get some grass stains on the knees of this restored E9 CSL homage – but I get the first ride-along.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. jimbosidecar

    Don’t think you’ll find any bargains on this site. It’s UK based.

    • Jeff Staff

      Definitely no deals, especially for a significant car like this one. If that provenance can be proven, it’s a special car.

  2. Dolphin Member

    It’s expensive, but any scarce race version of a car like this is going to be expensive, especially if it has just been restored to perfect as-raced condition. The asking for this car is equivalent to $115K, which is less that the highest recent sale prices of some of these racing CSLs.

    The thing is, you won’t be using this car on the road, so that leaves only two uses: as a display car in a collection, or as a route to getting invited to high-end events where cars like this are raced against each other on proper tracks. From the description, a problem with this car might be a lack of evidence that it was a race car back in the day. If not, then it might not be eligible at some of the better events.

    If there isn’t any good evidence that this particular CSL ever raced back in the day, then I think the car is probably overpriced. But it’s a heck of a car anyway, and any BMW fan or any fan of vintage Euro touring car racing would probably give anything to own it. Show up at any BMW meet and this car would be the center of attention all day long.

    Me? I’ve got the poster that shows Hans Stuck airborne in one on the Nurburgring, and that’s as close as I’m going to get.

  3. Ukracer

    I’m not convinced this one ever saw a track. The period photos and as found pictures don’t show a cage and the restored car seems to have a full road interior.

  4. Bullethead

    I’ve owned five E9s, and for the last twenty-four years my favorite, an unmolested rust-free Schorsch Meier delivered ’72 CSL. When the Sebring winning factory car was sold to BMWNA, I drove 1200 miles to scavenge unobtanium from the well-known seller. I’ve seen at least two dozen of the real things up close, have driven one and raced against another. Plenty of non-lightweight coupes starting with the 2800CS got the racer treatment, and it’s no secret BMW poached Ford team personnel to build their program. Those cars, and genuine Schnitzer or Alpina cars are six to seven figures now. I remember some cars with just a roll bar, but these chassis are so flexi EVERYONE added tubes and by the ’71-72 season six was typical. The seller claims this RHD car has genuine Alpina alloy flares, and if that’s true they alone are worth $20K of more. If the Alpina engine remained in any form that would substantially bump the price. But I’m also doubtful this car raced… there’s only one way to know and that’s research the UK registration number against results of Euro sedan races of the period.

    The pin-drive wheels and hubs are $$, but the wheels are as wrong as the aftermarket wing, roof spoiler and wind-splits, as is what little we can make of the interior, and no engine/suspension shots? One also wonders: if it DID have history why wouldn’t you finish it to that, rather than just another Motorsport look-a-like? On the other hand, if the engine has been built right, forget streeting it. Gut the interior, add the required safety gear and go vintage racing.

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