Featured: BMW 3.0CSL is a Speeding Art Exhibit

BMW 3.0CSL is a Speeding Art Exhibit

By Petrolicious Productions
December 5, 2014
15 Comments

Photography by Peter Aylward

Back in 1975, artist Alexander Calder created the first ever BMW Art Car in the now famed series. Commissioned by French auctioneer and racing driver Hervé Poulain, the 3.0 CSL competed in the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Jean Guichet, Sam Posey, and Poulain. It failed to finish, retiring after nine hours with universal joint failure. Unfortunately it was also one of Calder’s last pieces as he died later the same year.

This car is not Calder’s original creation, rather a replica. But don’t judge it too harshly as it was built with the intention of paying tribute to the original, which has travelled the world in exhibitions but is sadly never driven. This particular Batmobile Art Car started life as a standard CSL road car and has been painstakingly prepared starting with the correct original CSL dry sump. Painted to represent the Art Car using all original wings and fenders with around one thousand hours spent on the bodywork before it even reached the paint-shop. Pushing roughly 420bhp and running on slicks, it weighs as close to 1000 kilograms as they can get it.

It’s running in a historic touring car series which often features cars from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s on the same grid. The drivers roster include Colin Turkington, the 2014 BTCC champion driver who competes in the eBay sponsored BMW 1 series, Sam Hancock, a former European Le Mans Series Champion and veteran of seven 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Sam Thomas, owner of Sam Thomas Racing, the guys that made the CSL what it is today and prepare it and many other historic racing cars in various series.

In the past we’ve asked what you think of replicas and kit cars, but we think we can all agree that if it’s being raced it beats being stored and hidden away, replica or not.

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Tom Walters
Tom Walters
2 years ago

Your feedback helps me a lot, A very meaningful event, I hope everything will go well temple run

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

I am busy restoring a 3.0CSL myself. Great article great blog!

Arthur Skinner
Arthur Skinner
9 years ago

I remember the IMSA version at the 24 hour at Daytona. What a gorgeous car. The exhaust exited on the right side and on the banking the cars ran about a foot from the wall and all that wonderful sound echoed off the banking down into the infield. Fantastic!!!

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
9 years ago
Reply to  Arthur Skinner

That’s a great thought! For some reason, I cannot recall ever hearing a BMW six race. Plenty of Jaguar, Prince, and Hakosuka, but never a BMW. I must do some YouTubing… Neko.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
9 years ago

Hmmmn .. I dunno !

On one hand this [ and all ‘ replicas ‘ ] annoys the hell out of me . On the other … in light of the original being for all practical purposes ‘ priceless ‘ [ as are all the BMW ‘ art cars ‘ ] … it sort of makes sense if one wanted to see it on the track again .

But lets be blunt here … Historic ‘ Racing ‘ isn’t racing … its posing and posturing …. and replicas in reality are created to deceive [ one’s self and/or the public at large ]

And … the ugly fact is at some point down the road 10 or 20 years from now you know some less than reputable owner will try and pass this off as the original .. or worse yet … the 2nd version no one knows about [ read about the whole ‘Captain America ‘ chopper debacle that recently occurred ]

So I’m going to say a big fat ugly NO to this one . And claim it to be a waste of a perfectly good CSL that’d been better off resto modded and kept on the road as the manufacture intended

PS; Horrific and abysmal photos !

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
9 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

…. hmmmn … thinking more about this ‘ replica ‘ … one needs to ask …. has the Alexander Calder estate as well as BMW Historic given permission for this ‘ replica ‘ to be created ? If not …. I’m seeing one hell of a lawsuit coming down the pike at a hundred miles an hour

Ben Thomas
Ben Thomas
9 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Obviously you have never seen historic racing . They go balls out like another race series . What a stupid comment to make about historic racing

Joseph Rodriguez
Joseph Rodriguez
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

So Mr. Martin, what do you drive. What holy relic do you have sitting in your garage that you thumb your nose to any car that someone obviously loves and has put that kind of effort into. I for one applaud anyone with passion who can make a dream like that come true as it is not for the faint of heart. Granted, any car must be properly represented but this kind of a build is not built for you, it’s not built for the judges, it’s not built for the public. It’s built for the individual who dreamt and built it.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
9 years ago

I don’t mind replicas, even if they’re not being raced to be honest. That being said, and I know this might be heresy, I think that it’s very sensible to go with a replica if you’re racing it. Sure, it’s nice to see the actual legends fighting it out themselves on the track, but it pains my heart to see them get demolished. If it’s “just a replica”, it’s not as bad (although it’s always sad to see a beautiful car being smashed).

I saw a 3.0 CSL competing in a classic race a couple of years ago and it was fantastic. He kept battling it out with a Corvette C3 for first place. The Batmobile pulled ahead in the corners, but once they got out on the straight the C3 just kept eating up the advantage. However, the straight seemed to be just about enough meters too short from the BMWs point of view.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
9 years ago

Great car! Replica or not, it is good to see it presented on a track. On the photography, a common mistake is to combine as many effects as possible – fake light leaks, x-pro, film filters – with a view it makes photographs ‘better’. Use one effect, to emulate one thing, after you’ve perhaps become familiar with what XP2, Ektar, Fortia, Tri-X or whatever you’re trying to emulate [i]really [/i]looks like… Unfortunately, the MyFace generation is not used to what film looks like often assume anything like this is ‘retro’ and embraces it.

Pity, as the base photographs here do have merit regardless – great subject, strong compositions, etc. The photographer should have the self confidence to let the work stand alone, without the fake betterments.

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer
9 years ago

Great pics and I dig the retro vibe. The CSL is one of the most perfect automobile shapes ever penned in my opinion.

justin
justin
9 years ago

AWFUL photographs !
Lay off the filters dude ! !

joeblow
joeblow
9 years ago
Reply to  justin

I second that. Beautiful amazing car but pitiful photography

Julian Beech
Julian Beech
9 years ago

One day I’ll be rich, and when it happens, I’m getting a csl

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
9 years ago
Reply to  Julian Beech

You and me both:D

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