Martin Wooler is the lucky owner of this stunning BMW CSL – 1 of 500 right-hand-drive CSLs and we went to see Arago Automotive in South London. It’s also where the owner of the shop – Tom Gilpin – is building an interesting project E10.
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Yes, for those that know their “E” numbers it’s an 02, but not any 02, this one is being completely re-engineered to use the running gear and engine from a BMW i3. Tom acquired a light frontal damaged i3 and is now building an “i02”.
Not the first electric 02, of course, as many of you will remember the 1972 Munich Olympics and the fleet of electric 1602s that BMW built to run athletes and marshals around the Olympic park. This “i02” should have a much better range and speed, of course, since things have moved on a bit since 1972, especially with electric cars, batteries and computers.
More on the “i02” soon as Tom hopes to have it complete end of the year, so currently as a bare shell he’s certainly got his work cut out.
So back to the beautiful CSL. Martin picked me up and we drove down the M11 towards London. The BMW CSL’s silky smooth straight-six 3003cc engine is an absolute dream. Martin’s CSL also has a stainless steel exhaust system and sounds lovely with the exhaust note bouncing of the walls and buildings in London.
We drove through Rotherhithe tunnel and I’d forgotten how old it is. It was opened in 1908 and this narrow dirty old tunnel still has bi-directional traffic and, of course, nowadays restricted to 20 mph. It even has pavements all the way through so pedestrians can use it.
Anyway back to the BMW CSL, its comfortable Scheel bucket seats, pillarless windows made a sunny September day in London a fantastic day out.
Never have I been in a car that draws so much attention. People wave, hoot and slow down to stare at this car, and that’s something you do not get in an “02” (which I own). I guess it’s about “class.”
Remember, this rare car was more expensive than a Jaguar E-Type, or a house, back in the early seventies. It meant you had money and with prices for a mint example now fetching over £150,000 it still reflects money and wealthy owners. Therefore, it will always draw attention and with less than 500 genuine RHD CSLs made, you’ll be lucky to ever see one again.
To top it off, Martin’s BMW CSL is in my favorite 02 color as well – the gorgeous Taiga Green Metallic. I must thank Martin for the memorable trip, it was a real treat. That evening I found myself trawling through the classic car adverts looking for one, I did find a nice example, but I’d have to re-mortgage the house to buy it. Maybe even trade in the BMW 2002 and sell a kidney or two.
Yet, it was a nice experience and dream whilst it lasted. Thanks to Martin and Tom for a wonderful day out in a stunning BMW!