In the latest episode of “Inside BMW Group Classic”, the guys are taking a closer look at the car that started it all when it comes to the Motorsport legacy of the Bavarian brand: the 3.0 CSL. Without this iconic car we probably wouldn’t have the most powerful letter in the world stuck to the boot of BMW models today. It was with the Batmobile that started the M Division and later turned into a classic.
The car seen below is fitted with the original livery used by the cars in the American racing events. The 3.0 CSL was bound to take to the track in the US wearing Texaco stickers on it, as the American company and BMW had agreed on a deal. Texaco famously has a logo featuring plenty of red and BMW created this livery for their collaboration. Unfortunately, things went south on the deal and the Texaco name wasn’t used on the car but the three stripes were kept on. This is how we got the famous M stripes.
And even though the guest in the video below won’t confirm the story, we had the pleasure of hearing it first hand from none other than Jochen Neerpasch in one of our interviews with the man who created the Motorsport division from the ground up. This is yet another beautiful example of how a failure can lead to a huge success later down the line.
As for the 3.0 CSL, the car was more of an experiment. BMW wanted to race really bad and created these cars as homologation specials back in the day. The rules for various motorsport events said that you first had to sell the car you wanted to race in a limited series beforehand. This is how the 3.0 CSL took shape, both the road-legal version and the racing alternative. The 3.0 CSL race car though was terribly expensive to make because it was a road car turned into a racer.
According to Jochen Neerpasch, this served as a perfect exercise back in the day, as BMW learned it was better to develop the race car first and then turn it into a road-legal model rather than the other way around because it was a lot cheaper. This is how things are done to this day over at the BMW M GmbH headquarters.