The legendary BMW CSL ‘Batmobiles’ were featured at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, held March 9th on the fairways of the Golf Club of Amelia Island next to the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Group 4 race car that won the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring won Best in Class at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours, while the BMW 3.0 CSL Group 2 racer that won the 1973 European Sedan Championship took second place at the 19th annual event. The highlight of the class of BMW 3.0 CSL race and road cars was the Alexander Calder BMW Art Car from 1975 — the first in the well-known series of BMW Art Cars.
The 3.0 CSL race cars were the first cars to be developed under the then-new BMW Motorsport GmbH subsidiary, established in 1972 and led by Jochen Neerpasch. They were also the first to sport the new official colors of BMW Motorsport — red, purple and blue. Based on the production 3.0 CS coupe, the aluminum skinned CSL (L = lightweight) homologation special, nicknamed the ‘Batmobile’ by its fans, formed the basis for an assault on Group 2 through Group 5 European touring car racing that would make it one of the most successful production race cars of all time.
The BMW CSL ‘Batmobile’ racers arrived from Europe wearing a frosting of giant wings, huge fender boxes and big spoilers, all powered by a 430 hp straight-six engine that made a glorious noise and propelled BMW’s coupe to over 180 mph. American road racing fans took one look and fell in love.
“BMW’s ‘Batmobiles’ introduced American road racing fans to a new and different style of driving,” said Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “BMW factory driver Hans Stuck led the charge with wild exhibitions of flat-out, wheel lifting, sideways, ‘eleven-tenths’ ‘Batmobile’ racing that had nothing to do with the traditional smooth techniques of the grand masters of the ‘50s and ‘60s. It was wild and mad, but it was frantic, fast and fun to watch.”