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Ex-Martini 1978 BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ Group 2 For Sale

Submitted by on March 8, 2019

1978 BMW CSL Batmobile Group 2

Images via William i’Anson

This 1978 BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ Group 2 car was built by Willi Martini and raced a class-leading season in the Valvoline Langstreckenpokal in 1979. It’s up for sale at William i’Anson.

This car’s first life began in 1976, when it was built by BMW specialist Willi Martini from a factory shell. It was raced by Michael Martini, often partnering with Hannes Schneid in the Endurance Cup and German Touring Car Championship. This continued until 1978 when the car was crashed.

1978 BMW CSL Batmobile Group 2

It was rebuilt with a new body shell, 001/79. to begin life anew as the car you see here today. The new car brought a 3.2-litre six cylinder across from the original car, along with gearbox and running gear, and made its debut with the 1979 season.

Running in Alpine colours, it debuted in the four-hour ADAC Ahr Rotwein Trophy on the Nurburgring driven by Heinz Becker. It failed to classify in that race and missed the next round, but would be driven to a class win in the International ADAC Rundstrecken Trophy by Becker and Michael Martini a few weeks later. Becker immediately followed that up with a class win in the sprint race that followed.

1978 BMW CSL Batmobile Group 2

001/79 entered its first World Sportscar Championship round in June, driving the Nurburgring 1000 kilometers with Becker and Martini, but not going the full distance. Class wins in the ADAC Bilstein Cup, ADAC Reinoldusfahrt, RCM Grenzland-Rennen, ADAC Barbarossa Preis, DMV 250 Meilen-Rennen and ADAC RBG Rundstrecken-Rennen would follow, bringing team dangerously close to the championship title.

The CSL’s homologation expired at the end of the 1979 season, so Martini began developing it to suit Group 5 specifications. When the Valvoline Trophy made Group 5 cars ineligible, however, he would move on to a BMW 535i Group 2, borrowing some parts from this car, which would eventually be sold to Helmut Steinbrink.

1978 BMW CSL Batmobile Group 2

In 2004 American Jimmy Baker bought the car and took it to the United States. Baker verified its history with Michael Martini, and kept it through to 2012 when it was bought by its current owner. At this point it had a works BMW livery and was set up for road use, still featuring the Group 5 arches Willi Martini had installed thirty-odd years prior.

1978 BMW CSL Batmobile Group 2

With the help of BMW expert Ron Perry, the car was restored over several years, including sourcing period-correct Alpine parts. The car was meticulously built back to its Martini 3.2-litre Group 2 specifications and completed for an appearance in the 2016 Monterey Motorsports Reunion, where BMW was the featured marque.

The car will be sold with 2016 FIA HTPs, in immaculate condition and ready to race. For the full history and details, see William i’Anson’s website here.

History & images via William i’Anson

1978 BMW CSL Batmobile Group 2

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