By Maarten Hoffmann

This was the first BMW l ever drove and it was a revelation. I was going through my American muscle phase at the time and thought them to be the bee’s knees until a friend of mine went travelling for six months and asked me to look after his CSL. Wow - it blew me away.

That car would now be worth a small fortune and if you can get your hands on a good one, don’t hesitate.

This aluminium 3.0-litre CSL has climbed 40% in value over the last decade and 20% in the last four years. The other variants, the 3.0 CS or CSi, are both great buys but the prize is the ultra-rare lightweight CSL models with their alloy body panels and acrylic side windows.

One look at the car explains its appeal. It has the long hood/short rear deck proportions that define a classic coupe, and it bears elegantly understated detailing such as the chrome trim lining its mid-section and surrounding its windows. All four windows retract, which lends excellent visibility and a convertible-like feeling inside. The model was one of the first times the marque used the now-immediately recognisable BMW twin-headlamp and twin-kidney grille face. So lovely was the 3.0 Coupe that when BMW started its famed Art Car programme—commissioning renowned painters to create custom works on their vehicles—the first cars chosen, as templates for works by Frank Stella and Alexander Calder, were 3.0 Coupes.

As wonderful as these cars are to look at and drive, and as much as they seem a great bet for further escalation in value, they do not come without hazards. Foremost is rust in the non-alloy body parts. The contract for the 3.0 Coupe’s handsome body was farmed out to German coach-builder Karman, and many of the unseen seams of the vehicle have a propensity for rot. Hagerty Classic Insurance once described the 3.0 Coupe’s sensuous curves as, “one of the prettiest ways to creatively trap moisture ever devised.”

They were built between 1971 - 1975 and I found a few good examples at around £40,000 but check the history, every inch of the body and that the mileage is correct, then you would be sitting on a car that will be worth at least £50,000 in few years time and the only way is up.


Production: 1972 - 1975

1265 manufactured: Only 500 were made in RHD.

Engine: 3003cc, 24 valve SOHC in-line six-cylinder

Power: 197bhp @ 5500rpm

Top speed: 133mph

0-60mph: 7.3 seconds

Fuel consumption: 25mpg

Gearbox: Four-speed manual

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