1976 BMW 3.5 CSL #43 Pilots: D. Quester, A. Krebs, A. Peltier Team: BMW Motorsport GmbH Race: DNF (Group 5 class) at Le Mans in 1976 Ixo - LMC150 (diecast)
In 1968 BMW launched its first “E9 coupé”, the 2800 CS. Later on, with an eye on racing, in 1972 the Bavarian brand released the 3.0 CSL. This model was a homologation special, built specifically for the European Touring Car Championship. The following year BMW enlarged the engine to 3.2 liters and sold the car with an aerodynamic package, the famous “Batmobile”. The 3.0 CSL (with its 3.2-liter engine 🤨) competed all over Europe in the ETCC with great success. Furthermore, in 1973 it even achieved a class victory at La Sarthe. However, for 1976 FIA introduced a new Group 5 “Special Production Car” category. Group 5 cars would participate in the World Championship for Makes series and rules were very liberal. In essence, the racecar only needed to retain the bonnet, roof, doors and rail panel of the passenger car.
Known as the “silhouette class”, Group 5 allowed manufacturers to be VERY creative. The cars had wide boxy wheel arches and an over-the-top body style. In a partnership with Schnitzer Motorsport, BMW built four 3.5 CSL in Group 5 specs. The powerhouse was BMW’s M49/3, a water-cooled inline-6. The M49/3 had a cast-iron block and aluminum alloy head, displacing 3496 cm³. Counting on DOHC and 24 valves, it produced 470-485 hp according to race tune. All those horses arrived on the tarmac via a Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox. The chassis was a steel unibody with aluminum panels, with the whole car weighing around 1000 kg. This 3.5 CSL #43 is chassis #2275982, which raced at Le Mans in 1976. Unfortunately though, it abandoned the race due to a fire.
This was a model I was very anxious about. Originally only Spark made it, and nowadays it’s impossible to find. I love the 3.5 CSL’s boxy looks, and I find this livery quite striking. So when I found out that Ixo released it in late 2019 (I think) I was very pleased. However, I hadn’t seen detailed photos of the model, so I didn’t know what to expect. Nonetheless, Ixo came through and delivered a GREAT model*. Honestly, it’s a doozy. I’m sure Spark would have done better, but for a diecast I think Ixo aced the model. As I said so many times before, this is all the detail level I need in 1:43. I have come to really appreciate the brand’s current racecar offerings. Nonetheless, Ixo could do without those pesky TA screws on the plinth 😣.
*Unfortunately, according to Ixo’s site, the 3.5 CSL #43 is now listed as “discontinued”.