What you’re looking at here is one of four 3.5litre CSL’s built by the factory in 1976. Of those only three survive and two run. One is not used as it’s an original Art Car and stays with BMW under cover and Tony’s CSL is the only 1976 car with its original engine fitted.
Tony says of his find, “At the time it wasn’t one of those cars that had gone down in folklore, it was just simply forgotten. In fact when it came back to the UK, BMW Germany came over to inspect it as it had been lost from their records.”
The ex-Schnitzer car pictured here spent 1977 in the German Championship driven by Sepp Manhalter for the Memphis Racing Team in white with the red and two-tone blue stripes. The car won the Havirov International race in the Czech Republic, but at the end of the year a wealthy Indonesian businessman came and made an offer for the car that the team couldn’t refuse. It was then airfreighted to Asia where it was repainted again—this time with Bentol cigarette logos—and driven in the Jakarta Indonesian Grand Prix, which it won. But in 1978, running over a high curb cracked the sump and the resultant oil loss was bad enough to seize the engine. Spare parts and local mechanics that could work on such a car were understandably hard to find in the Far East, so it was pushed into a barn… where it stayed dormant until the early 1990s.
Englishman Tony Walker found the car by accident while looking at another stored in the same shed. The locals knew it was there, but they didn’t have any idea what it was, just thinking it was something someone had made as a one-off—who would put such an insane body kit on a race car? But under the dust Tony knew what it was instantly. Unfortunately the barn find of a lifetime wasn’t a fairytale, as despite doing nothing apart from letting it slowly decay, its Indonesian owner didn’t want to sell the CSL, and it took almost another decade before he finally gave in and let Tony take it back to Europe where it could be brought back to life.
Understandably after so long in the tropical climate, all the rubber and magnesium parts had perished, although this would be the same on any car left untouched for so long. The rebuild was thorough, painstaking, detailed, and it took six years in all, but the end result is one absolutely stunning car. And a very original one at that. The engine was repairable, the only damage on any of the bodywork was at the front splitter, damaged in the same curb-bashing incident that cracked the sump. Back in the original Gösser Bier colors
When finished with the restoration, it was brought to the 2006 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Le Mans Classic of 2008 and 2012.