Cloning a BMW 3.0 CSL

By Staff Writer
Oct 15, 2018 | BMW | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Originally posted by Edward Higginbotham in 2017

Each year, we host 50 of the country’s fastest track cars at Virginia International Raceway for the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge.

Back in 2017, one entry definitely stood out to officials and competitors alike: Billy Glavin’s 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL. Crowds gathered and gawked as Billy’s CSL slowly made its way through the tech line.

This blast from the past is owned by Billy’s father Bill, but is prepared and driven by Billy. Together they founded a shop called Jr III Racing that specializes in track preparation and support for vintage race cars in Mooresville, North Carolina. This BMW is one of their shop cars.

So is it actually one of the 3.0 CSLs campaigned by BMW in the 1970’s? No, but that doesn’t make it any less incredible.

The build all started with inspiration from the famous poster of Hans Stuck airborne at the Nürburgring in a 3.0 CSL. Both Billy and Bill knew they wanted one. Since it was not possible to obtain the actual factory car, they set out to build that car on the poster. To keep things as authentic as possible, it would be created from the ground up as an FIA Group 2 car as raced in 1973.

A clean CS chassis was located, striped of all parts and sent out for acid dipping. Then the roll cage and bodywork began. The aero kit and fenders were sourced from the factory molds, which had been sold by BMW. The car was completed in 2010 but underwent a major overhaul and modification in 2016.

The original engine was pulled out and replaced with a fully built, period correct single-cam M30 engine with slide throttles and Kugelfischer injection. That combo is now making around 400 horsepower at the crank.

Along with the engine swap, the suspension and chassis were upgraded to handle higher speeds and loads. All suspension mounting points were converted to solid mounts. The steering box was replaced with a rack and pinion—a modification that the factory homologated in 1973. The car was also converted to centerlock hubs to allow period correct BBS wheels to be run.

All the modifications on the car were done to be as period correct as possible in hopes of obtaining SVRA Gold Medallion status. The one area that the builders note as not period correct is the safety equipment inside the cockpit for the driver. The car uses the latest safety equipment, including Schroth FIA race nets on either side of the driver and a Lifeline Novec fire system.

After many years of development, the car is starting to reach its full potential. Billy may not have brought the absolute fastest car to the 2017 Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge, but it was perhaps the coolest. His 3.0 CSL received both the Competitors’ and Officials’ Choice awards at the event. It also claimed the Fastest Vintage award with a very quick 2:08.463 lap time.

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View comments on the GRM forums
LanEvo HalfDork
10/15/18 10:03 a.m.

Is this the same CSL clone that ran the Pittsburgh Vintage GP this summer?

Storz SuperDork
10/15/18 10:36 a.m.

That is the stuff of dreams! 

tlott01 New Reader
10/17/18 12:12 p.m.

Wow - just wow. Somewhere in my boxes of old car magazines I have an issue of Road&Track with an article about the battles between the BMW CSLs and Ford Capris racing in Europe. Now I have to go dig it out...

racerfink UltraDork
10/17/18 1:47 p.m.

In 1978 or so, my dad ended up with a 3.0 CSL racecar.  He was co-owner of a German car repair and parts business in South Texas, when one of his customers called him about “some BMW” that was in the back of the semi and trailer he just bought at a sheriff auction for his grocery business.  It was a roller, due to an engine letting go in testing at Road Atlanta, and had some light front end damage from the resulting spin in it’s own oil.

Somehow, the semi and racecar ended up in a vacant field near the Mexican border, where it stayed for a few days before it was confiscated.  My dad ended up buying the car, and it’s 4 sets of BBS 3 piece wheels, for $2,500.  

After looking through several parts catalogs over the next few months, my dad came to the conclusion it was gonna be around $15,000 just for the engine pieces alone, and it would still need a transmission and cosmetics.  Luckily, before too much longer, Alf Gebhardt, who was running a 3.0L in IMSA and SCCA, called up and bought it sight unseen, for a tidy little profit for my dad.

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