These 4 stunning BMW race cars are ready to tear up the track
For Henry Schmitt, it’s all about Bavarian Motor Works. Schmitt not only owns BMW San Francisco, which has been in his family for more than 40 years, he began racing the German luxury automobiles in International Motor Sports Association events in 2018.
RM Sotheby’s is offering four gems from Schmitt’s BMW Motorsport Collection at its Monterey auction in August. The cars are not just typically stylish, they look to be race ready, too. So grab your helmet and read on.
The CSL was aimed at the European Touring Car Championship and won five of them, but it also did well in IMSA racing and was among the first cars developed under BMW’s M division. Although the road car was never sold in the U.S., its racing heritage, impressive performance, and wild styling made it famous worldwide.
One of only 169 early carbureted “Lightweights”—BMW switched to a fuel-injected version of the 3.0-liter straight-six later in the year—the car sold for $148,000 at Gooding & Company’s 2014 Amelia Island Auction. It has since had Batmobile wings added.
RM has not established a pre-auction estimate, but a 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL in #1 (concours) condition has an average value of $329,000, while one in #2 (excellent) condition is valued at $259,000.
In preparation for the 1974 IMSA racing season in America, as well as FIA Group 5 racing in Europe, BMW dialed up the CSL with a more powerful 3.5-liter version that was fitted with wider fender flares and larger air dam. Five were built for IMSA competition, and BMW won at Sebring and Daytona. All five, including this one, are still around.
A 1974 3.0 CSL Batmobile in #1 condition is worth $390K in road car trim—$320K in #2 and $218K in #3 (good)—but given this version’s rarity, higher performance specs, and its history as a BMW North America team car driven by Hans Stuck and Brian Redman, it’s reasonable to expect a higher number when it crosses the block.
BMW was getting more than 600 horsepower out of the 2.0-liter turbo four in its 320 IMSA racer, which was the replacement for the old CSL. Those engines were precursors to BMW’s 1980s turbo F1 powerplants.
While the Porsche 935 was the dominant car in the IMSA series, the turbo BMW was its main challenger, particularly on tighter tracks. This car looks to be the third of three BMW 320s fielded by McLaren North America. David Hobbs won with it at Sears Point, and he also captured victories at Hallett and Road America in 1979.
While Porsche 935s can be seven-figure cars if they have good race history, the BMW 320i wasn’t as successful on the track, nor is it as famous as the Porsche or the 3.0 BMW CSL that came before it. Nevertheless, this one should go for a lot more than the 1978 BMW 320i production model, which is valued at $16,800 in #1 condition and $8800 in #2.
The BMW E30 M3 was a dominant force in touring car racing and won the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (aka DTM, the German Touring Car Championship) in both 1987 and ’89.
This one appears to have been race-prepped and done up to look like one of the front-running works DTM cars. If it was the real deal, it could easily be a six-figure car, but it’s a clone. It likely won’t go for more than the $98,800 average value of a 1989 BMW M3 in #2 condition.
If your budget can’t be stretched enough to purchase one of the first two BMWs on the list, perhaps the latter two are more to your liking.