Back in the day, the BMW E9 was an icon of glamour. It was one of the finest designs from those bavarian genuinses that lent an ostentatious repute to BMW for the first time.
World War II took a huge toll on the company and the outcome eventually landed BMW in a crestfallen position to stop production when the Brits and Americans took the reins of the high performance car maker. However in a few years BMW started rolling out cars again, only that the market environment was too hostile for the premium marque. BMW cars were too expensive for the reviving european economy, neither did the Americans care for a cute little german car that was astronomically more expensive than a classy Caddy.
By the late 1950’s BMW reached a point of bankruptcy. However Deutsche Bank, back then, wouldn’t want to shut down BMW as such since many of their customers held shares at BMW. So shutting down their operations would only backfire the bank.
Enter Quandt brothers to the scene. Herbert Quandt and Harald Quandt were from an affluent family in post-war Germany, who inherited a 10% stake at Daimler-Benz and a 30% stake at BMW along with a conglomerate of other businesses from their father. The recommended route for them was to sell of their shares in the financially sinking BMW to Daimler-Benz back then. That would have been some easy money for them. However contrary to advice, they bought majority shares of the firm and literally saved BMW’s ass. They practically took a loan of 50 million marks and set a fresh global image for BMW timed with the release of the ‘Neue Klasse’ cars. Today they’re credited for the revival of BMW.
To cut the story short, the BMW E9 was an improvised successor of this Neue Klasse.
With a 180 horses under the hood, the E9 could do the 0 to 62 mph (100 kmph) feat in 8.0 seconds. The E9 lineup would soon be respected and recognised amongst car enthusiasts all around the world.
A major legendary milestone in the evolution of automobiles hyped the E9 cult even more ; the arrival of the ‘Batmobile’.
In 1972 BMW introduced the BMW E9 3.0 CSL (popularly known as the Batmobile at the time) which was a race car intended for the tracks but was also a production car to be sold for the public. This upgraded version of the E9 is one of the best homologation cars (cars approved for racing) BMW ever made and the car that changed the game for BMW.
The L in the E9 3.0 CSL stands for ‘Leichtbau’ in German, which translates to ‘lightweight construction’.
In fact, with numerous weight reduction measures, the Batmobile was carved out from the standard E9 variant, scrapping out a massive 130 kg. The engine was also tweaked for a higher displacement of 3003 cc from the former 2986 cc.
The result of this cautious delicate engineering rendered the Batmobile astonishing results performance wise. The Batmobile was a full second faster to reach 62 mph (100 kmph) from 0 ; 7 seconds. The improvised engine now had almost 200 horses under the hood and achieved a power to weight ratio of 157 hp per tonne.
Well, not so surprisingly, the BMW E9 3.0 CSL was on the top of the racing league throughout the 70’s.
It won the Le Mans 24 hour in ’73 and ’74 and the European Touring Car Championships in nearly every year from 1973-’79, except in 1974.
If you would wanna own an E9 today, the pricing would at the least hower around 200,000 USD.
Special thanks to @misscourtneymae (Instagram handle) for the lovely pictures.
Founder, Content Creator at The Krankshaft.