BMW E9s were not known for their rust protection, in fact, they were infamous for dissolving like sugar in hot coffee the minute they touched water. What started as a pile of rust has been returned to showroom condition with electric power thanks to a British company.
Richard and his team at Electric Classic Cars revived this 1970s “E9” BMW 3.0CSi with Tesla power, as well as an added CSL “Batmobile” bodykit to make it look like the rare homologated racing version.
Richard describes the E9 as they found it as a “basketcase”. It had been stored with the sunroof open, and as luck would have it, the garage roof developed a water leak directly above the vehicle, essentially turning that wonderful coupe greenhouse into an aquarium. The interior was destroyed, there were plenty of dents, and the paint was bubbled from rust trying to escape.
Of course, if you look under the hood, you won’t find a fuel-injected version of BMW’s venerable 3.0-liter straight-six; instead, there’s a part of a battery pack from a Tesla Model S P85. The pack is split into two parts, with the remaining cells in the trunk. The electric motor is also sourced from a Tesla, and sits where the rear differential used to be. A staggered set of Alpina wheels completes the look perfectly.
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A stock CSL would have produced just 203 horsepower and 292 nm of torque; that number has been more than doubled to 450 horsepower and 450 nm of torque. The result of the swap is a 0-60 mph time of just 3 seconds, while still maintaining over 200 miles of range. To bring the vehicle to a stop, the brakes have been upgraded to Wilwood discs on all four corners. Richard says that the car is slightly heavier than a stock CSL with a full tank of gas, but it doesn’t feel like it due to the weight distribution.
The restomod took almost two years to complete, and after all that time, Richard was itching to take it for a test drive on some of those famous British B-roads. When the CSL takes off, we thought our computer speakers broke, but of course, an electric motor doesn’t make a sound. Silly us. Although once Richard steps on the gas, the slight electrical noise does remind us of Batman’s Tumbler.
At the end of the day, we love to see a destroyed classic get a new lease on life, whether it is gasoline-powered or not.