“In the midst of this work, we got the news that we could not participate in the endurance championship with this vehicle after all. We stopped working on the coupe after mounting the Group 5 fenders. This body was stored until you bought it from my father.”
The old Group 2 fenders and aero parts went onto a new 535i, but Michael says the team “was never able to build on the success of our coupe” with that car. Perhaps not to his standards, but said 535i is still holding its own in European vintage races, driven by its current owner, Patrick Mortier. (Coincidentally, Mortier has offered it for sale to Bill Kincaid.)
In any case, the CSL then languished in a corner of the Martini shop until Steinbrink bought it and converted it to a street car.
And then, about ten years ago, Alabama stocking manufacturer and BMW enthusiast Jimmy Baker found the shell of 001/79 at a vintage car dealer in Amsterdam.
“It was a strange car somehow,” Mr. Baker says. “It had the peculiar VIN number and the original logbook but it was converted to a street-legal car with new and different livery. It had the Group 5 fenders and the dash had been removed and replaced with some kind of a production version. It was a clean car, but it had all the wrong parts on it. I know that the previous owner had showcased it on the Nürburgring once for a couple of laps but never really raced it.”
Hardly believing his luck, Baker brought the car home to the U.S., but like Martini and Steinbrink he then let it sit for a couple of years. In the meantime, he bought yet another BMW to be restored, which took his attention from the Martini CSL.
“I had imported a lot of BMWs from Europe in those days,” Baker remembers. “Among them were quite a few CSLs. Bill Kincaid had heard about me and my BMWs and he initially wanted to buy a specific one of my CSLs. I said, ‘Sorry, Bill, but I sold that one already.’ So we talked and I told him about that other CSL, the ex-Martini racecar that was sitting in my garage. ‘It comes with the European racing logbook,’ I told him, ‘with all the stamps of all the races and all the proper entries.’ And I guess he liked that.”