Here are two coupes that went about the business of creating a luxury 1970s sports car in very different ways. One speaks of the passion and heritage of a great Italian marque. The other was produced so its hi-tech German manufacturer could take it racing.
One has lines caressed by one of the all-time greats of car design, the other has a very different sort of beauty, honed for track and autobahn. So will it be classic 1970s Alfa Romeo for your next trip to the Italian Riviera? Or sublime BMW for that high speed journey to Berlin? Let the contest begin.
Fans of the CSL - it stands for coupe sports leicht or "light" in German - insist it simply has no competitors. This BMW's appeal comes from its function, developed as it was from BMW's elegant E9 grand tourer for homologation purposes. This remarkable example is one of just 500 RHD models produced so BMW could take it racing. And take it racing the Bavarian manufacturer did with extraordinary success, winning the European Touring Car Championship six times in a row.
Finished in subtle and correct Polaris Silver, this CSL has had a bare metal rebuild and is just about as-new, if not better than new. The BMW has covered just 1,000 miles since its nut and bolt restoration, which lasted a staggering two years. Every single component - including the lightweight aluminium door skins, bonnet and boot lid - has been refurbished, refinished or replaced. The result is one of the best CSLs you'll ever see, and given it was built to UK specification, it does without the extrovert aero package of rear wing and front air dam of LHD CSLs, which to our eyes makes it all the more desirable. There's something of the stealth about this quietly brutal beast.
Open a door to the interior and your jaw will continue to drop. Correct sports Scheel seats are brand new. The oh-so-1970s wood trim is renewed, present and correct. Punched black headlining specific to the CSL? Of course. The speckled black carpet is a perfect copy of the original. Lift that aluminium bonnet and the artistry of BMW's straight six is again as new, the subject of another full rebuild. Ready for its next high speed adventure, this CSL would also slip effortlessly into your everyday life. Unrepeatable.
Elegance your name is Alfa Romeo. The 2000 GTV is often cited as one of the most beautiful sports cars ever made. It was beauty that didn't come cheap: at launch it cost more than a Jaguar E-Type. A young Giorgetto Giugiaro - later responsible for everything from the original VW Golf to the Lotus Esprit - was the designer, then at Bertone, one of the great salons of the Italian motoring world. Like so many other Alfas of the period, many GTVs have succumbed to rust. Not this immaculate, fully rebuilt example.
Colourway is one-of-a-kind as the Alfa's first owner had the very 1970s vinyl roof covering removed and, instead, had the roof finished in the glossy Nero you see here, retaining the rare and desirable factory-fitted sunroof. The rest of the Alfa is in the factory correct Grigio Chairo Metallic, with the added distinction of Alfa's four leaf clover - the Quadrifoglio - to the rear of each front wing. The exterior presents in almost concours condition, testament to the fully-documented £35,000 spent on a full refurbishment by Alfa specialists.
Black leather upholstery to the interior replaces the original vinyl, carefully selected to mimic the original materials. Electric windows add to the contemporary creature comforts. But it's the traditional Alfa dials that grab the attention - and that wood-rimmed steering wheel is ready for the most demanding of corners. Under the bonnet, Alfa's twin cam engine is quite a sight. This example has been sympathetically uprated with performance components. With just 5,000 miles covered since 1989, this outstanding Alfa is ready and waiting to be unleashed on your chosen trans-continental adventure. We'd suggest taking it home to Milan and then perhaps on to your country home in Umbria, but what do we know?
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