Buy this Group 5 BMW 3 Series, the most radical E21 ever built


In the late ’70s, Group 5 was the most exciting place in sportscar racing. Wide-open regulations allowed purpose-built racing cars like the Ferrari 512 BB LM and the Porsche 935 to flourish that grew more extreme each year. These open regulations allowed a variety of base vehicles to compete against one another, prompting BMW to build a wild silhouette racer modeled after the earliest 3 Series. These racers were the predecessors of the DTM cars of the 2000s, right down to a pure racing four-cylinder engine with relatively massive horsepower output. One of them is for sale today.

bmw e21 group 5

RM Sotheby’s

This car, chassis R1-06, has almost nothing in common with a roadworthy E21 3 Series. While the roof line and some body parts correspond to the production vehicle, the racing variant is based entirely on proven racing technology. The 2.0-litre M12/7 engine comes from a Formula 2 car, revs at 10,000 rpm and is said to produce 330 hp. Suspension components come from the existing 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” racers, which also provided the blueprints for the extreme aerodynamic components.

bmw e21 group 5

RM Sotheby’s

This special car was used by Harald Grohls in the 1977 season in the DRM, the predecessor of today’s DTM. It then served for years as a show car at a BMW dealership before being auctioned off in 2002, restored from 2008 and put up for sale again this year. It is now available as a private sale where RM Sotheby’s lists the price as “available upon request”.



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