No matter how deep you dig, you’re not going to get the complete story of the abandoned 2004 BMW M3 CSL that’s been circulating the internet recently. I’d know because I tried, and found more misinformation than concrete truth. But none of that matters now, because we can confirm the BMW has finally moved for the first time in more than a decade. Where it’s headed isn’t certain, but this is as close to a happy ending as we could hope for.
The story of this one-of-1,383 lightweight M3 began in late 2004, when the car was sold in Britain to a wealthy globetrotter. Though the BMW lived near their property in a rich neighborhood of London, the owner apparently spends much of their time abroad. For that reason, the vehicle hasn’t been driven much, with its registration expiring in 2006 and the coupe sitting almost forgotten since. Earlier this month, sources indicated the CSL hadn’t moved under its own power in at least 13 years, maybe as many as 17.
2004 BMW M3 CSL formerly neglected in a London parking garage. @_drivecollective on Instagram
At that time, I believed the car would continue to decay in that parking garage, which seemed to be its final resting place. But over the weekend, I received surprising messages from multiple sources: The CSL was gone.
Photos shared by @london_barn_find on Instagram confirmed this, showing the CSL on a trailer towed by a 2010-2012 Range Rover Vogue SE. The damaged rear bumper and license plates had been removed, but the car on the trailer remained coated in a thick layer of dust. Unless there’s been a second neglected CSL with rear bumper damage relocated in London recently, these would have to be the same car.
2004 BMW M3 CSL formerly neglected in a London parking garage. @london_barn_find on Instagram
So if it’s on the go, where is it headed? Rumors indicate the car has been sold, and that it’s going to be restored to drivable condition. I haven’t been able to verify this with sources though, so it’s possible the CSL remains under the same owner. They could feasibly be relocating the car to deter thieves, as CSL parts apparently fetch a very pretty penny. Secure though its former location may have been, it’s even harder to steal parts off a car if you don’t know where it is in the first place.
Still, we can be sure of one thing: This BMW is getting more attention than it has since it was clamped many years ago. That’s a significant chapter, no matter where it’s headed next. Hopefully it’s a shop, so this CSL can finally stretch its legs again.
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