The Ex – Alpina Works, Multiple Championship Winning 1969 BMW 2800CS, Upgraded in 1974 to Alpina 3.0 CSL Group 2

The Ex-Alpina Works, Multiple Championship Winning 1969 BMW 2800CS, Upgraded in 1974 to Alpina 3.0 CSL Group 2

Having been involved in motorsport both pre and post war, in 1968 the flourishing BMW released what was designated internally as the E9. Starting with the 2000CS as a basis, the design was adapted to hold the BMW M30 straight 6 engine as used in the earlier E3, which formed the 2800CS. With an increased wheelbase and length to allow the engine bay to be long enough to accommodate the larger six cylinder engine along with a smaller frontal area and lighter weight, the performance was markedly improved over the earlier 2000CS.

At the time that the new 2800CS was released, BMW had a strong presence across Europe on saloon car grids. Already the frontrunner with first the 1800 TISA, the 2000 TI and then the 2002, the E9 2800 was to take over the mantle and raise the game, marking the beginning of the larger capacity Group 2 era.

This car is believed to be the first E9 to race, and did so with Alpina. Chassis 2201659 was built as a road going 2800CS in Tundra Metallic Green by BMW on the 27th May 1969. It is then believed to have been loaned to Alpina by BMW for the 1969 Spa 24 Hours, where it was to be driven by Helmet Kelleners and Nicolas Koob. Although Alpina had prepared the car by removing the bumpers, and adding a side exit exhaust along with spot lights, the 2800CS was still quite visibly in largely road specification. Koob recalled more recently that Alpina tested the car with Bilstein, Kelleners and others for six weeks at the Nurburgring before the big race at Spa.

Kelleners and Koob ran well in the 2800CS, qualifying in 9th position. The pairing faired well in the race showing good pace but were hampered by tyre troubles and finished in 9th overall at the end of the 24 Hour epic. In Autosport Magazine’s report of the race, they note the Alpina entered 2800CS as being ‘very musical’ and it features with an action picture captioned “Helmut Kelleners and Nic Koob brought this BMW 2800CS coupé home in a very creditable ninth place”.

On the 28th October 1969, BMW sold 2201659 to Alpina along with three brand new road going 2800CS. These four cars were to become Alpina’s 1970 FIA Group 2 entries, sporting the distinctive satin black over Colorado orange liveries. All four were road registered, carrying numbers of the same KF-SC series. Amongst the preparation work by Alpina were the addition of bubble arches to cover the wide split rim wheels, the engines were bored out to just under 3 litres, cams were changed and triple Weber DCOE side draught carburettors were fitted to replace the standard twin down draughts. Also added were racing fuel tanks, roll cage, and Scheel bucket seats while the rest of the interior remained in place.

Alpina campaigned the cars in the ETCC and DRM championships during 1970, including the long distance classics at Spa and the Nurburgring. The first race of the year was at Monza on 15th March where Alex Soler-Roig and Helmut Marko were the sole Alpina 2800CS entry in 2201659. With the BMW works team having withdrawn from racing, Alpina were the main BMW representatives, battling against the Ford Capris of Ford Köln. The pair qualified 6th with the car carrying number 121. In the race Soler-Roig’s performance was described as being a ‘short firework’, documented by a German magazine report as follows. “From the Lesmo Curve the Spaniard (Soler-Roig) accelerated the fastest and was also the first on Ascari Curve. In the Parabolica, Soler-Roig then produced a spin, which would then throw him back. Finally the coupé was taken out of the race with a defect on the wheel suspension.”

Next was to the Salzburgring, Austria on the 12th April and Alpina this time took 2201659 for Soler-Roig and a second 2800CS for Gunther Huber, while Ford had three Westlake engined Capris. Soler-Roig took pole, this time with number 50 and taking the advantage from the Alfa Romeo entry of Autodelta and Hezemans which had won at Monza. From the start the Capris took the lead before Hezemans superseded them, Soler-Roig went on to steal the lead and take the win seven laps from the end when the Alfa Romeo failed. Taking fastest lap in the race completed an excellent weekend with a clean sweep, the first time that a BMW CS had won a European Championship race.

At the 300km Rennen at the Nurburgring on the 19th April 1970, 2201659 was raced by Walter Treser as part of the Alpina team. Photos in reports of the race show the car with its distinctive Talbot mirror, mounted on the front wing. Treser did not finish the race due to a head gasket issue.

In May 1970, Alpina sold 2201659 to Manfred Weissmann Racing Team Speyer, for their driver Reinhard Stenzel to race in the DRM and various Bergrennen.

On 24th May, Reinhard Stenzel competed in 2201659 at the Wasgau Bergrennen in Switzerland, with start number 66. A German magazine report notes how the appearance of Stenzel in a private Alpina BMW 2800 made the title holder Grahser seem a bit nervous. Grahser had a small crash with his BMW 2800, while Stenzel didn’t set a very good practice time, had a bad first timed run, and didn’t start the second timed run at all.

On the 6-7th June, it was another hillclimb that Stenzel entered with the BMW, this time the ADAC Rheinhessen Bergrennen. He was more successful this time, taking the win in the over 2500cc class. At the Rheinpokal Rennen at Hockenheim on 13th June, Stenzel’s BMW did not turn up despite him being entered. A German magazine report notes that the car did not appear at the start, and ‘poor Reinhard – hoping for the last minute – was on the best grid without a car!’.

Back at Hockenheim again on the 5th July for the Südwest Pokal, Stenzel came away victorious in the over 2000cc class against large capacity American competition in the form of Chevrolet Camaros and Ford Mustangs. On the 11th July, it is believed that Walter Struckmann drove 2201659 at the ADAC Lorch Bergrennen, where he won his class. On the 19th July, it was to Ulm Laupheim that they went for the Internales Flugplatzrennen. Stenzel again drove 2201659, but failed to finish on this occasion.

In August 1970, Reinhard Stenzel placed an advert in several German and Swiss magazines offering 2201659 for sale. The adverts read “Werks Alpina BMW Coupé, 3L, ca. 310 PS, mint allen Zubehör, Vk. R. Stenzel, 8 München 23, Fendstr.2, Tel: 08 11 – 34 18 46”.

On the 9th August, Stenzel was at the DMV – Rundstreckenrennen Hessen round at Hockenheim with 2201659. He had a successful day, winning the Group 2 over 2500cc and GT over 1300cc race against a strong entry.

A downpour of rain meant that the over 2000cc touring car race did not start at the International Flugplatzrennen at Wunstorf on the 16th August. The combination of an engine worths of oil spread over the track and this mass of water meant that there was havoc with the Interserie cars. The organisers were forced to abandon the large capacity touring car race and Stenzel was left with out a race despite being present with the 2201659.

At round 8 of the DARM at Hockenheim on the 23rd August, the car was driven by Dieter Hegels rather than Stenzel, a move which was likely orchestrated by Alpina to help Hegels secure the DARM Championship. Hegels raced with number 208, and finished a strong 4th overall in the Over 1600cc Touring Car race, taking 1st in the TC3000 class and amassing valuable points.

On the 30th August, Reinhard Stenzel and 2201659 were at Zandvoort for the ETCC Trophee des Dunes. Wearing race number 30, Stenzel qualified in 7th, setting exactly the same lap time as Gunther Huber in the Works Alpina 2800CS (A magazine report describes how the winning car of the 1970 Spa 24 Hours was present). Stenzel’s effort in the race was short lived however, as he retired on the sixth lap.

At the AvD SCM – Rundstreckenrennen Aachen meeting for Round 9 of the DARM on the Nurburgring Sudschleife on the 18th October, although Reinhard Stenzel was entered in 2201659, it was actually Hans Heyer who raced. The effort by Heyer was relatively short lived, retiring with gearbox issues on lap 4 of the race.

It is understood that Swiss driver Rene Herzog hired 2201659 through Mr. Bovensiepen at Alpina in order to compete in the last round of the Swiss Championship, which took place on the 24th and 25th October at Hockenheim. It is reputed that Herzog went off track in the 2800CS while trying to overtake an Escort incurring damage.

An interesting note is that 2201659 was driven in 1970 by 3 German Championship winners of 1970. Dexter Hegels won the Deutsche Automobil Rundstrecken Meisterschaft, thanks in part to his use of 2201659 at Hockenheim for Round 8 of the DARM; Walter Struckmann won the Deutsche Automobil Bergremeisterschaft; and Hans Heyer won the Deutsche Go Kart Meisterschaft.

After Herzog’s mishap, a sale was completed to BMW Denmark, through HJ Pagel at Alpina, for Danish driver Jens Winther to campaign 2201659 in the 1971 Danish Touring Car Championship. In preparation for the ’71 season assault, 2201659 was finished with red detail across the top of the wings and doors on each side. The car also gained the branding of Castrol, along with their iconic red and green stripes.

Winther’s 1971 season would prove to be a battle against a host of Fords, both Capris and Escorts. A pre season magazine report describes how that since Engstrøm’s departure from BMW to Opel, Jens Winther will take the number 1 seat with the new big BMW Alpina 2800CS which achieved so much in 1970 on the European stage.

His first outing in the ex-Alpina BMW 2800CS was at the Jyllands Ringen on the 25th April. A Danish magazine reports on Winther’s race which ended in retirement. ‘In the large Group 2 class, it was a disappointment that Jens Winther’s expensive new machinery, a BMW 2800CS, proved so brittle.’ One report read ‘seeing the unfortunate BMW running Jens Winther, who despite working with the engine before and after training sessions on Saturday had to fight to get the new BMW 2800CS to go satisfactorily and finally during the race on Sunday it was stopped by a defective oil filter’.

Following the debut of 2201659 with Winther, another magazine reported ‘BMW has returned with Jens Winther who has obtained an Alpina tuned BMW 2800CS’. At the first round of the Danish Championship at Djursland on the 26th-27th June, Winther found improvement in the cars reliability, and went on to take second place. A magazine report reads ‘The rapid Swede Rune Tobiasson won in front of Jens Winther hereby securing the first 8 points’.

On the 17th-18th July, it was the DARM Flugplatzrennen Diepholz round which Winther entered in the 2800CS. An excellent result followed, finishing second in the Under 3000cc class, beaten only by one Jochen Mass in a Works Ford Capri. Significantly, Winther also beat BMW Alpina Essen’s entry, another 2800CS which finished third.

On the 7th-8th August, Winther and the 2201659 were at the Ring Djursland Grand Prix. A good race saw Winther pass both Aage Buch Larsen and Mette Kruuse in their Ford Escort BDAs to finish second overall, beaten only by Bo Brasta in his Opel Commodore. This result meant that Winther overtook Engstrøm and Larsen in the championship standings.

At the Hella Grand Prix at the Jyllands Ringen on the 21st and 22nd August, Winther won the over 1000cc class ahead of Diter Glemser in a Ford Capri, Bo Emanuelson and Bo Brasta in the Opel Commodore. On the 29th September at the Rind Djursland for the Bilstein Cup, Winther took the victory from Rune Tobiasson and Mette Kruuse.

The final round of the Danish Championship took place at the Jyllands Ringen on the 3rd October. This time Winther could only manage second, beaten by season long rival Aage Buch Larsen in his Ford Escort BDA. The second place was enough however, to secure victory in the championship, where Winther beat Larsen to the title by 5 points in this car.

Winther’s success in 1971 led to him featuring with 2201659 in a variety of adverts with manufacturers. His sponsor BMW Import Nilan Motor, Firestone, Bilstein and Castrol all displayed Jens Winther in the BMW on their magazine adverts as Danmarksmester 1971.

For 1972, Winther again raced the 2201659 in the Danish Championship, and this time he was to be runner up at the end of the year. Alongside competing in the Danish Championship, he also entered the DARM Flugplatzrennen Diepholz round in July, where he and the BMW finished a respectable 9th against the like of Hans Stuck, Frank Gardner and Jürgen Barth to name but a few. Jens Winther would go on to become the first Danish driver to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the first of a nation who’s more recent hero’s include the legend Tom Kristensen.

During 1973, Winther did not race 2201659, and in September ’73 he sold the BMW to Finnish driver Tuisku Urpiala who resided in Sweden. The sale was through BMW Import Nilan Motor for 25,000 Krone according to the bill of sale which still accompanies the car. Urpiala planned to race during 1974 and enquired to both Alpina and Schnitzer about the options they have for updating to the latest ’74 Group 2 3.0 CSL spec with 3.5 litre engine.

In the original letters which accompany 2201659 today, Urpiala describes to Mr Pagel at Alpina how he has ‘just bought the Jens Winther BMW Coupe, and he recomended me to contact you for further informations about the car’. Urpiala goes on to ask HJ Pagel to put together a parts list and quote which he suggests to use on a real competitive car. Urpiala’s letter also mentions how the car is in a stripped as he bought it. HJ Pagel responds inviting Urpiala to come and have a meeting with him in person at Alpina to discuss his options.

Following their apparent visit, HJ Pagel sent through a thorough list of parts and costs to Urpiala on the 16th January 1974 and soon after they arranged the first delivery of parts to Sweden. The extensive correspondence with Alpina remains in the history file today along with the original engine cylinder block and head.

Pictures from Urpiala’s workshop show 2201659 as a bare shell as it is having the new, wider Alpina Group 2 arches fitted, and a picture of his Ford Escort from 1973 can be seen on the wall behind the car. It can also be seen that during this work, the firewall was moved back by around an inch. 2201659 was finished in white with a blue interior, in Tandberg livery with blue and red stripes as a Group 2 3.0 CSL with 3.5 litre Alpina engine on slide throttle injection.

In May 1974, Urpiala received his ‘Sportfahrer Ausweis’ or driver’s license from BMW Motorsport GmbH along with a letter titled ‘Information for Racing Drivers’ addressed ‘Dear Sportsmen’ ready for the season ahead. It is understood that Urpiala’s first race with the newly finished 2201659 was at Hämeenlinnan on the 4th May. The pairing showed promising pace on the maiden outing, qualifying second, just 0.03 seconds off pole.

After Anderstorp on the 19th June, Urpiala decided that his updated car didn’t quite handle as well as it could. Following this outing, he enlisted the help of Leo Kinnunen, the first Finnish driver to compete in Formula 1, to set up and tune the suspension of 2201659. Kinnunen’s input proved worthwhile as Urpiala went on to take second in the Finnish Championship at the end of 1974. In October 1974, Urpiala sent the engine back to Alpina, where they rebuilt and upgraded it to the latest specification. At a cost of 15,000 Deutsch Marks, the upgrades included new pistons, cam shaft and valves.

For 1975, Urpiala continued with 2201659, racing in the Finnish Championship over the season. The season was a successful one, with Urpiala taking victory in the championship with the 3.5 litre BMW. A magazine report describes how the large capacity class doesn’t lack pace, and that Tuisku Urpiala has tamed the BMW which now runs like a dream. It also mentions that Kemiläinen led the championship after the first round, but Urpiala gained from the second and decisive third rounds before being rewarded with the title for 1975. The pairing made a trip to the Netherlands for the Grote Prijs van Zandvoort on 20th July in ’75. Urpiala had a tight battle with a Corvette until its rear wheel collapsed four laps from the finish. Urpiala was then left to finish a fine 2nd.

In around 1976, 2201659 was sold by Tuisku Urpiala to fellow Finnish driver ‘Kumi’ Kalle Mäkelä. Mäkelä changed the livery to works BMW Motorsport striping and reading Kumi Kalle across the front splitter. Mäkelä attracted some media coverage with the move, with it being reported in one Finnish magazine. ‘Kumi-Kalle Mäkelä brought a new colour to the lines by purchasing Tuisku Urpiala former BMW and immediately attracted to the tip itself of the championship’.

Jari, the son of Mäkelä’s friend and mechanic recalls the car fondly having spent some of his time at the race track with his father and Mäkelä. He remembers that Mäkelä raced the BMW through to 1978 and even updated the car to be Group 5 specification, with extra wide wheel arches. He mentions that Mäkelä’s tyre business wasn’t going so well and that Kumi Kalle fell on harder times so had to sell the BMW at a local car shop. After no one bought it, the price was reduced and one Tuisku Urpiala bought 2201659 back again.

After Urpiala took the car home with him once more, not much more was heard or seen of it until 2002, when KG (Casey) Almström of Malmö, Sweden bought the BMW from Urpiala. Having been sitting in Urpiala’s garage for around 25 years, 2201659 was in time warp condition, with no livery on plain white paint with the Group 5 style arches.

Over the next four years Casey researched the background of 2201659 heavily, reestablishing communications with Weissmann, Stenzel and Koob. These conversations, with Weissmann in particular, confirmed the car’s various owners, linking the transition from Alpina, to Wiessmann Racing Team Speyer, to BMW Denmark. While in his ownership, the BMW’s engine bay was painted Colorado Orange, the works Alpina colour, and the Urpiala stripes were applied over the white paintwork, but the car remained extensively untouched.

In 2006, KG Almström sold 2201659 to Alex Elliott, who brought the BMW over to England. After a couple of years of ownership, the BMW was then sold on to Roger Wills. With Wills having not undertaken any work on 2201659, the car was advertised for sale with Taylor and Crawley in London and was subsequently bought by the current owner.

Keen to retain the remarkable originality seen in 2201659, the current owner had CCK Historic restore the car with a sympathetic view to originality, restoring it as it was between 1974-1976 with Tuisku Urpiala, in the Group 2 3.0 CSL specification. A very thorough examination of the car revealed sections of Mäkelä’s livery under the wider arches, along with layers of each of the previous colours present under the white paint, right down to the original Tundra Metallic Green.

The original 3.5 litre Alpina 12 Valve engine was removed and sent to BMW racing engine expert, L.H. Owen. Upon examination it was deemed that the original Alpina block and head should be put to one side for preservation’s sake, and the engine should be built to give the best performance using new parts. L.H. Owen completed this rebuild, and the finished engine which retained the original slide injection performed very well on the dyno, giving 370hp.

CCK Historic went through 2201659 and restored the car to the 1974 Tuisku Urpiala specification. Particular attention was paid to restoring original parts where possible, rather than replacing with new. The original aluminium roll cage was removed for obvious safety reasons, and a new cage was made in Cold Drawn Seamless steel using the same mounting locations as the original aluminium cage. The original dampers and uprights were sent to Bilstein, who rebuilt the units. The original Getrag 5 speed gearbox and the original differential are retained. New FIA HTPs were granted for 2201659 in September 2016.

With the restoration complete, 2201659 sits today with its original dashboard, centre console and door cards still in place. The original Scheel racing bucket seat is one of the many original parts which still accompany the car today. The significant and extensive history of this car is documented in the weighty history files which include the aforementioned original Alpina invoices and correspondence, race results, reports, and photographs throughout the car’s life.

2201659 represents a unique opportunity to acquire a hugely significant piece of BMW and Alpina history. The first E9 BMW supplied to Alpina and to race, a Works Alpina race car, the first E9 to win a European Touring Car Championship round, a help in Deiter Hegels winning the DARM in 1970, driven by 3 German Champions during 1970, Danish Touring Car Champion, and Finnish Touring Car Champion.

Beautifully restored with attention to originality, this period correct BMW can be used at a variety of events including Peter Auto’s Heritage Touring Cup, Le Mans Classic, Duncan Wiltshire’s HTCC, Tour Auto and Modena Cento Ore to name but a few. Accompanied by extensive history files, many original parts and 2016 FIA HTPs, the BMW is an opportunity not to be missed.