On August 16th, @mildlyinterestingcarsoflondon, an Instagram account that does a bit of London-based car spotting and storytelling, posted photos of a seemingly abandoned E46 M3 CSL and told its mysterious tale.
As the story goes, “Rumor has it, that on the 4th of August 2004 a businessman took a trip from London to Reading to pick up his brand new E46 M3 CSL. He then drove his car back home, putting only 37 miles on the clock before parking it up at an undisclosed, monitored underground car park in London, and leaving it there.” It then goes on to detail the CSL has been “clamped” twice, suffered body damage from other vehicles in the garage, and details some of the registration dates.
Naturally, word spread quickly across the globe and many automotive outlets started their own independent research into the matter. James Gilboy of The Drive tracked down a more accurate accounting of the CSL’s history. Gilboy writes, “Dispute over that account arose immediately, with commenters pointing out parts of the story that independent sources didn’t support. Others claimed to know the real story, but couldn’t cough up anything believable in messages… However, by gathering up all public documentation on the car, and speaking to sources who proved they have access to the CSL, I’ve put together a more complete history.”
Utilizing a number of web-based automotive history and public records tools, Gilboy did see mileage and ownership changes during the CSL’s underground slumber, but ultimately concluded, “Whether it really has 37 miles seems to be speculative, though flaws with the history reports leave more mileage in doubt too.”
Weeks passed and the fate of the CSL was unknown. It very well could sit clamped in that garage for another decade. And then last week, @london_barn_find posted photos of the same CSL being towed away by a Range Rover. The post states, “She is on the way to a new owner or a new life! Soon she might be on the road again after almost 20 years!!”
As car enthusiasts, we can only hope this one-of-1,383 M3 is on its way to receive a full restoration and make up for lost time, racking up some miles with the new owner. —Mike Bevels