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Readers Drives - Barney, Jody and my CSL....

This morning I received yet another great read. The mention of my brother acting as chief negotiator did make me smile. Jody still has his own 3.0 CSL sitting alongside other Munich classics, although the others are mainly race cars. Again the memories came flooding back. Thanks Martin.


Barney, Jody and my CSL...


Back in 2004 I had made a full recovery from a fairly major medical intervention, was settled in my job and while planning to move house hadn't found anything suitable. I began to think about getting a classic car... Having had many BMWs, the initial thought was of an E28 M5 and I first met Barney Halse to take a test drive of such a vehicle that he had for sale. While there was nothing to criticise, it didn't feel that dissimilar from the E39 M5 that I was driving as my everyday car at the time. Meanwhile I spotted a customer's E9 3.0 CSi that Barney had in for a service, and I was at once smitten. A few weeks later a work colleague spotted a 3.0 CSL for sale on behalf of its owner at a West Country classic car dealer, and I just had to go and see it. Knowing that these cars had a reputation not only for severe rust but also requiring specialist restoration, I managed to engage Barney's help and his brother Jody was duly despatched to help me assess this particular example. Not everybody knows this, but Jody is an actor who is usually cast as a 'hard case' in TV series such as Game of Thrones or films including Pirates of the Caribbean. Fortunately, he also knows his way around classic BMWs so it wasn't long before he was prodding around the underside of the CSL on a ramp at garage local to the owner's home. Reassured by Jody's observations, discussions with the owner inevitably continued to the matter of price. Now Jody sounds quite a lot like Barney when you speak with him, but in appearance looks, how should we put it... somewhat more villainous. Now, I'm not sure whether Jody's presence had an influence, but I'm quite sure that you'd want on your side in any negotiation! While the previous owner had clearly spent a lot of money on restoring the CSL, I nevertheless arranged for Barney to collect it to check over the car in detail. A few weeks ensued with almost daily conversations over what needed doing, what options I had and it was clear that this was an area in which Barney was truly in his element as well as knowing these cars inside out. Most of the calls started with Barney inevitably sucking his teeth as he described some obscure aspect to the twin servos, brake calipers or fuel injection system of the car. With every step I could see the 'till roll' becoming ever-longer, but Barney's charm made the whole episode feel like an exciting journey to make the car as good an example as it could possibly be. Roll the clock forward 15 years and I still love the CSL and the praise it gets at BMW Car Club meets and classic car shows. It looks like this Summer with Coronavirus restrictions it may have to stay in secure storage, but it will always be special and to my eyes one of the very best-looking cars made. Oh, and I still exchange Christmas cards with the previous owner!

My CSL as photographed by its previous owner prior to restoration. I'm not sure whether the fluid around the front of the car is oil, fuel or coolant!

One of the images showing the extent of work required. Often these cars, while appearing sound from a distance, have serious underlying rot.

My CSL, as it is today, enjoying an extended 'hibernation', but something to look forward to when Coronavirus has been condemned to history.

Jody Halse playing Ironborn raider Adrack Humble in Game of Thrones - and someone useful to have on hand when you're buying a classic BMW!

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