Nitto 1/20 BMW 3.5 CSL

This model was handed down to me via two modeler friends many years ago, together with a Nitto 1/20 Porsche Carrera RSR Turbo. The chassis was mostly built, the body and glass mostly untouched. There was no box, and not all decals were there. I worked a bit on the body, and noticed that it started to look really nice. Older Japanese car models can be hit and miss accuracy-wise. I want to show the body here to ask for opinions on its shape accuracy.

Kit contents

The body originally had opening doors, but these have been fitted and glued here. The body is weak with the doors open, and the interior detailing is not very good, so little was lost. The plastic around the wheel openings was thinned, to give scale thickness sheet metal, but you can hardly see that in this view.
The chassis / floor plate is relatively simple, with the obligatory battery box and electric motor housing. The cabin floor has very few details.
The lower side shows a typical Japanese motorised chassis for the time I would say. At the front the obligatory electric motor switch can be seen. At the rear there's a geared down rear axle drive. The flattened double exhaust is almost funny.
The remaining parts, mostly off the runners. Amazingly all parts are accounted for. Two suspension parts were broken though.
The transparent parts, on and off the runners. The are pretty nice and clear. The fit in the window opening, instead of behind the window opening, as in most models.
A close-up of the rear wheel. The spokes are completely open. You can read the tire size: Dunlop Racing 350/660-16.

One wheel had its spoked disc broken free from the hub. Nitto provides a special part for use during the hammering of the metal axle, but I think the original builder forgot to use it.
This is what I got in terms of decals. Eight more were 'rescued' from the model and put on decal paper (not shown).

Body shape check

My most important question is whether the body is reasonably accurate. I really do not 'know' the full-scale car that well. I asked for options on the Britmodeller forum, the MCM forum and Automotive Forums, and copied the following comments.

The front width should be easy to check by measuring the hood, or front width of a CSL. It that's correct, then the add-on fenders can be judged by eye I think.

I found the dimensions on the Ultimatecarpage: BMW 3.0 CSL IMSA page, but I learned to treat them as provisional.

Here's a straight left side view. Initially I thought that the slight downslope of the roof towards the rear was an error. But I see it in the street version too. But not in most photos of the race version. Maybe it was 'tweaked' a bit for the track??
The right side view should be a mirror image of the above :-)
Front view. I noted that the round inlets in the air dam are too small in diameter and should be placed deeper in the air dam.
Rear view. There is some primer grey paint on this part of the model. The original street car bodywork is cut off too far, it should extend forward some more. Probably up to the level of the door sheet metal, that you can see deep inside the opening.

The rear facia should extend downwards a little more, and there should be a cut-out for the original street car exhaust.
Top view. Hood and bonnet are molded integrally with the body, the doors were seperate parts originally. There are (were) mould lines that ran along the hood, A-pillar, roof, C-pillar and trunk. They presented a difficult job on the roof, where the center of the roof was slightly below the left and right roof edges. I used Apoxie to get rid of the dents that were present there. The drip rails and window rubbers were quite vaguely defined, and a lot of careful scraping, cutting and sanding was required to improve them.
Top three-quarter front left view
Top three-quarter rear right view. You're not seeing bare plastic by the way. First I sprayed the body with light gray primer, which went on very, very thin, so it doesn't help much filling imperfections. Next was MRP-004 White, that gives a satin finish to the model, roughly similar to injected plastic.
My preliminary conclusions are that some modifications appear to be required. The air dam looks a bit deeper in photos, and the rear half of the rear fenders must be extended down considerably.

What actual race car does the kit represent?

The color scheme of white and 'M-colors' was used in the IMSA 1975 and 1976 seasons by the BMW factory team in the GTO class. In 1975 they used race numbers 24, 25 and 26. In the 1976 season the rear 3/4 window was left open. I think it was always called a 3.0 CSL, despite 3.5 engine. Five IMSA links:

The German Faltz-Alpina team bought one of the IMSA cars for the 1975 European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). The car seems to have been used only twice, Nürburgring 4h (13 July 1975) as #2 driven by Helmut Kelleners and Harald Grohs (decal say N. Grohs), and Zandvoort (10 August 1975) as #21 driven by Helmut Kelleners, Harald Grohs and Rolf Stommelen. Here are five ETCC 1975 links:

The model looks mostly like the Nürburgring car, but with a lot of errors in the markings. Where did the decal designer see the 'Lumitas - Leuchttaster' sponsor marking? It was on the #3 car of the same team in the same race. It seems Nitto copied the decals of the whole air dam from this car, and put it on the #2 car.. Why??

I found out soon after, when I found the 4th 1976 issue of 'Autozeitung' on Ebay. I think the 5-page article shows the car at a press event. And there it was: the car with the markings exactly as Nitto provides. Even better: it was clearly the basis for the box art, with the same viewing angle and steering angle! The article title 'Heimkehr eines Boliden' (homecoming of a racing car) confirms that this a former IMSA car.
My preliminary conclusion is that the models' markings are a mishmash of three cars / schemes. I've sketched it on the box art scan.

Other kit issues

I found a total of five issues of this kit. The first one by Nitto appears to be a 'Circuit Wolf' manga release, the last one by Doyusha certainly is. Note that Eidai-Grip also issued a 1/20 CSL, but it's a different kit, with opening hood and engine detail.

Nitto #579 (1976) Nitto #581 (1977) LS (?)
Entex #9305 (?) Doyusha CO-13 (1998)

Motor Racing Repica News (MRRN) article

The much lamented MRRN magazine had an article in issue 17 on the BMW 3.5 CSL in the Calder art version, Le Mans 1975. Shown here are the first three pages, from the MRRN PDF collection of all 41 issues. I'm mainly showing the article to keep the memory of MRRN alive. And no, the pictures do not enlarge, sorry, I don't own the copyrights..
The remaining two pages.

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