Fantasy Friday – BMW 2002

Fantasy Friday is for cars that you might want to add to your dream garage, featuring a car that’s actually for sale right now. This week: the BMW 2002.

BMW’s Neue Klasse started with the 1500, a compact 4-door sedan, in the early 1960’s. The range gathered steam quickly, changed its name from -00 to -02 and the BMW 2002 was the range-topping variation of the coupe released in 1968.


The standard version had a single-carb, two-litre four cylinder engine producing around 100hp. A hotter ‘ti’ version had twin carbs and 120hp and was replaced by the ‘tii’ version with fuel injection and 130hp. BMW released their first turbocharged car with the 2002 Turbo in 1973. It put out 170hp but only a small number were made. Owners who wanted more power but no turbo could take their car to Alpina, who offered tuning variations all the way up to 200hp.

I remember 10 or so years ago there was an ad that said something akin to “Inside every 2002 BMW is the BMW 2002”. The 2002 really is regarded as the genesis of the BMW sport sedan setup, a formula that propelled the company to stratospheric heights in the last decade. Solid build quality. Rorty engine. Great weight distribution resulting in superb handling.

The 2002 is still highly regarded for its driving experience today, even if it’s not as pretty as the Italians from the era.

Extra reading: BMW 2002 at Petrolicious.

Here’s a short video showing the 2002 being driven in the manner the manufacturer intended. Outstanding driving on a wonderful piece of road – and get an earful of the sound! Fast forward to the 1:00 mark where the action begins.


For Sale

BMW2002-1This 2002 is currently for sale in Blairgowrie, a town on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. In what you’d call “cosmetically honest” condition, the 2002 has undergone some mechanical restoration but could do with some paint and some finishing touches.

The seller has given a very forthright description of the car listing both its strong points and the bits that need work. I should mention at this point that the seller is actually my cousin, Kelvin. I haven’t seen or driven the car myself but Kel’s a straight-up guy and if there’s something about that car that needs mentioning, he’ll mention it.

If you’re reading this in Australia and have any inclination towards a 2002, this would be a great starting point and it’s well priced, too.

And if it’s still available at the end of this month, I hope to take it for a spin myself when PJ and I drop in for a visit. Who knows, I might just get 2002 fever!!

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  1. I remember the SAAB 99 ads going up against the BMW 2002 as a direct competitor. In the late 70’s the 99 was winning most of the SCCA races in class in the US.

  2. Ah the 2002!! I had a 2002 Tii when I lived in Quebec. It was a 1974 I believe it had the square tailights and aluminum bumpers. Bought it new from a tiny dealer in Lake Magog near the US border.

    I loved that car! It was so much fun to drive on those wonderful Quebec roads. It handled so well and was a blas to drive. and it was FAST!!

    I remember racing a guy driving a Plymouth Duster on the Autoroute on a trip to Quebec City. We kept passing each other going @ 90 to 100 MPH. I am sure that guy had no idea what he was racing and wondered why the “Toyota” was so fast. I repassed him and pulled away then backed off and let him by this time he stood on it and tried to hold it…….result a huge cloud of smoke! Not sure what blew, I slipped by and left.

    I eventually found a dealer who could service the car properly. the first dealer was terrible.

    When I moved back to the USA I sold the car because did not want to through importing it to USA and California……maybe I should have kept it. When I see them at car shows, I still drool. Such a nice basic car! Love them.

  3. The 2002 certainly is a classic, and it proved that utilitarian looks and features were not incompatible with performance. Naturally, our own 99 also proved it, but BMW certainly had more clout.

    One person that I knew when I was in the Air Force a million years ago could preach an entire sermon on the great leap forward that BMW transmissions were in this era. He drove a 2002 that was about 12-15 years old at the time and bragged that the gearbox was still one of the best anywhere. I had to take his word for it, but his enthusiasm certainly sold me on the concept.

  4. Love the 2002 and if I had a few more dollars around I’d seriously look at your cousin’s car, it’s near me after all.

    Ultimately though, with my lack of mechanical nouce and skill, I would need to get one where the restoration has already been done.

  5. ’02s are an interesting proposition for sure. Having lived with one for several years, my younger brother’s, I can tell a few stories. But I won’t this time. The 02 IS BMW.
    Sure, it looked a bit dumpy from some angles, and it wasn’t actually all that fast in its day. Its interior was very simple and it had no vents to the face from the dash. French cars from the same era did, as did anything from Japan. The ultimate compliment was the Datsun 1600, being a better copy of the 02, with a huge following even today. Some parts were even interchangeable myth goes.
    But the 02 had mechanical gremlins. The wipers were backwards, the double brake boosters had to be reconditioned every few years so it would actually stop…..but I should stop. However. It is one of the purest drives you can get, including anything from Italy.
    So, a silver square tail light with blue checked cloth interior from 1975 was a desirable but cantakerous thing back in 1988 and dollars were certainly spent keeping it running well even then. Running at all actually.
    But, as with any BM, chuck a decent set of wheels on the thing, find a Getrag 5 speed, lower it, de-chrome it, put in some nice rally seats from the era, and it will turn heads for sure.
    The Germans have recently rediscovered it and values are climbing rapidly now, being the retro thing it is. But interestingly a fully restored OEM spec car is not all that desirable. Unless it is a REAL Tii, with the troublesome Kugelfischer injection. Then it is VERY desirable in BM land. Very.

    Great article Swade, you made my Weekend!

  6. While I’m not a big BMW fan, if I HAD to own one, the 2000 CS has, always, been the one that caught my eye. One of my neighbors had one in the late ’60s and I’ve long considered it the prettiest BMW sedan, ever! Sweeter in line than the later, hairy-chested CS cars, if you haven’t seen one, it’s worth having a look!

  7. A true cult classic! Doesn’t give the feedback of an Italian but a driver’s car nevertheless. Mine has a tii transplant from an e12 520i, so same 130hp and a pleasure to drive. I always get funny looks when I pull away from unsuspecting road goers at the lights too. The Kugelfischer injection is very robust but if mine went I would have to own an oil field to be able to afford to fix it, so twin Webbers might have to do…oh and plenty of room in the back for happy passengers.