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Suggested reading on BMW 2002s
BMW 2002 Gold Portfolio
BMW 1500 1502 1602 2002 Haynes Manual
BMW 2002 Comprehensive Guide
BMW 2002 Comprehensive Guide
available at Amazon books
BMW 2002

BMW 2002.

Good reasons for considering this classic european car.

Street Fighter

(The Quintessential 'Cult Car')

Cult: An instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a peculiar body of admirers. OK, so you're Detective Steve McQueen. (Or, as your wife knows you, Walter Mitty*...)

It's early Sunday morning and you're in your favorite City by the Bay.

You are feeling good about yourself. You've solved the city's most infamous murder mystery - but you know too well that notoriety carries its own dangers.

You look in your mirror and you notice that Charger bearing down on you. Just before you dip into one of those innumerable troughs in this peculiar city's streets, you notice that eminence gris behind you slip on his drivers gloves. "So," you surmise instantly, "He's a Pro. Not only is he sitting on some 425 HP of Hemi Muscle, but looks as though he knows what to do with it..."

But you're Steve Frickin' McQueen...!! And your Mustang 390 GT Fastback with the Shelby options is none too shabby, either.

So, let the chase begin!

Well... go rent the movie.

We're not going over this again... You remember the gist. Steve holds his own in the city and, out there on Highway 101, Mr. Evil and his Dodge are out raked by a car and a guy with his own outlaw maneuvers.

OK... Rule Change.

This time we stay in the city so that flat-out, unbridled horsepower cannot dominate the proceedings. But road holding, ground hugging, cornering, visual acuity, and ergonomic response does dominate -- especially in a city as haphazardly put together as San Francisco.

Now you look in your mirror.

At first you miss it entirely.

You take a couple of wide, left turns; first at the bottom of Taylor St. and again on Powell. You are pushing your Mustang... really exercising it. (Don't worry, it's early Sunday morning -- the Japanese could still do a number on us at this time of the week; seems no one is ever awake on Sunday mornings. Just you and what's-his-name behind you are the only ones on the road.)

You check your mirror: He's right on your ass.

Now you take heed.

A squarish, squishy car with some rather large windows -- a rather bad Euro-design of some kind. But still, you can't help but notice: He's still on you. You take a quick left on Sutter and then a quick right up one of those god-awful hills (-- Hill, my ass! In Great Britain, this would be a K-2-Class Mountain!!) You take the turn a bit wide and your curb weight is already working against you as you try to aim it back uphill.

While you're struggling through the apex at the lower range of 2nd gear, that little boxy thing has braked into the turn much deeper than you, cut to your inside, and is now on the uphill straight -- and looking for 3rd gear. Meanwhile, your mighty struggle against the centrifugal forces of your top-heavy coupe is teaching you everything you didn't want to know about 'yaw', 'pitch', and 'roll'.

When you finally are looking up hill, the little guy is leading by a nose and a half.

"Now I have you where I want you!" mutter ŕ la Bill Murray in Caddy Shack. "...All right you little Marshall Plan toaster-oven... Here I come!"

And as you punch the throttle, the sudden thunder of that push rod, American Muscle stirs your brain... The patriotic juices begin to flow. You suddenly belt out a stanza from Sgt. Saddler's 'Green Beret' ... {"Put silver wings on my son's chest..."} Scenes of George Bush landing on an aircraft carrier... John Wayne beating up on little brown people in some Asian Jungle... and now -- especially now -- George C. Scott getting the jump on Rommel... Yes!! Rommel & Patton...That's exactly the thought you want as your pedal hits the metal!

Now what!!?

Your engine -- despite all that power -- displays too much of that annoying, dieseling sound just when you don't want to hear it. And you know what that means. Inefficient power now means you stay in second gear.

The incline gets worse - and so does the dieseling -- forcing you to reach back for 1st. And that little &^%$#! is pulling ahead-- Good god! ...Can't be... CAN'T BE!!

But the truth is, if this little scongeli in front wants to, he can now careen straight into your flight path and throw you spinning through the gelato store window. In dogfight, Top-Gun terminology, he's "locked on" to you -- and there's nothing you can do about it.

But even through your shock you can still hear his engine... All fears Confirmed: A mere 4-banger. And it is hardly breathing... all 140 horses pumping that little box up towards the summit -- or at you, if the pilot so chooses -- at an efficient, low RPM that makes your V8 look and sound, well, severely limited. You are a belching dragon minus the fire going for 2nd-- and he's already thinking 4th.

At the summit, his quick uplift from the accelerator is just enough to get the little wagon under control, while the flat-bottom and shock-tower suspension hold him earthbound for a minimum of airtime. Lickety-split, he's now back on the power, in fourth gear, and on the windward side of the hill -- going all-out, great balls, for Ghirardelli Square.

You can no longer see him; at the summit all you see is blue sky. You take a chance, hold your nerve and punch it. Your engine catches up with its revs, you glide into 3rd and WHOOSH!!... You're airborne!!

The arc of your flight path is tremendous! Your hang-time is amazing! That old lady on the corner was there when they made the original movie and claps like mad as she watches -- and she thought her hormones were dead!

But for all the guy in the Beemer knows, you've stopped for breakfast: He's half way around the harbor and heading back into town.

Mr. McQueen... Meet the BMW 2002tii.


It not only saved a company, it started a frenzy.

When being a Yuppie actually meant something ­­­-- the late 60's -- Bavarian Motor Works came up with this most unlikely charmer to woo their hearts - and pull BMW out from near extinction.

But why? Why has this -- this shoebox! -- of all their models, taken on the true cult status that missed the more glamorous models, such as the 507 ('The Elvis Car' -- Mr. Presley's choice for gallivanting through the German countryside in his G.I. days.) or the magical first 6 Series? And why does almost every middle-aged fan of public radio hearken wistfully to thoughts of their first-ever, fun-loving European road car?

Becaaaaause... Four seats + cheap transport = more people to 'remember' the experience!!

A VW with 'Thump'!

You could have fun -- and still be married, for god's sake...!!

Now I can hear the owners of the original Mini Cooper shifting their narrow buns... 'Now look here, gov'nor...'

But, common! The Coop was, well, cooped! I mean you could, theoretically, shoehorn your wife in there for a night at the opera... But then she really would resemble Lon Chaney before the night was over. For other than Mr. Bean and his Teddy, the Mini was no grand tourer.

And while you might resist the label of 'GT' for the 02 as well, this car more than made up for it in downtown savvy.


I've sat in nearly every major sports car there is. Plus an F16. Aside from convertibles, never have I had such great visibility as I did in both the 02 -- and the jet. It's virtually all window! -- No thick posts where they are not wanted. No ducking or peering for better vision during a quick-strike maneuver.

As for performance, the car had 3 (well, 4*) options. The standard 02 was fun enough. If you were living in Europe, you had the option of the souped-up ti version, with its high-strung, twin carbs. And here as well as in Europe, you could acquire the next, and by far (except for #4), the best package: The fuel injected tii, with the high-performance, Kügelfischer injection system -- a rare enough item by itself. (The only other time BMW used it, other than their beloved Bosch system, was with their SuperCar of the late 70's, the infamous M1.) My own '74 had a 5-speed gearbox - rarer than weapons grade plutonium. And of these, the car of choice seems to be the 1972, ID'd by its use of round (as opposed to the more attractive -- in this writer's opinion anyway -- 'squared') taillights. Also, the '72 model is a good 200 lb. lighter than the others.

Now, what I absolutely love about this car is its good old, Deutch reliability. Reliability and then some.

Today, just as in 1974 when my car was manufactured, you can actually drive this to the track in the morning, race competitively in the afternoon, and drive it home at sunset. While other cars in its class need the added expense of trailers, tagalong mechanics, and have an absolutely horrible ratio of prep time to track time, the 02 stands head and shoulders above them for being the ultimate, one-man show. And remember this: It came stock with a racing chassis. So, there's no need for the road-to-track transition expense the other guys go through -- and then reverse the process when a second, domestic car is needed.

And this thing is still competitive! -- And not just at the vintage car races -- but up against the best in the west or Japan in its class today.

There are a still a good many out there, they're a kick in the pants to drive, and they're bulletproof -- you can leave it out the snow.

So what are you waiting for...!?

Oh, that... That 4th option... Almost forgot.

Between 1973 and 1974 -- and for one year only -- Bavarian Motor Works hit perfection when the fabulous turbo version of the 02 hit the streets. (Right car, wrong year: The year of the, infamous, 'Gas Crunch'.)

Holy Jumpin' Catfish!! ZAP!! POW!! ZING!! Batman would go bonkers with this.

Never before had 170 horses been put to such efficient use so that not even one of them was ever wasted on wheel-spin. I would venture that this was the only sedan you could drive at the time -- and the three other passengers in there with you -- that could put you in a genuine racetrack mode. The kind of drive that made going through town and back for quart of milk before breakfast... well, a bit more like taking the final lap at Monaco. so that when the garage door finally closed, you just couldn't resist just shaking that low-fat milk for all it was worth, holding it up to the crowds...

And, of course, who else but your wife would see you acting like a retard, wait for you to get out and ask something painful like, 'Mind if we chill the Moët before pouring it on the cereal?'

Want to give it a try? Guess who knows where all the good ones are.?

*Oh, Walter Mitty... A short story character ALL Americans over 50 know about... Big-Time Dreamer of a bloke.... Next time out: Grand Tourismo for the working stiff !


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