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BMW 2002

Published: 16th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMW 2002

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Fancy owning a motorsport legend? Paul Davies looks at true classics that made their names on rally stages and race tracks, and still provide fine drives today

This is a car that’s almost as famous as its engine. After the Isetta bubble car and the tiny 700 saloon and coupe, the Second World War aero engine manufacturer turned to real cars and the 2002 was the machine to regain the BMW’s motor sport heritage of pre- 1939 years. But who would have thought that an engine that appeared in the early sixties would win Grand Prix twenty years later? Born out of the ‘New Series’ of saloons, but with shorter wheelbase and just two doors, the first of the range was the 1600-2. Pressure from BMW’s importer in the USA demanding more performance saw the four-cylinder, twolitre, engine of the 2000 saloon shoe-horned in place, and with 100bhp, light weight, rigid bodyshell, front disc brakes, and independent rear suspension, the 2002 of 1968 was an instant hit. Almost up there with the diva of the day, the Ford Escort Twin Cam. Whilst German private entrants – aided by go-faster gear from tuner Alpina – lost no time racing, rallying and hillclimbing, the ’02, the factory set to work on something special. Touring car racing was the big thing back in the late sixties, and in 1969 BMW hit the tracks with 300bhp of turbocharged power, pulverising the opposition and winning the European championship with driver Dieter Quester. After one year, the rules changed – as they often do when someone wins – and BMW set about tackling rivals Ford with other machinery, culminating in the 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ of 1973. Meanwhile club drivers simply loved the 2002, and the factory went rallying with drivers such as Achim Warmbold and Tony Fall. In the UK, Jan Churchill and Irish ace Robbie McBurney were the boys to beat; the 2002 best suited to tarmac stages, the Escort with the edge on gravel. To the 100bhp single carb 2002 was added the 2002 Ti (twin carbs) then the fuel injected 2002 Tii. In 1973 came the 2002 Turbo, with 170bhp in road trim, plus incredible turbo-lag, and reverse script on the front spoiler to let the opposition know who was crowding their rear view mirror. The do-gooders (didn’t like that script) then the Israeli army (Yom Kippur war resulting in a fuel supply crisis) put paid to the Turbo after just one year and 1672 cars produced. BMW 2002 production ended in 1975, but the story doesn’t end there. Casting around for a power unit for the German’s entry into Formula One, BMW put its turbo knowledge and the M10 block to good use in a 1.5-litre screamer which developed over 1000 brake horsepower in qualifying – 800bhp on race day – and took Nelson Piquet’s Brabham to victory in 1983. When Chevron needed a 2-litre motor for the B16 sports racer, guess where it went? Yep the car was good, but the engine’s the real hero!

BMW 2002 Summary


1968-1975: 390,000 (all 2002 models)


Engine: Four-cylinder, cast iron in-line block with light alloy cylinder head. Single chain driven overhead camshaft. 1990cc. Solex carbs (two on ti versions), Kugelfischer injection (tii); KKK compressor (Turbo) Power: 2002-100bhp; 2002ti-120bhp; 2002tii-130bhp; Turbo 170bhp
Gearbox: Four-speed
Drive: Rear wheels
Suspension: Front: struts and coil springs.
Rear: independent with coil springs and trailing arms
Brakes: Front disc, rear drum
Steering: Rack and pinion

Claim to fame

Stock German performance saloon of the Seventies. Winner ETC in 1969. Turbo was Europe’s first production exhaust compressor car in 1973.

Famous names

Dieter Quester, Dieter Glemser,Walter Brun, Helmut Bein, Helmet Kellener, Hubert Hahne, Ingmar Carlsson, Bror Danielsson, Robbie McBurney, Tony Fall, Achim Warmbold, Jan Churchill.

Where to buy

Check out the specialist and BMW marque mags, plus web sites.

What to look for

Even the youngest are over 30 years old, so rust is the big problem. Engines and gearboxes are hard wearing. Check suspension joints and dampers for excessive wear. Kugelfischer injection is mechanical so wear at pump is likely. Some spares are available second hand from specialists such as FAB recycling ( and Fritz’s Bits (

What to pay

£2000-£4000 will buy a mint ’02, add a few hundreds for a Tii. Turbos do appear for sale, expect to pay up to £20,000 for a top one!


Info/parts/car sales - BMW Car Club –

Classic sport

The 2002 fits into historic rallying as a post-historic but (like classic racing) seems under-exploited. Chevron BMW using the M10 engine is a car to beat in historic sports cars. Alpina and Schnitzer were the tuners of the day, and some s/h parts are still available. Modern day engine re-builds and tuning from Jaymic (

Competitive Rating: 8

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