Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Twofer Tuesday returns with 4,004

2 2002s
Over in Gowanus near a new BBQ joint I ran across this little number:
What we have here is a 1972-1973 BMW 2002 in what looks to be the factory color Manila. Anyone who's ever been in one of these knows they're great fun.
The 2002 was a part of BMWs New Class which encompasses all of their newer compact offerings from 1962-1977. Before the 2002 there was the 1600 which looked very much like this ride in the front but had additional body styles available and a smaller motor. The engine on the previous model was a 1600 as its name would suggest. The 2002 came about as a factory hot rod: 2 different employees of BMW stuffed the larger 2000cc M-10 engine into their 1600s unbeknownst to one another. Once they discovered that they both made the same modification to their rides they proposed it to the board of the company which happened to be exploring ideas for a quicker version of their smaller cars for export. It was green lighted and became an instant runaway hit!
This one's in very nice shape with its original hubcaps gleaming. There are some small dings and scratches present but overall it's impressive.
The way to ascertain the potential age range of this ride as '72-'73 is by looking at the front and rear signal lights. The round taillights were a feature of the 2002 from its introduction in '68 through the '73 model year. However, the large amber turn signal on the front of the car was smaller and set flush into the body before '72. The free-floating side marker light was added in '72 as well.
These are smart little cars with a balanced, timeless design. The acceleration and overall handling makes them hilarious fun to drive on twisty roads. Unfortunately this one has the automatic transmission as we can see from the emblem above the 2002 badge.
These are the rounded taillights I mentioned which incorporate the brake, reverse, and turn signal lights as well as a reflector. The lenses of the Manila car are rich in color as opposed to the one below.
Here we have another 2002 that's seen either a little more use or had a little less upkeep than the one shown previously. The California sun is murder on things like plastic lenses, sucking the color right out of them. The sun also warps dashboards and ruins the upholstery along the tops of the back seats, but the cars don't rust so it's a fine trade-off!
Here we have a '68-'71 2002 in Colorado Orange. Being from California it looks to have been driven a lot without rotting away like most of the older BMWs from the East Coast. We can also tell this has the 4-speed manual transmission as it's lacking the emblem that would state otherwise.
This car looks to be sporting a Manila door so I'm guessing there was a minor t-bone collision at some point. This also has the original hubcaps but the logo is just about totally illegible. Well-used but still ready for action is how I would describe this little toughy.
Here are the flush turn signals denoting this as a pre-'72 ride. They make the car look so much sleeker, especially with the omission of that additional side light. This thing looks to have been parked in cities for much of its life though with the missing grill bars and rumpled plates.
Such an indignity! To have the signature kidney-shaped centerpiece of your grill knocked toothless is a shame. To have to resort to plastic ties to hold it in place is even worse!
Whatever though, this thing just wants to continue to run forever. The engines were reported to have a high nickel content and were conservatively good for 200,000 miles before needing to be rebuilt.
The car that followed this one is the fabled 3-Series which continues (albeit with many overhauls to the design over the years) production to this day. My advice if you want a fun classic to use daily would be to try and search one of these out before they get too expensive. No matter how reliable they are every year the supply dwindles due to rust, accidents, or simple neglect, so I would expect them to command some serious money before long.

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