1973 “Roundie” BMW 2002


Many enthusiasts credit BMW for introducing the sport sedan (and please don’t get pedantic with me about whether sedans have two or four doors, you know what I mean) to the USA in the 1960s with the 1602 and 2002 models. The “roundie” early 2002s have a passionate following as a result. When I tell you that this is a daily driver 1973 2002 and is largely original, at least some of you will be enthusiastic. Perhaps you’ll remain so after I give you some details, perhaps not! It’s located in Pittsburg, California and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is currently up to $4,155 with no reserve.


For me, I found the first thing wrong with the car as soon as I saw that “Automatic” emblem on the back. This is one case where almost anyone would prefer the manual transmission over the self-shifting version. The seller gives the recent history of the car and says that after replacing the faded BMW emblems front and rear, they have been driving it daily for a while after performing some minor maintenance. The driver’s door has also been replaced with one from a later model car due to some poor repairs.


You can see the slightly mismatched color here on that door. The wheels are aftermarket but fit the car well, although I’d rather have silver centers than gold ones. Still, there were a lot of gold wheels around when this car was new, so I’d say they are in “period.” The missing trim strips are included with the car as well.


Here’s another area of concern; both the top and bottom of the hood show signs of corrosion, and the upper surface looks very poorly repaired. There are some other areas of rust concern, but I didn’t see anything worse than this.


The interior looks worn but comfortable. I did find a dash cover to inexpensively cover up the cracks on the dash here for around $145, which seemed pretty reasonable. The driver’s seat is torn as well, so factor that into your cost estimate if you are adding things up. The original carpet is said to be nice, though!


As can be the case with a car that is a little rustier than I like, we’re told it runs and drives without hesitation and cruises at 80 MPH easily. All good. I might be interested anyway, but the automatic kills it for me. But it might be just what you are looking for! What do you think, readers?





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  1. Luki

    Those wheels are 1977 or later. Not period for when that car was new.

  2. gene

    Back in the day these cars were considered ugly. Everyone wanted the later model 325I. or even the 320
    The automatic trannys were garbage at best.
    These cars were basic and reliable with the stick.
    It is amazing how much these cars are selling today and the TII is even crazier.
    25 years ego you could have bought a mint one for less than $2G.
    To me this thing is worth $500. But that’s just me.
    I know that simple cars are becoming valuable these days, but surely you can find a prettier car.

    • Dolphin Member

      gene, you could say that it’s amazing how much some cars are selling for today about all kinds of vintage / collector / muscle cars. My favorite example is the Ferrari 250 GTO ex-racecar that was given away to an automotive trade school in Texas in the 1960s so the guys could take it apart and see how it was made. Then it ended up out in a field in back of the school because it was thought to be worthless.

      The 2 most recent auction sales of 250 GTOs have been around $38 million, and there is a private sale of one that is said to have sold at $52 million.

      From those and lots of other examples, the 2002 hardly registers on the crazy scale.

    • Woodie Man

      I once bought a ’72 Baikal sunroof with dealer installed a/c. gold BBS wheels and the cursed slushbox. Slower than a turtle. I dropped a Getrag 5 speed in it….and sold it for 6K back in the mid eighties. It was a stunning car. Ima dummy! lol. Back in the day I was a serial car acquirer. Finished one, usually an original few owner model and then got a hair up my tailpipe for something else. I love these roundies. Still do. I’d like to get another someday

      • Tirefriar

        “Back in the day I was a serial car acquirer.”…. and here I thought I was the only crazy ;-)

    • Horse Radish

      Talk about simple cars.
      To me the Porsche 356 is a (giant) step towards your philosophy of too simple and too much demand (and therefore pricey).
      I tend to disagree. These cars were very underrated for a decade and now are getting the appreciation they deserve

      • John

        I admit, I love the 02. They just have this honest car, tell you what is happening around you yet can easily keep up with modern traffic feel to them.

        I want to add to your comment that not only simple but rare also bumps up the price. I understand that but sometimes rare is rare because not many were sold because of price, or other reasons. My friends all drool over 2002 Tourings. To me they are ugly. They look like any econobox of that era and I think they are rare because back in the 70s people thought they were ugly as well. I might possibly be the only 2002 owner in the US that doesn’t want a 2002 Touring.

        So I get what you mean when you say sometimes prices don’t make sense! ☺️

  3. Dave Wright

    People that wanted ” pretty cars” bought things like Fiat 124’s that were in the junk yard within 5 years. I did my last 2002 about 1986, no one wanted the 320 cars. I took the engine out of a 320 to put in my 2002. I was worried the motor mounts were different until I took them off and found the 2002 mounts in the block underneath the newer ones. These are great cars, they will blow the doors off 90% of the British sports cars on the road. Speaking off ugly…….have you looked at a TR6? These are wonderful robust little cars, simple and well engineered. I think BMW lost its way after these cars were built. They became complicated and more fragile. Most F2 and F3 cars used the 2000 engine, they would make up to 400 HP from them and they held together.

  4. Jody

    Baddest Bimmer ever made with a manual.


  5. Peter Pentz

    Whoever from Barn Finds wrote this comment “Many enthusiasts credit BMW for introducing the sport sedan” needs to really re-examine their knowledge of 60’s Sedans.
    Long, long before BMW attempted to position themselves in this market space with the 2002, they had been beaten to the punch by the likes of Ford with the Ford Lotus Cortina, the Escort Twincam, and Escort RS, not to underestimate the efforts of Renault with the R8 Gordini, Triumph with the Chicane PI …… the list is endless.
    The Mini Cooper was an oddity, as it wasn’t really a full size sedan …..
    BMW was really late to the party. Arguably they perfected the concept in later years, but not with this model, but with the 2002 Tii.
    And we haven’t even considered the Jaguar Mk 2, but that was arguably more of a “Luxury Sports Sedan”.
    Study your history before you make such a wide reaching statement please !

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I wrote it, and I stand by it. You left out the rest of the line …to the USA in the 60’s.”. As a British car nut, of course I know about the Fords and the Renaults and the Jags. For that matter, you could throw in several other cars like the Triumph and Rover sedans. However in the US, those did not take off and did not sell in large numbers whereas the 2002 did.

    • Dolphin Member

      Peter, I lived through the ’60s as a young car guy, and it’s true that a few Ford Cortinas were around but very scarce, and so were some Renaults, but the BMW 2002 was seen as a giant killer, with advanced specs in the drivetrain that those two makes and most other cars didn’t have. And as for Renaults….well, the only thing most people in No America knew about them was that they didn’t want one, so it’s tough to think of them as creating the small sports sedan in No America.

      I could be wrong, and I frequently am, but I don’t recall the Escort Twincam or RS being sold in No America. That’s the market Jamie was referring to.

      Jamie is right. The 2002 showed that Germany could build a car that could run strong all day long and give many of the big boys a run for their money. I knew a bunch of car guys who either had a 2002, or wanted one.

      Then the 2002 Turbo came on the scene thanks to the great Bob Lutz, and was the first turbocharged road car. Bob didn’t tend to spend much time on cars unless he could make them become serious performers, like the Viper and the recent performance Cadillacs.

      And then there was the very influential column that David E Davis published in the April 1968 issue of Car and Driver titled “Turn your hymnals to 2002”. That column had a big effect because it talked about a small foreign car with a 4-cylinder engine could run with the big dogs, stock, and do it in the USA. Nobody said that about Renaults.

    • John

      He said ‘many’ people credit BMW as the first sports sedan (remember, they first had the 4 door Nue Klasse cars) not ‘all’ people. And the author is right, many do consider BMW as the first sports sedan. There are other cars and others who may think differently but the author’s statement is not incorrect.

  6. Bruce Best

    One of my college instructors had one just like this. He had to have the automatic for he lost his left leg on Omaha Beach during WWII. He loved it and I drove a manual version that was a few years older from Idaho to Kansas City with the owner and the ride and road holding were of a totally different level.

    On I-80 thru Wyoming we hit high winds that pushed others off the road and we went thru. We went thru at an substantial angle but we did go thru. And I would not worry too much about the transmission as there are far more manual transmissions remaining than cars. For Rust and accidents are the biggest killer of these.

    I think Peter is correct about the sports sedans but please do not forget the 4 door Alfa’s from the late 50’s and early 60’s they should be included in the sports sedans list as well.

  7. Nate Member

    There was one of these recently in a Woodstock Illinois junk yard. Red with black interior and a 4 speed stick. Looked like a fresh barn find, ie still dusty and looking like it had recently been moved outdoors. Solid car but its sitting outside on the ground with no wheels so it won’t stay that way for long. Pretty sad someone would drag a far more desirable version of the featured car out of its hibernation spot in some old barn, just to send it off to the junk yard for $50-$100.

    • Horse Radish

      How do you reach people, that have no regard for that.
      Even a parents heirloom is in-considerably donated to a “charity” who will care even less for it’s demise.

  8. John

    I own 2 2002s. Wonderful cars. One of them near perfect still has its automatic transmission. Some things to note. Sure the manual is more fun but the automatics are far from junk. 2nd gear can take you from about 25 mph to 70 mph and power the whole way. But the most important things about an automatic? They are simple to convert and because the tunnel is wider a 5 speed fits with no issue. Also, automatic cars often are in better shape because they weren’t driven hard. Finally, the price on an automatic car can be $2500 to $3000 less than a similar shaped manual car and for about $1800 you can convert to the 5 speed. I would buy an automatic in a heartbeat and convert.

    If you are wondering why I haven’t converted my car because my second 02 has a manual and my automatic is so original I haven’t had the heart to convert. :-)

  9. Dan

    I cannot speak to BMWs on this, but more than one car I have known about had the drivers door replaced to hide vin issues. Why else to just replace that one item?

  10. Howard A Member

    When I had my MGB, early ’70’s, a friend, the guy that had the Vega GT, traded it in on a brand new ’73 2002tii. orange, black interior, 4 speed. Veeeery nice car. For a 2 litre car, it ate my poor MG for lunch. But we had a lot of fun cruising, chasing each other. Unfortunately, the BMW began using oil early on, and had transmission troubles,( 2nd gear synchro twice) while the little MG chugged on and on. I’d have no problem with the automatic, it’s the carburetor I’d dislike. The BMW fuel injection was a pretty good unit. The speedo says 41,9, probably 141 ( or 241?) Still, a 2002 that’s within reach, and looks like this, can’t go wrong here.

  11. Rex Kahrs Member

    If I took my ’75 2002 up to 80mph (it has a factory 4-speed), I’d be turning 4500 rpm. I did that last night.

  12. Jubjub

    Speaking of proto sports sedans, someone mentioned the Alfas, but what about the Rover 2000. It was at a level subsequent Brit cars should’ve aspired to but sadly didn’t.

    • Dave Wright

      I am not an oriental car guy but it was fun watching Bob Sharp run his Datsuns too…….the 510’s ran with the Alfas and BMWs toe to toe.

  13. JoeT

    Lucky for me when I got my drivers license in the late 70’s my neighbor had a 2002. She was a single parent with a son who played on the same T-Ball team as my younger brother so whenever the boys had a game she couldn’t attend she would let me drive her 2002 to take them to play. Although I only got to drive it a few times, I still remember it and would love to have one of my own.

  14. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    History records that VOLVO and Auto Imports INC introduced the first SPORT Sedan to the US Oct 23, 1955. In 1956 Ron Pearson dominated racing the first Volvo 444 in the USA, on the West Coast, on behalf of Auto Imports INC ……….. and such is recorded by Sports Car Illustrated and Sports Car Graphic , beginning in the the Sept 1956 SCI issue…”easily ran away from the pack and won four firsts” …

    At the time, they raced with F Production Sports cars… and that was the beginning of Sport Sedans in the USA …

    In 1957, Art Riley dominated the East Coast in Sedans with a Volvo 444, as Saab and others joined in with Sport Sedans of their own.

    BMW was a second generation B Sedan, which came along a half dozen or more years later …

  15. Pete

    Say what ya like about these cars, I had an 1802 in Germany same color, same year as this one with a manual. Later I bought a 76 320. I should have kept the 1802. It would get down to zero degrees and you could shiver out to the car pull out the choke and it would fire right up everyday. It was an amazing lil car for what it was and so fun to drive. No speed limits most places back then except in town, so you had every opportunity to find out how good a driver you were on those lil two lane back roads. Just had to keep an eye out for tractors and such. LOL. In germany they used cow urine and salt on the roads in winter and it played hell with your metal. I made a lot of money replacing rusted out fender wells with rivet on replacement panels they were about 3 inches wide and fit right over the top. A lil bondo and a black POR type rust preventative 3 ” inches around the bottom of the car and it would pass inspection again. If you went to a junk yard you would find cars with perfect drive trains and interiors, yet most of the bodies were rusted through in enough places that it would not pass german inspections. So they junked them. American Military inspections for POV’s weren’t as detailed. So you could milk a cars body a lot longer. I would buy old cars from leaving G.I.’s for about 400 to 500 bucks fix them up a little and sell them to newbies for 1500. Paid for a year old Mercedes that way.

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