A True Survivor? 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

The rarely seen BMW 2002 Turbo was the brainchild of none other than Bob Lutz, the brash auto executive who had a hand in several iconic vehicles loved by enthusiasts. Unfortunately for him and the turbocharged BMW, the oil crisis and media objections over things like raw, glorious speed led to its quick demise, with fewer than 2,000 examples made. These rarely exist in anything but over-restored condition, so check out this example here on eBay that’s claimed to be a survivor car with bidding over $50K.

Despite the limited production, the turbocharged 2002 has been making more of a regular appearance as of late in enthusiast circles. I laid eyes on one for the first time ever late last year, a car that is – not surprisingly – now housed in a museum in Newport, Rhode Island. I thought this car would be more of the same, but upon closer inspection, it’s been well used. The graphics are faded, there’s rust in the sills, some original parts missing and other general signs of use. This is not a bad thing, considering how many are living mothballed existences.

Check out the lower left corner of this photo and you’ll see some of the rust I speak of. The seller notes that this car was imported from Sweden by its original owner in 1981, an era that was far more lax about bringing your gray-market vehicle home with you after an overseas assignment wrapped up. It still went through some level of federalization, as the seller notes it was originally spec’d with headlight washers, which would have been paired with Euro-spec H4 lenses – both of which are gone, replaced with ugly U.S. sealed beams. The interior, with its standard three-spoke wheel and sport bucket seats, appears to be in fine order.

While the 2002 Tii was the most powerful of the naturally-aspirated cars, the Turbo upped the ante significantly, raising output to 170 b.h.p. and 181 lb. ft. of torque. This one presents as an honest, used car, with less-than-perfect cosmetics under the hood and elsewhere. A limited-slip differential helped keep the back end in check when the boost came on, right around 4,000 RPMs. The seller recounts that just a basic mechanical check-up was needed, and mileage is believed to be around 85,000. Given how few of these exist and the even smaller number that remain un-restored, it’s no surprise to see the strong bidding on display.

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  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Unreal, from a 99 cent starting price to $53K so far. Why don’t my auctions go that well?

    • Mark

      Because of Bob Puts

  2. Tirefriar

    All I can say if you want one, get it! These are not getting any cheaper

  3. Mountainwoodie

    Despite their limited production, over the years I’ve bumped into a few of these. Back when i had my ’72 2002 I remember a guy asking six grand for his Turbo. I actually had the money but i didn’t like the square light iteration. LOL!.
    If only i had bought my cars all a once I’d be sitting on the proverbial iron gold mine. I never would have thought the time would come when folks would pay the prices they pay now.Shows you what I knew. Maybe I should be stashing away Infinitys (ies)!

    • DRV

      When affording a gamble and keeping it, over time and number of gamble’s , it’s a hard call not to sell quickly when you make money . Of course I would be much better off having kept a certain 5 out of a hundred, but who knew at the time?
      I’de say this car is a sure bet less the future financial crisis if you can’t ride it out.

  4. Brakeservo

    Had a friend who bought one these 40 some odd years ago, or so he thought! It turned out to be a rebuilt wreck of an ordinary 2002 but back before the internet or carfax, how would you know? ‘Specially since the seller was the president of the local BMW club!

  5. Gaspumpchas

    Leiniedude is correct–up to 53 large and reserve not met–my first question to you guys was is this worth the coin?? I guess so as there are 41 bids!! Cool car anyway. good luck to the new owner??


  6. H5mind

    Cue the inevitable “tribute cars” created out of standard 2002’s- which I think would be perfectly fine. Anything that keeps these on the road being enjoyed.

  7. B Bittner

    A perfect 2002tii can get $70k or better, especially the 72 models.

    None of the body resto can cost more than $30k

    In perfect running condition $125++ so I can see this guy holding out for $70k

    So long as the chassis and engine number mstch

  8. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Bob Lutz is the car guy’s car guy, he is still an automotive business consultant, and his 2 books are some of the best books ever written on the automotive world. He also writes a column at the back of Road & Track each month.

    And as Jeff wrote, he was behind the Turbo….and he was also behind the division that has come to be known as BMW M (for motorsport).

    Another reason why the Turbo didn’t last besides the oil crisis was the “Turbo” logos that was painted on the air dam of the Turbo models, but which is missing from the car featured here.

    The Turbo script was made even more audacious by being painted on in mirror-reverse form, so that when you looked in the rear view mirror to see what car was coming up behind you so rapidly the writing would instantly be recognizable as a BMW Turbo.

    Seems that rubbed people’s sensitivities the wrong way, and that contributed to the Turbo’s demise, along with the oil crisis.

    • Mark

      Bob Lutz is a Car Guy?
      Wow- this is unbelievable statement.
      Where did you learn this?

      • Mark

        Thank you for asking.
        1. Did you ever work for Mr Lutz?
        2. What Mr Lutz contribute to the auto industry here in USA or Germany ?
        Please show any legacy Mr Lutz left in this business?
        Please be very specific.
        Maybe be you can open new History of Mr Lutz – which I missed?

      • Mountainwoodie

        Jeezus dude…..try Wiki.or any car magazine. Is your problem with the characterization of Lutz as a “car guy”?

        Do you dispute that a one time or another he held posts in all the major American car companies?

        Or did he sell you a lemon? Hard to tell whether you are trying to express sarcasm or are just lost.

        In any event we try here, unlike the majority of internet blogs, to refrain from sarcasm directed at each other.

        jess sayin…..signed Rodney King

    • Dolphin Dolphin Member

      Mark, ya gotta help me here…..
      Your actual contribution to the discussion here is…….?

      • Mark

        Really ?
        Ok – who is Mr Lutz
        It is a simple – you know Mr Lutz?
        You know his contribution on what base – any explanation please – short to the point please

      • Mark

        Mr. Mountainwoodie
        Just short respond:
        Please review Mr Lutz work history. Reading car magazine or any Motorsport news will not give overviews of person which will patronize Mr Lutz and news paper.
        Now to the point:
        Chrysler merged with Mercedes but W/out Mr Lutz. This was first condition from Mercedes board members.
        Mr Lutz work for GM and implemented cars like: SSR, HHR, G5,G6,G8, also Saturn convertible – Pontiac Convertible, H2, H3, Buick Randevue , redone Escalade – which all those vehicle didn’t survive long time – poor quality and ugly. He shut down perfect electric car EV 2 and 3 was almost done – perfect example of define electric platform – Mr Lutz close development and replaced with Korean Aveo poor quality and durability. After he was Fired from GM for wasting $$$&& he started development for Fisker Karma – electric platform which become fiasco- and with his “expertise ” this company bankrupt and become part of China automotive conglomerate.
        Whatever Mr Lutz will touch- his expertise will turn to garbage.
        If you need more info about the Auto Guru- let me know.
        Also – his is a poor pilot

    • Martin Horrocks

      The reverse Turbo logo was legislated against ( or at least got negative PR) in Germany so dropped. I’m sure that had very little impact on sales.

      2002 Turbo was always a minority/niche car. Turbo technology was new, the 2002 chassis was getting old and not everyone wanted such a wild and expensive ride. Nice cars for all that!

  9. B Bittner

    Ahh that’s what they say but I think it’s looking backwards in some apologetic green retro vision personally. The 2002 was a mass market inexpensive (right about same with a fairly optioned mustang if I remember). MB had no downmarket anything to compare (the era of the Alte Sau if you recall) and no one except a Triumph owner wanted say a Rover 2000t.

    I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when Lutz and Hoffman sat down in the conference room and talked about the 3 series. But committees make these kind of decisions. No.matter what was done to the 77’s I doubt anyone was trading their tii’s let alone turbos for them. And Germans have the same concept about the autobahn as some Americans do about guns; speed limits over their dead bodies. (Actually, if my driving there was any judge I’d have to guess about 40% is controlled which is when all the 180kph guys find out how well their antilock works usually ;) )

  10. stillrunners

    cool car….glad it survived

  11. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    WOW! Whats the reserve? Ended: Feb 04, 2019 , 11:30AM
    Current bid:US $63,066.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 82 bids ]

  12. Mountainwoodie


    I take it you are one of Barn Find’s over the pond readers. I’m glad to see that BF’s reach is worldwide. I also take it that English is a second language for you. Congratulations on your ability to express yourself in English, I couldn’t do the same in German…..or many other languages, for that matters.

    Nor will I argue with you that Daimler Chrysler was a disaster or that he presided over the creation of mainly lame vehicles. All that said, Lutz has still served in many automobile related companies and here in the US is recognized as a “car guy” notwithstanding your obvious disapproval of such a sobriquet when attached to his name.

    You are entitled to your opinion . I would say :” I have no dog in the fight.” Another American coloquialism.

    But I now understand where you are coming from. Carry on :)

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