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Cheap 1974 BMW 2002 Project

While I have a hard time ignoring everything German and vintage (hence why fellow editor Jamie flagged this 1974 2002 for me), your appetite for big projects can wane after a while. Currently, I blame the on-again off-again Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth that I found in a junkyard for my current preference for easy projects. This 2002 here on eBay looks honest enough, but has a fair amount of what’s known as typical 2002 rust that will pose a challenge to the next owner.

Now, this 2002 does have a few things going for it, most notably its color: malaga. 2002 enthusiasts love BMW’s take on the classic burgundy look, and this color can make even the ugliest duckling appear like a swan once its shined up. The OEM steel wheels never go out of style, and this 2002 shows no signs of aftermarket modification or track-day prep.

The interior is probably the highlight, with what looks like a crack-free dashboard, clean carpets, untorn bucket seats, and preserved door panels. The steering wheel and even the gear shift surround are all factory-correct, so it’s clear this 2002 has likely seen minimal fiddling but curious owners. The cabin just needs a set of Coco mats to look factory- and period-correct.

Here’s where the story takes a turn, as both rear shock towers have rust blossoming through this classic 2002 trouble spot. The spare tire well also lets daylight in, and photos appear to show rust in the lower sills as well as the trailing arm on the driver’s side. There’s one bid to $2,499 at the moment and no reserve, but any higher and this may make more sense as a part-out.


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    It’s remarkable how nice the interior, is as opposed to the lower body of the car.
    Here’s my ’75 Malaga.

    Like 16
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Great looking rig Rex.

      Like 1
  2. Bultaco

    The shock towers and spare tire well are easy to fix. The front subframe and rear floor area are critical on these. If the front rails are rotted, it’s likely a parts car. If the rear floor area where the rear subframe mounts bolt on is rotted, it’s definitely a parts car.

    Like 4
  3. Redwagon

    No such thing as a cheap BMW project

    Like 3
  4. Sam61

    Slather on some bondo, some flex seal tape with a top coat of rhino lining….bada bing bada boom!

    Like 1
  5. pat gill

    shame but that car has serious structural rust, the rear axle beam has detached from the car and dropped about 3″ on the drivers side, can be repaired but also needs rockers, floors inner rockers and probably a lot at the front end….. the seller has been quite clever with what he does not show…….

    Like 4
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      I agree Pat, there is some serious rust on this car. There may be enough in parts in the interior, engine, and transmission to pay maybe 2500, but with shipping that would be about it, if you want to come out ahead that is.
      Economically is doesn’t really make sense unless the buyer knows how to weld. And even then, the replacement panels aren’t cheap either. This is one of those cars that exemplifies the adage “Buy the best one you can afford”.

      Like 2
      • Pat Gill

        this is in the condition we usually find them in the UK, very rusty but a plus point is that it does not seem to have been previously welded or bodged up, that is a very big plus to me, first time rust is much more predictable than rust through 4 layers of patches! would be restored in the UK,

        Like 1
  6. Ward William

    Well worth saving. This is not a complicated resto. Not for the faint hearted, but not overly complex. A bargain at that price and if I lived in the US, it would be in my garage now.

  7. bog

    Wow, this brings back memories. Both good and bad. While shopping for a new car in ’74, went to the local BMW dealership and saw this color combo on a Ti. Was interested until I learned how much they wanted for it (versus actual value) and how many dealer extras they’d added to it for even more profit. Walked away and bought elsewhere. Best wishes to whomever buys this one !

  8. Solar

    Shame about all of the structural rust. I still think of it as the best Bimmer ever.

    • bog

      Solar – there are a bunch of good ones. Many we haven’t gotten here in the States. Some of my enlisted guys in Germany had 1500’s and 1600’s and I “lusted” after the Bavarian State Police car, which was a “souped up” 501-502 sedan (V8 powered). They could, and did, run down Porsches on the Autobahn. I’ve got a mildly tuned 328is that I love pretty much. He’s called “Hermann” after Hesse. p.s. I never saw them rust out in Germany because they didn’t use salt. At all. Either sand or mix of sand and cinders. And spiked tires were allowed….

      Like 1

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