German Driver: 1973 BMW 2002 Tii

Andrew TannerBy Andrew Tanner

On my bucket list of cars to drive is a BMW 2002 “roundie,” i.e. a 1973 year model or earlier 2002 with the round rear tail lights. When he was younger, my father imported a brand-new 1969 2002 from Germany and it is the only car I have ever heard him talk about with such affection. Though his was the least expensive model available, I certainly would not turn up my nose at the chance to drive a Tii! This particular example looks to be in excellent driver condition and can be found here on eBay in Ontario with bidding at $8,900 as I write this. 

Naturally, the engine is a four cylinder BMW 2 liter, from whence this little car draws its name. Although it is not currently running, the seller states that this BMW was running and driving just last year and has been parked since. Though it turns over just fine, it won’t fire and the seller suspects it needs a simple tune-up to run. Based on the information given and the overall condition of the car, I am inclined to agree. However, I do wonder what caused the seller to park the car and what is stopping the seller from performing a tune-up themselves.

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This is a nice BMW all the way around. Based on the condition of the interior and engine bay, I would guess that this is a well-maintained survivor though I don’t know for sure and the seller does not provide that information. Equipped with a 4-speed manual, these cars are said to be loads of fun to drive even though they aren’t necessarily high-powered cars. Although it is very nice, this interior is not nice enough to sway me from driving this car on a regular basis, and that is just the way I like it.

The seller states that this is a very solid car, and as far as can be seen in the provided pictures that seems to be true. Though it has some minor rust under the hood, and perhaps elsewhere, based on the photos and seller’s description this car is in good shape. For a BMW or vintage European car enthusiast, this could be an excellent choice for a fun daily or a neat weekend car. 2002s have something of a cult following, and I have no doubt that this car will bring the seller a satisfactory price.

 

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Comments

  1. Alexander

    Come on! A car parked a full year because it needs a tune up? Who’s buying it?

    5+
  2. flmikey

    4 speed automatic? Had one in the 70’s…I was made fun of until I took a sharp turn…

    1+
    • D. King

      We did have a 2002 automatic. Just plain 2002, pre “tii.” I think it was a ’69. I hated it. Then again, I hate automatics. We have 1 automatic in the fleet, just in case someone breaks a left leg or a right arm!

      1+
    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

      Doh! I meant to say it was a 4-speed manual! They were offered in a 3-speed automatic, however this is definitely a manual.

      0
  3. KEN TILLY

    Back in the seventies I bought a 1969 2002 exactly the same colour as this one. The colour is known as COLORADO. Mine had the original wheels with full size chrome covers. Maybe the best car I have ever owned, and I’ve had a few. Only had a single choke Solex carburettor but it went like stink, 0 to 60 mph was faster than my ’67 Mustang Coupe.

    0
  4. Doug

    I thought the Tii was the version with mechanical fuel injection? Also, if that’s an automatic that’s one funky looking auto-shifter 😉

    2+
    • Greg

      Agreed. That looks like a manual transmission.

      1+
      • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

        Yep, it’s a 4-speed manual! Silly mistake on my part!

        0
  5. Bob

    I love the 2002, and drove one for many years. They are an excellent handling, responsive little car, and that is just with the Solex 2 barrel carb. Put a pair of Webers on, or have a car with fuel injection, and you have a real performer. The problem I see, would be with the mechanical injection system. They do wear, and you need someone that knows the system and the ability to find the parts. I have an intake manifold and a set of Weber carbs, and if I was buying the car to drive, that is how I would configure it.
    I owned sports cars back in the 60s, and I would compare the handling to that of a well tuned sports car, but with 2 extra seats.
    Look for rust around the strut towers. That is where it shows first.

    0
    • John G.

      Under the spare tire, rocker panels and front floor pans…

      0
    • Greg

      I’m wondering….I bought one back in the 80’s when I was playing hooky from/going to college. It was a 1972, and I remember the seller making a big deal about it being a late 72, something about better power. Does this sound familiar to you or anyone?

      0
      • John G.

        Yes. 72 and 73 were great years. 74 was a great year because all of the required emissions were just bolted on – i.e. easy to take off. 75 is a more difficult year because the emissions started to be more ‘built in’ so harder to remove and 76 was good because by then BMW had made emissions work with the engine.

        The biggest difference is looks. 74 and older wasn’t so much the square taillights but the US diving board bumpers. In Europe they still used the very sleek looking chrome bumpers. But overall, the performance continued to improve year over year.

        1+
      • Luki

        In Late 72 BMW 2002s went from 121 head to E12 with tri hemispherical combustion chamber. That was supposed to be a big deal, turns out it wasn’t.

        1+
      • Greg

        Thanks guys. I was thinking it was a carburetor difference, but couldn’t find anything to support that. It was really a fun car!

        0
  6. John G.

    I love 2002’s – drove one today! Now my only complaint with the article is ‘Driving a roundie’. Round or square tail, they all drive great!!! They are momentum cars – once you get them going you don’t have to hit the brakes!!!

    2+
  7. Luki

    Tii’s did not have a snorkel in the front valence. Car has been previously hit and repaired in the front. Yes I’ve heard the bunk about how the factory ran out of Tii valences.
    Still a nice car but upon close inspection is kind of rough.

    1+
  8. John G.

    I don’t think this car is an automatic. I say that because:
    * They only came with 3 speeds – it would be a replacement transmission if it is a 4 speed
    * That shifter is for a manual. Automatic shifter looks totally different.

    0
    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

      You’re 100% right! Autos were 3-speeds and this is definitely a 4-speed manual, I just accidentally wrote automatic.

      0
  9. rdc

    Ebay ad states it’s a 4-speed manual. The price actually might be low if it is not rusty and has no real mechanical problems.

    1+
    • John G.

      I agree especially in this color.

      0
  10. Mike

    1st check VIN all tii’s 71 -74 start with 276 – 278. Only 7449 tii’s built 71 -74. 2002’s VIN’s May 69 – Aug. 73 start with 253, Sept. 73 – July 74 start with 428, Aug 74 – Jun 75 start with 238, Sept 75 – Jun 76 start with 239. There were 14274 2002’s built. I’ve seen sellers trying to pass a ’72 tii as a 73 so check the VIN. I don’t see a tii badge anywhere on the car. This car is a 4 speed manual the shift pattern is right above the radio on the dash. Typical to many 2002’s the dash is cracked especially above the gauges. Yes, they are a blast to drive and give you the true spirit of BMW, but I would drive as far away from this one as you can unless you have the desire to spend the time and money this classic needs.

    0
  11. Wrong Way

    I must say that my nephew had one along with all the mechanical problems that were constantly keeping it in the garage for repair or waiting for repair he spent more for city bus than the car cost! Just sayin fellas!

    0
  12. Doug

    Andrew. I have just seen this write up and unless you have altered it, you DID say manual. I’m in Zimbabwe so there is quite a time difference. Doug.

    0
  13. Pete

    I had a 1802 I bought from a DOD school teacher for 500 bucks while stationed in germany. Probably one of the best cars I have ever owned. It would be zero degrees outside with 4 feet of snow on the ground and you could go out to the car pull out the choke and it would fire right up. Also a blast to drive. I sold it to a fellow soldier for 750 bucks so I could buy a 320i yeah that was a mistake on my part. The 1802 was a far better car performance wise.

    0

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