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Highway Sighting: 1975 BMW 2002


We have all stopped to look at cars parked along the highway. Sometimes they are bargains, but other times it is obvious that the car was parked along the road because no one in town wanted it. The rust on this BMW makes us think it could be the later, but we will let you guys decide. Steve M. spotted this ’02 while traveling on Hwy 70 in Wisconsin and was kind enough to snap a few photos for us. Do you think it is worth the seller’s $3,500 asking price?


Hints of what lurks beneath.


Yep, there’s rust.


And lots of it!


Let’s go around the other side to see the damage.


Amazingly the other side looks solid! What happened here? Could half of this car been protected while the other side was fully exposed to the elements?


If big bumpers and cancerous rust do not scare you, then here is the seller’s phone number. We wish the next owner luck and hope that you will all keep sending in your highway sightings. Thanks for sending this one in Steve!


  1. Mark Wemple

    One word, NO. I’ll bet the shock towers are rusted out along with other issues and being a late 2002, it just doesn’t have the value if the early cars. I’d put this in the 1k range.

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  2. wayne

    i had this in a 318 and the rust was just as bad !

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  3. Mike

    By the looks of those wheel pics, this has been sitting forever with flat tires. They pumped em up and wheeled it out. I know this isn’t Jalopnik, but that is a crack pipe price for a big bumper square light non-tii car. The rust on this one is so bad up top I can only imagine the shock towers which is a big break point for these cars…

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    • Don Andreina

      Crack pipe price. Gold. I’m stealing that.

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  4. George Bishopric Member

    Wisconson = Wust!

    Probably beyond salvation, but a good source for transplant parts to a better body shell.

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  5. Don Andreina

    At this price, if it came with a ‘t’ and an ‘i’ maybe. An extra ‘i’ would seal the deal.

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  6. Collin Blackburn

    I wouldn’t touch it. I have a ’74 and a ’76 sitting in the garage… the ’76 lived in the North for 20 years and it shows. It’s crumbling apart so fast that the nose fell off of it the other day, as well as a shock actually snapping through the shock tower…meanwhile the ’74 is entirely rust free.
    Rust repair on these little girls gets very, very expensive.
    I’d like to snag it’s drivetrain, though, for my ’67 project :)

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  7. Dolphin Member

    The desirable 2002s are the early round tail light, small bumper cars. It’s the same old story here: it would cost more to fix than it would be worth, even assuming that the mechanicals are OK. And the drooping air dam is not a good sign, either.

    Fortunately there are enough of these left to make it worth looking further for a good one, preferably from the sunny South instead of the rust belt.

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  8. twwokc

    Sadly this one looks to far gone. Maybe knock the 3 off the $3500.00.

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  9. Denker

    That much rust evident in a few fuzzy photos? I would run away! Parts car only. The body is unsafe; it’s done. I own a ’75 Sahara 2002 with very little rust. It pays to find one with the least rust possible. My ’02 came from Alabama and my 325 came from Calif. The lack of rust makes all the difference.

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  10. paul

    I got a guy around the corner who has a 318 Alpina, I think it’s called 318 the emblem is missing on the deck lid, but has the 320 body , anyway the thing has been sitting for years outside, what an idiot.

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  11. Klaus

    Don’t walk…run away. Your bank account will thank you. Remember…return of investment is more important than return on investment.

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  12. Horse Radish

    Just imagine, that you’re in the boonies somewhere and you like OLD BMWs.
    Somebody mentions that they know of one, red, sharp looking car with fancy wheels, ready to drive and available for decent money and then you’re brought to this sight/site.
    exactly what’s said above….

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Well, it was not our intention to mislead anyone. Hopefully everybody reads the comments before calling the number on the sign!

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      • Horse Radish

        that’s not at all what I was saying.
        I added some imaginative phrases, thinking how ‘locals’ would describe the car, my fault for not explaining.
        My ‘beef’ was with the price being asked for such an ordinary car and in rough shape.
        I have a couple of these BMW bodies that are in better shape that were parted out……
        But it’s all a matter of perspective.
        I guess I am severely spoiled out here in sunny California.
        Things are probably different where this car is,
        But people should get out more….

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  13. George Bishopric Member

    Now, think of the dobermans (and mice) that have been nesting in the interior as the steel reverted to iron oxide………

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  14. Koolpenguin

    But it’s in “Ex Mech Cond” I promise

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  15. D.Kitt

    Always more rust on the drivers side because of splashing from on coming traffic, twice the salt bath…

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good theory D.Kitt. I don’t live in the rust-belt, so I have never seen this happen. Can it really cause that much of a difference though?

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    • paul

      Actually being in the auto body business as I was for many years it was the right side that took the brunt because as the theory goes , the salt & sand as it melted off the crown of the road melted to the right side hence a higher concentration of salt / sand washing up into the wheel wells / rockers. This car appears way to good on one side leading me to believe that the right side was refinished at a point later then the other .

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Another legitimate theory Paul. It is a head scratcher.

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  16. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Yep, so I guess this proves my point. Most of the cars parked along the highway with “for signs” in them are there because no one in town wanted them. The price is probably too high or there are too many problems to make them feasible projects.

    But, I still always stop just to be sure!

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    • Don Andreina

      It is better to have looked and lost than never to have looked at all.

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Exactly! Great quote Don.

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  17. Dolphin Member

    I think it depends on where the car has lived its life, in addition to how it’s been treated of course. I’ve lived in both the rust belt and in places that were very easy on cars, with neither winters nor relentless sun. I have seen some pretty good cars and trucks with for-sale signs alongside the road in the good places, and when I looked at them I would have had no trouble buying some of them. As with most things in life, it all depends on the facts and details.

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    • paul

      Living in Fla now, transplanted from NY metro area the cars rust from the top down here & bottom up in NY, of course this is before the advent of epoxy primers & polyester paint’s. The sun does take it’s toll on the headlights, dash, top of the back seats & headliners if the car is outside, if stored in a garage the humidity takes it’s toll on everything & if you live near the ocean you all know how that works.

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  18. rancho bella

    if there was no moisture on earth………………2002’s would rust.

    It’s as though they are a rust sponge……..soaking up rust as it passes by………

    Small bumper round light models are preferred.

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  19. Ron Yager

    Sorry I think that it is a little bit of wishful thinking. I really don’t think a car that needs as much cosmetic work as it does for 3,500 is too high…. Worth a third of that at most….

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  20. ConservativesDefeated


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  21. John

    I had one much like this one, except mine had absolutely no rust.

    It still cost a fortune to maintain, and there was never a day that it didn’t need something. I bought it two exhaust manifolds. The cost of the two new exhaust manifolds was nearly as much as this guy is asking.

    But its still wonderful to see these cars and dream a bit. Thanks Jesse.

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  22. Joe Herald

    I know these 2002’s and 1600’s were pretty well engineered cars but shape geometry made them look awkward.
    The “beltline” is too low, it makes the windows look too tall in proportion to the size and shape of the car.

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  23. William Robinson

    Living in Nova Scotia cars look like this when they are parked with one side facing the ocean for a short time. Ive seen cars completly rotten on one side and the other is at least salvageable.

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