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Honestly Beige: 1976 BMW 2002

Located on Staten Island, New York with a dealer, is this unmolested, completely original 1976 BMW 2002. Find it for sale here on eBay, bid to $11,850 with reserve not met. Bidding is brisk on this popular model. The 2002 – named for the 2.0-liter motor and the two doors, i.e., 2000+2 – was conceived when two BMW executives separately replaced the motors in their 1600 cars with 2-liter engines. They discovered each other’s modifications when they happened to take their cars in for service at the same time. After comparing notes, they presented the idea to BMW’s board of directors. The resulting car literally created the Sports GT class and it sold over 400,000 copies before the 3 Series emerged. The car’s wheelbase is only 98 inches, the center of gravity is low, and it weighs just 2380 lbs. The motor puts out 100 bhp, with a single Solex carburetor. This is the last year of this model, with the larger impact bumpers. The seller states that the car runs strong and has a clean title.

Inside, the camel interior is in good condition given the likelihood that the 0588 odometer reading is not true mileage. The seller states that the seats were refurbished with new seat cushions and covers. The carpets are faded. The car comes with its original mats. The dash is clean without any evident cracking. There’s plenty of glass all around – this model is known for great visibility. The seller confesses that the body shows wear, with small nicks and dents here and there. The chrome is hazy in places and some rubber seals are worn. We can hardly complain given it is a forty-six-year-old car that’s seen almost no restoration. It does have new emblems, wiper blades, and an outside mirror on the passenger side.

The car’s performance was just what the market wanted at the time. Rowing through the four gears took you from 0 to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds (ok it sounds slow today but if you wanted better you could opt for the 2002tii). The car handles so well that it has become popular in vintage rallies lately. This engine bay could benefit from an afternoon’s work, and decisions need to be made about things like the tattered but original under-hood insulation. Replace, or remove?

I appreciate a seller who’s willing to include undercarriage photos. The underside is reasonably free of curb scraping, showing only grease and dirt from years of use. Overall, this is about as honest an example as you’ll find, untouched by modifications. The question is, what to do here? Preserve it as is, or restore it? I know what I would do; how about you?


  1. alphasud Member

    Definitely preserve the car. Maybe some nice wheels. I don’t know how hard it would be to backdate the bumpers but much of the 02’s good looks we’re gone by the time the 5mph bumpers were hung on the car. Same thing could be said with my e28 535i once I removed the original bumper and installed a euro bumper the car was transformed.

    Like 3
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      I’m with you. But nicer wheels will make the rest of the car look shabbier. I like ‘even patina’!

      Like 2
    • Jerry A

      Remove those big bumpers and you’ll never feel safe parallel parking again. Just a light tap on the nose from an SUV will cost plenty to fix. The 76’s are actually a solidly built car compared to the roundies, but they are sadly devalued in CA due to smog requirements.

  2. SaabGirl900

    Welcome, Michelle! So great to see a woman writing for Barn Finds…nice write up here. I look forward to reading more of your articles!

    Like 1
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Thanks! It’s a fun gig!

      Like 2
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Hello Michelle, and I agree with SG900! Ended:Jun 14, 2022 , 7:20PM
    Winning bid:
    US $15,050.00
    [ 62 bids ]

    Like 1
  4. Mountainwoodie

    Well knock me over with a feather. 15 K!

    As a two time Roundie owner, one with a 5 speed Getrag I popped in a original slushbox, I never did like the square tails. Throw in the barge bumpers and you lose me. Just goes to show you that, as my sainted late father used to say, there’s an ass for every seat. At 15 K this is an expensive seat. But they are a heck of a lot of fun, at least the ’71, ’72’s were.

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