Live Auctions

No Funny Business! 1972 BMW 2002

The Seller instructs the Reader: “Price is Firm! No Funny Business.” Obviously, this is a serious matter for serious-minded buyers und should be approached as such. So German. Well, you’re going to have to be serious to get your hooks into it, since it appears to be in what some may call the middle-of-nowhere. I would call it the middle-of-nowhere. Using the Google map that’s included by craigslist finds you zooming out five clicks before a city of any size shows up…and that’s Temecula, California. Parked somewhere since 1993, this Riviera Blue beauty is getting a chance to play in the sun once again. It does have a sunroof, so that makes it easier! You can see it here on craigslist.

The body on this “Roundie” (from the taillights) is just about as perfect as you could expect. It has new tires, shiny hubcaps and it looks to have every last bit of trim, too. If it has spent much of its life either running or parked anywhere near Temecula, it has seen very little moisture and absolutely no salt, except perhaps on the rim of a Margarita. It has been repainted, thankfully in the same color, but could use a serious buff and wax. Just look how beautifully delicate those wraparound chrome bumpers are. They’re almost invisible, really, and let us see the sculptural lines of the body.

So, my dad had one of these. He’s owned a nearly uncountable number of fantastic cars and many before I was born, but this BMW is one of my most well-remembered and beloved. If you’ve never driven one of these 2002’s…figure out a way. Maybe buy this one? Just saying.

As any BMW lover will tell you, the 2002 series was launched in 1966 and very likely saved the Bayerische Motoren Werke. The car redefined the sport sedan and along with it created a whole new kind of sport sedan owner: the much-beloved Bimmer Driver. They created lots of them. In fact, BMW sold over 860,000 of these by the time they stopped production in 1977. Good News! There are plenty of parts available for restoration and even BMW supplies a stunning number of parts for the 2002’s. Oh, and modifications for going faster? Fuhgeddaboudit! Everything you’d ever want is available to make this a Sunday racer!

Love this cabin! So clean and purposeful, it’s no wonder this design saved BMW. This early model still has the three-spoke steering wheel, too. There is one exception, though: I feel pretty confident in declaring that the center console designer was not aware that the automatic was going to be an option.“Fritz! Ach! Jetzt, vee need ein automatischen zshifter!” After a good cleaning, all you’ll need is a set of cocoa mats, some flared Perma-Press slacks, a wild Fortrel polyester shirt and it’s off to see The Godfather!

In the back seat, the classic woven texture vinyl is showing some splits and the package tray looks like waves breaking on the beach. It figures, though; lotsa glass means lotsa UV damage, but all this should be easily replaced. Speaking of UV damage, the dash has some cracking, too, but if you find you can’t live with it, it can be nicely restored…and pulling this dash will be a lot easier than most.

The ol’ engine bay. The seller says it hasn’t run for a while and that the engine hasn’t been tried lately. Really hard to say what the story might be under here. Parked for some reason, right? The base 4-cylinder 1,990 cc, 4-cylinder cast-iron block and aluminum head fitted with a single two-barrel Solex wasn’t exactly a rip-snorter, producing a little over 100 horsepower, but don’t forget those race mods! On this car, as we know, all this is backed up with the (gasp) 3-speed automatic. My dad’s was the standard 4-speed and it was a real dream to drive through the mountains of southern Germany (true; driving ANYTHING through the mountains of southern Germany is dreamy). The automatic is nice, though, I’m sure. Probably very nice. And pleasant. But, ahhh… If you get the urge for some wrenching… And you probably will… the seller is including a four-speed transmission in the deal, and that ain’t all; there’s also a Tii fuel-injection setup! All this for an asking price of $4,950? Like he says, it’s worth it on parts alone (shudder) and it sure sounds good to me, but remember, “no funny business and the price is firm!” Still, as they said back in 1972:

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” 
– Marlon Brando, in The Godfather 


  1. 8banger dave Member

    One of our guys here at the shop is a German-trained BMW Tech, and our hearts leapt when we first saw this little roundie, but when we realized whats between the seats…..ack! If purchased, this would be an instant conversion…

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      I love slush boxes but having owned a 1969 BMW 2002 I would lose the auto box and fit the 4 speed in a heartbeat. They are unbelievable cars. I think I commented once before that I have owned over 200 cars and the 2002 is still my favourite.

  2. redwagon

    agreed. most folks looking at this car want it to be a manual transmission. desperately want it to be a manual. but the owner is including a 4spd manual (condition unknown) so part of the hunt is done.

    at just under $5k this seems like a decent price. if the body looked as good in person as it appears in the pictures i dont think i would argue on price.

    for you jalops out there i vote np all day long.

  3. HBChris

    The introduction of the Neue Klasse sedans in 1962 technically “saved” BMW as their sales took off, and the 1600 followed in 1966 and the 2002 in 1968.

  4. Russell Casey

    I had a 2002 4-speed 20 years I bought new in 76. Wonder what an auto is like to drive? Can you even rebuild one?

  5. Mountainwoodie

    Back in the late eighties I bought a similar slushbox ’72 with a sunroof in Baikal blue. I found a gettrag 5 speed and had it installed. I put a set of BBS basketweaves on it. It was a beautiful 02. As a serial car owner I got an itch and sold it for 6k! At first I thought this was the same color as mine but according to the seller it is Riviera blue. So glad it isnt the one I owned as it looks very neglected. Still……..

  6. Jubjub

    Hope it’s as good as looks.

  7. Wagon master Member

    I owned an automatic. They really need a stick to feel sporty and responsive. At fwy speeds the auto is not geared well. 4000 rpm at Ca fwy speeds above 70mph. What do you guys see that I dont?

  8. Dolphin Member

    It’s in the Inland Empire, one of the driest areas in the country. I once camped out overnight in the nearby Anza Borrego desert, but that’s another story.

    This car looks like it might actually have been in a barn, or at least some kind of structure, since the paint and interior aren’t fried to a crisp—a very good thing, since that means you don’t have to replace the interior unless you want to make it perfect.

    In fact I’m thinking you might be able to do some basic fixes, do the best you can with the paint, and call it a survivor-driver.

    And if the seller is actually including a raft of genuine period 2002 parts, one of which is a 4-speed, that’s a gift that’s hard to resist. If I were in the area I think I would seriously consider this lot.

  9. Bkiernan

    Same guy that’s selling the 1956 Woodhill Wildfire on BAT. Visible in a background shot in tha Ad.

  10. Maestro1

    I’m several hundred miles away, but not that far, and if I had the room I would jump on it.

  11. Steve H.

    I had a friend in college that had one of these, a red one with the 4-speed. We had so much fun blasting around town in that thing. Amazing cornering and handling. But when he told me he had driven it over 20K miles without changing the oil, I lost all respect for him, but gained new respect for that engine… it was still running strong. I think he sold it when we graduated, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t pass that info along to the buyer.

  12. pat gill

    I have a red 1972 2002 touring (hatch back) that I used for the last 10 years as a daily driver to get to work, converted it to 4 speed auto using an E30 ZF 4hp22 box, 2500 rpm at 70 mph, now I am retired will be converting it to 5 speed manual and Tii spec, They are great cars, cruise all day at 80 mph……. Pat

  13. Ken Kittleson

    Sold a tan ’72 2002 this summer, a running and driving Midwestern native with some rust, 4 speed, started out at $8K, sold it a couple of months later for $5K so this seller’s price sounds right on the mark for a rust-free original needing some work. Move quickly if interested since I had inquiries from around the globe and it ended up going to France. Agree that a 4 speed transplant is in order to maintain the fun factor in this adult go-kart!

  14. Achman

    I have a ’73 Tii in Agave.

    The automatics actually drive pretty well, and you can shift them manually. It’s a decent box, although yes, they are more fun with a 4sp.

    “4000 rpm at Ca fwy speeds above 70mph. What do you guys see that I dont?”

    A 4sp 2002 will be at about 4K at 70mph also. My 4sp Tii turns about 3500rpm at 70mph because I have a euro rear end in it, drops rpm by about 500.

    This is a great buy, it’s in dry California, it’s all there, and a 4sp swap is easy. Take care of that possible rust around rear window and drive the snot out of it.

    • BOP Guy Member

      Really like yours, It’s a beauty !

  15. Deborah King

    Back in the day, Hubby and I decided to buy a 2002. It was 1972, and we were on our second or third test drive. We pulled back in the dealer’s lot, and I remember the distress my husband felt–he hated the interior. “Four thousand bucks for automatic and air. I just can’t justify that.” So, we bought a used ’69 for $1850. He wanted the automatic because of his commute, and he loved the car. I hate automatics, and I never warmed up to it. We also had a lot of trouble with the engine, so maybe we should have bought new. Probably would have come out ahead.

  16. brakeservo

    I worked for a very large BMW dealer when these were new and truly appreciated how superior they were to just about anything else . . . way back then! Now after a number of decades I had opportunity to drive one again and I was truly impressed, but not as you may expect – I was impressed by how primitive, crude and basic it was. Things have changed, the world moves on. Just drive one before you buy one, it may not be what you expect today.

  17. Otto Nobedder

    Looks complete enough to run-I wonder why the Seller didnt spend an hour or 2 to get it running? One of the simplest cars to work on(distributor and plugs within easy reach)

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