Running Roundie: 1971 BMW 2002

Somewhere in late ’70 or early ’71, I learned what a BMW 2002 was. A friend’s older brother had a 1969 model, finished in typically found silver, and on the surface, I viewed it as an unusual-looking foreign car. It didn’t take long for me to realize there was more to this car than its rounded bathtub look – it had some serious performance capability. So, as a trip down memory lane, let’s take a look at a similar 1971 BMW 2002 coupe. This example is located in Acworth, Georgia and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $14,102 with nineteen bids tendered so far.

Introduced in 1966 as the BMW 02 series and considered an entry-level model, power was initially provided by a 1.6-liter engine. The 2.0-liter engine was added in ’68, creating the model known as the 2002. Continuing through 1975, 2002 production totaled about 339K units in both coupe and convertible body styles.

Originally finished in a hue known as “Nevada” today’s subject is finished off in primer, a shade not much different than Nevada except that it’s flat, and it’s ready for a respray. The body appears to be straight and mostly free of typical, troublesome corrosion that afflicts this vintage BMW, though the seller states, “Ready for some existing bodywork“. I’m not certain what that means unless it’s a reference to some surface rust visible around the lower edge of the windshield and the passenger side front turn signal. Other areas of concern may be the driver’s side, rear rocker panel and the back bumper. The latter looks pushed in though it may just be the angle at which the picture was taken. The seller adds, “Undercarriage, subframe and shock towers in excellent condition“. It’s not stated if the alloy wheels have been refinished but they look great!

As stated earlier, there is a 2.0 liter, inline four-cylinder engine upfront that’s good for 114 HP. Considered a driver, the seller states, “Engine runs well. Starts hard when cold. Been sitting in storage prior to its 72-mile run“. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether or not you consider a 72-mile run to be a notable outing. The manual transmission, probably a four-speed, is claimed to shift as it should. There is a driving video and an idling video that can be reviewed.

The interior is described as follows, “Rare Nardi Personal Emerson Fittipaldi, numbered steering wheel. Upholstery good. Passenger bottom seat has a tear in the seam. Needs a headliner. Original headliner has a 2” tear“. It is overall, a bright spot and looks pretty good in spite of the items mentioned. Curiously, the driver’s seat and passenger seat don’t match – the driver’s seat looks to have a cloth insert while the passenger seat is still wearing leatherette – and both do need help. Fortunately, the padded dash and instrument panel both present quite well. Regardless, the environment is usable as is and improvements can occur as the next owner is ready to proceed.

The BMW 2002 was and is a real driver’s car, they are a great mix of performance, road manners, and Teutonic engineering. This example has a pretty solid bearing as it is and possesses nice upside potential. Finally, the seller suggests, “I’m selling this car as a driving, restoration project. If you don’t know what these cars are or, don’t have the resources for restoration, it may not be the car for you. If it doesn’t sell, you can buy it from me in the Spring for $28,500 after restoration…” Sounds like a rather pretentious position to take; if you want it, buy it, and do what you will with it, restoration or not. As for the prescient $28,500 restored price? I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that, how about you?


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  1. Walt

    For people who didn’t live through that period, its hard to appreciate how very different BMWs were to the run of the mill car of the day, especially domestic cars, but also other typical foreign cars. And by different I mean way better handling, ride, braking, and just general solidity. Really special. Today’s BMWs are not so special in my opinion, mainly because most other makers have improved.

    Like 2
  2. Graham Line

    It’s not the angle. The rear bumper is well and truly pushed in.

    Like 3
  3. Mountainwoodie

    I’ve had two…………this would take a personal inspection. Set up correctly these are little screamers. Love em.

    The primer , mismatched seats, funky air cleaner ( missing its snorkel setup) and the incredibly …….ummmm…..rare signed Nardi wheel make no sense.

    Plus its a slicktop. No Bueno….. Already up to 15 K….. amazing

  4. Connecticut Mark

    Looks like drivers side rockers rusted away ?

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