Running Roundie: 1972 BMW 2002

This 1972 BMW 2002 is a desirable round taillight example, otherwise known as a “roundie.” Despite being listed in Andover, Massachusetts, it is from Colorado and is said to be quite solid in all the areas that are typically trouble spots on a car like this. I personally love the KC driving lamps on the front bumper, which are more suited for a K5 Blazer than a 2002, but to each their own. The paint is gone but the floors are there, which is more of a priority for most enthusiasts anyway. Even better? The 2002 still runs and drives, so you’re already starting with a pretty solid foundation all around if you take this one on. Find the 2002 here on eBay with bidding just over $5K and the reserve unmet.

The 2002 looks like a great starting point for someone dipping a toe into vintage European car ownership, and it’s a sound investment too given the popularity of the round taillight cars. The seller was smart to snag this out of a western state where rust isn’t as much of an issue, and the only rust of any significance is obviously the surface-level patina and some rust on the outside of the rockers. This is far better than some of the projects I own, which makes me insanely jealous of people who live in the dry, mountain states and can still find vintage cars like this 2002 languishing about.

The other benefit to the earlier cars as seen above is the small bumpers, which many later 2002 owners convert to if they find a good pair of bumpers for sale. The seller’s car appears to have straight bumpers with good chrome and just an overrider missing from the front. The interior is better than you might expect for a car that presumably was left outside long enough for the paint to be baked completely off, though the dash does show some light cracking. Still, it’s a manual transmission 2002 that apparently wasn’t modified past some stickers and a set of driving lamps, as the interior looks to be completely stock, right down to the Blaupunkt-style radio.

The engine bay is clean and looks quite original, with no obvious signs of poorly repaired collision damage. The seller reports the BMW runs and stops without issue, and that even the clutch still engages as it should. Most importantly, the strut towers front and rear are in good shape, as these are one of the riskiest areas on a 2002 for finding rust. The seller does have a reserve on this round taillight car, which isn’t a surprise considering how desirable they’ve become. If you’re seeking perfection, this looks like a straightforward car to restore, and if not, it seems like an easy project to tinker with while you drive the doors off of it. Which path would you choose?


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  1. Terrry

    The 2002 was called by Car and Driver magazine, “Bavarian cream”, they liked it so much. And this is the car that put BMW on the map in the States, even before the 3-series.

    Like 9
    • ken tilly UK Member

      This is the car that put BMW on the map worldwide.

  2. Frank

    Good start for a BMW enthusiast.

    Like 1
  3. Rob

    I had one of these in college 35 years ago. The mechanical FI was a nightmare. There were no parts for it then, and I’m sure even less now.

    It’d probably have to be converted to carbs to make any sense. I can’t tell from the pics, but it looks like that may have already occured.

  4. gearjam1

    *Car is currently located in Lyons, Illinois. Looks like a great start!

  5. Jerry A

    this is an interim car; a little of the old style and more of the updated details that followed. wonderful old-style higher quality (but much disparaged spaghetti seatbelts), 2-piece dash without the ugly ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign poking out. and my personal favorite, the logos on the knobs, wont find those in later years. and my least favorite detail, the lower trim; useless holes drilled in the shell to mount them, less clean appearance to me. oh yea, and the change from 6fuse to 12fuse wiring harness.

  6. Richard Haner

    My love for them started when I was 13 years old detailing them when they came in new from the port…that was in 1969….clean off the cosmoline,then install the hub caps,chrome tip,wiper arms and blades,mirrior,and put the jack and tool kit where they belonged…all this came in a grey cardboard box …that love still continues at 65….and am doing a 70 sunroof and a vintage racer…look this one over carefully being from Ma,…….where I was from at the time when I was young and owned a couple before moving to Ca. in the late 70’s…salting of the roads would effect rocker panels in and out from the rear of the door back,firewall behind the heater and below the pedal box….and the spare tire well…hopefully it was undercoated which was a popular after sale item at the time the couple of dealers I worked for…

    Like 1

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