Yellow Fellow: 1973 BMW 2002

This yellow 1973 BMW 2002 is like a bright little sunburst. Not always first thought of in a yellow color, it is a refreshing shade on an iconic, yet affordable, classic vehicle. On this example, the mileage is listed at 44,000 miles, although it is unknown if the odometer has rolled over. It is located in Tucson, Arizona and is a bid auction with a current price at time of writing of $5,001. You can view more on the eBay listing.

Not much is listed about the engine other than it turns by hand. A new battery has not been used to see if the car will actually start. The lone picture of the 4 cylinder engine shows it a lot of dirt and grease, but nothing that seems detrimental to starting the car. An automatic transmission is mated to the engine, even though that was barely noted in the listing. Air conditioning is a comfortable feature on the car.

On the inside of the car, a faded and torn interior furnishes this 2002. Due to the climate, the dash is cracked. New seats will need new upholstery and padding, and the carpet will need to be replaced. The car overall doesn’t have a whole lot of intense rust. In the spare wheel well is really the only major concentration of rust. Under the car looks normal. The car still has the original spare tire and jack.

The title is listed as clean, in hand, and notarized. This car would be a perfect restoration project, and should be an easy transaction to purchase. It also looks like it should go up on a trailer easily. While these cars are incredibly popular, the split opinions of which taillight is better remains the hot topic. This car has the round taillights. If that style tickles your fancy, and you are wanting restore one, this is it.

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  1. angliagt

    I know a guy who bought a 2002 new,in this color,
    with a vinyl roof.I thought that it was the ugliest 2002 that
    I ever saw.
    OTOH,back then,only enthusiast bought BMW’s.

  2. Booya

    Good “bones.”

    I wonder how hard it would be to sub-out a 4 or 5-speed? Maybe use an E30 donor?

    • Mountainwoodie

      I had a cherry auto ’72 02, sunroof and dealer installed a/c in Baikal blue I had a Getrag 5 speed installed. Slushboxes suck, Went like a baby bat out of hell.

  3. Bob S

    This is an old hot rodder writing, so don’t accuse me of being some kind of foreign car lover. I bought my first BMW 2002 to use as an airport car, and I ended up liking it so much that it became the family car.
    My point is, that it depends a lot on the buyer’s driving preferences and location as to whether or not it would be a good car. By this, I mean that if a person owned or raced sports cars, or lived in a mountainous area, the car would be a fun experience. I wouldn’t want the automatic, all mine were 4 speeds, but these little BMWs were an excellent handling and performing 4 seat sports car. They are well balanced, well built, and stick to the road like a cat on a carpet.
    There are tons of speed parts available for these cars, and those little engines can produce serious, reliable, horse power.

  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’ve driven a 2002 with a slushbox and can advise that the four-speed manual version is much nicer to drive.

    Agree with Bob S’ comments regarding the 2002.

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    The color of this 1973 BMW 2002, Golf yellow, is certainly appropriate for its location in sunny Tucson, Arizona. As featured here on ebay, bidding has reached $5001 (as of this writing) for this bright Bavarian classic.

    Mileage is listed at an optimistic 44K, with no assurance of accuracy. The stock carbureted M-10 inline 4-cylinder is said to turn by hand, and the seller has evidently not made the effort to start it, though a cursory examination of the photos would indicate that some fresh gas and a battery might get the motor revving, and putting out about 100 horsepower.

    Though the automatic transmission is certainly a letdown, the Behr Air Conditioning system checks an important box, especially in the desert Southwest. A four or five-speed swap could remedy the slushbox factor, creating a cool canyon cruiser.

    The black vinyl interior looks surprisingly good, given that it’s black and located in Arizona. The dash has the usual cracks seen on many 2002s, and doesn’t look especially bad for a Tucson car. The front seat vinyls look serviceable,
    but the horsehair padding is likely burnt to a crisp and is as hard as a rock. The rear seat looks about the same, with some duct tape holding the backrest together. New vinyl kits and horsehair pad sets are readily available for this car, though they aren’t cheap. Ditto for the carpet in this car, which needs replacing. Some exterior trim bits are AWOL, but those too are available and wouldn’t prevent the new owner from enjoying the car while sourcing them.

    The bonus on this car is the apparent lack of rust, certainly thanks to its desert location. The underbody looks quite solid and rust free, as do the body panels, judging from the photos. The spare tire well does have some rust, but no rust-through, as can be common with the 2002. A clear title is also a plus in those states that require titles.

    This car would make an excellent candidate for either a full restoration or a rolling restoration, as I suspect it wouldn’t take much to get it back on the road again. Who’s up for a round of “Golf”?

  6. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    The great David E Davis wrote a piece in C & D decades ago talking about the virtues of the 2002. He even named it as the inventor of the small Euro performance car. That’s a pretty big group of cars today, both here and over there.

    A bunch of websites have it online now.
    If you’re interested Google: BMW 2002 David E Davis

  7. Bill McCoskey

    I worked for BMW back in 1975 to ’78, and when I started I was offered a company executive car, brand new 1973 2002 on certificate of origin, even though it was 2 years old. My 2002 Turkis [turquoise paint color] was loaded with all the options except for automatic, even had a microphone on the Blaupunkt AM/FM/cassette radio.

    My father sold his 1968 Porsche 912 5-speed and was looking at a new car when I got the 2002. Since I already had several other cars, I told him to drive it, and he put 50,000 or more miles on it before I got it back.

    BMW had major problems with that paint color. My car’s paint began to peel off in sheets, so they repainted it at no charge in 1977, but it needed new paint about 6 years later. That was the only serious problem with the car, we put well over 200,000 miles before parking it. Sold it when I moved to my farm in 2000, should have kept it and started driving it again.

    Maryland came out with Vanity license plates in 1977, so I obtained a set of plates that bore the number: MMII Very few people figured it out, but when they did, they often pulled up next to me at a traffic light to tell me they figured out my tag! Do you get it?

  8. Pat Gill

    I converted my 2002 to 4 speed automatic, using a 4hp22 overdrive box from an E30, MUCH better than the original 3 speed unit, much lower RPM at motorway speeds and much better economy, the only issue with fitting an E30 box, manual or auto is the lack of a speedo drive for the cable, E30 speedo is electronic driven from a sensor in the rear axle, I had star wheels laser cut to fit on the drive shaft bolts at one side of the differential, installed an E30 sensor and an E30 speedo into the 2002 cluster, my 2002 4hp22 conversion kit is for sale in the UK as I am now going 5 speed manual and a Tii engine……

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