1970 BMW 2002

By now I’m sure you’re noticing a lot of my favorite cars come from the seventies. Well, here’s another (just barely) – the BMW 2002. I’m sure if you’re reading this, it comes as no great surprise, and I’m not revealing anything unusual like I have in some of my other posts. However, I rode in one of these before I was born, on the way back from the hospital, and then as a little screamer, until my father replaced it with a used 1975 530i with a black vinyl roof. I’ve always wanted one of these, the search for one during high school having culminated in the purchase of my Alfa Spider. Since then, I’ve looked for one in vain, on and off, but even cheap ones have become more expensive, especially if you’re trying to avoid the 1974-76 rubber bumper cars.

However, a decent car within the budget range occasionally pops up, and this 1970 model (same year as my father’s) in Sacramento, CA looks a pretty solid basis for a rusty-but-trusty car. It has a substantial, descriptive advertisement to boot. As is frequently the case, the photography leaves something to be desired, but that is fairly common for a $2500 car on craigslist. You can see that it’s a fairly straight car that should be low-rust if it’s spent most of its life in Northern California:

1970 BMW 2002 front

On the picture above, you can see the hood trim is misaligned with the door trim, but that’s most likely from the hood being open. You can also see this car is sporting the later black plastic grill from the rubber-bumper 2002s, but I don’t think this really takes away from the aesthetic of the car, particularly in combination with the later-style steelies. Nice thing about the earlier (1967-71ish – whoah there, 2002-nerds) cars is the shorter rear bumpers and lack of a rub strip along the lower section of the body.

1970 BMW 2002 side

Car looks pretty clean from the passenger side as well, although you can see the door isn’t quite properly closed. You know, if you can’t (or can’t be bothered to) get the car outside, there’s a lot to be said for photographing it in a clean, light garage – it gives a good impression of the owner and how careful they might be in the writing of their ad. In this case, the car was to be a project for the owner, so that along with the comprehensive ad text says something about how careful they are in selecting a project. Seller says the car is 99.8% (did he do the math on that?) rust-free, and that the suspension and steering are the areas most needing attention. However, the car runs “darn good” and could probably be the basis for a rolling project.

As the seller says, throw this thing up on jackstands, do the suspension and brakes, and you’d have a pretty good driver. Or you could do the work in order of priority, plus refit some new tires when the funds are there.

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5 Responses to “1970 BMW 2002”

  1. Jeff B. Says:

    I used to like these too – until I bought one! After driving Alfa sedans for many years – jumping into this was like jumping into a paddleboat. I am constantly amazed by the following they continue to hold – compared to contemporary Alfa’s they are a total let-down in every way: power/handling/feel-character/sound/looks. Granted – everything is subjective, I personally never connected with the car and couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. It’s the only car I ever owned that I hold no nostalgic feelings for whatsoever.

  2. Chris Keen Says:

    Interesting – I remember enjoying them on the test drives, but haven’t driven one in about 15 years. Your experience sounds like mine when I tried out an MGB-GT – I love the aesthetics, but couldn’t get over the un-revvable nature of the engine.

  3. aaron Says:

    I had a ’69 1600 that performed well, even in comparison to some of the Alfa sedans I’ve owned. I think some suspension upgrades (mine had Bilsteins, for example) make a big difference.

  4. Chris Keen Says:

    I’d guess the Alfas are at least more rev-happy, and they’re of course more powerful than a regular ’02. Still want to try one out… or maybe an 1800/2000 4-door. Hmm.

  5. J. A. Levi, BMW Tuning Company Founder Says:

    Nice post. I showed it to a bunch of my colleagues who also read it. (We run a retailer of high-endbmw modifications and stuff!). Anyways, Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

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