The One That Got Away – 1973 BMW 2002 Automatic

Do you ever see a car listed for sale and think, hey, that’s a good deal, I should go check that out? Then, life gets in the way and you don’t follow through. Sometimes, you even make it to the test drive, but then the thought of getting it home and debugging any previous owner issues seems overwhelming. And that’s what happened to the RustyButTrusty fleet manager (yours truly) this past weekend, with this 1973 BMW 2002 Automatic, which Was for sale for $1500 in Portland, OR.

1973 BMW 2002 Auto left side

This car appeared to be in original condition, with possible traces of accident repair on the right rear fender. There was some light rust under the lip of the trunk lid, but a quick visual inspection showed no other major structural issues. Yes, the automatic is a real letdown on a car like this, but they’re still an entertaining drive and there was clearly money being left on the table here, at least if you were willing to assume the risks of a 3-year storage period and failing automatic transmission.

1973 BMW 2002 Auto interior

The seats were sagging, though by no means uncomfortable on a short test drive. The dash had nearly no cracking, and while the original period radio was in the center console, the glovebox had a remotely mounted head unit installed out of sight. All electrical features except wipers appeared to be functioning, including the clock, which took the place of the usual tachometer.

1973 BMW 2002 Auto engine

The engine seemed to run well, with some smoking under the hood, probably due to dried out seals. One of the brakes was also sticking, which was handy for controlling the usual automatic creeping forward, but also heated up the right front wheel significantly. That said, the car was said to have had brake work before its storage period, so hopefully the new owner will benefit somewhat from that. All service records from new were included, and the car came with the usual box of parts and its original air filter canister.

1973 BMW 2002 Auto trunk

Even the trunk was tidy, with solid wheel wells. So what would you have done with this? Left it to someone else? Done a manual swap? Simply flipped it for more cash? Let’s hope the actual buyer was someone who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford one of these, and found a good entry point into a solid 2002. Yup, that feels better.

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5 Responses to “The One That Got Away – 1973 BMW 2002 Automatic”

  1. Mike P Says:

    One can only hope that fixing that ZF transmission won’t break the bank.

  2. Chuy Gonzalez Says:

    Go back and get it. I swapped a 5 speed into my ’88 528e. A great project. This car would be easier, and would really change the character of this car.

  3. steve in podunk Says:

    ya’ should of scooped it up when you had the chance.

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