Among lovers of BMW’s 2002, the 1976 model year, fitted with the automatic transmission, is something like the V12 E-Type coupe with automatic is among Jaguar enthusiasts. You can still see the original vision somewhere in the car, but like fat Elvis, it’s lost its direction and edge, its vision blurred by emissions controls and safety regulations instead of drugs and food. But with the 2002 moving ever more firmly into collector territory, it’s time to give even this rendition a second chance. Let’s take a look at this 1976 BMW 2002 Automatic for sale for $2000 in Hayward/Castro Valley, CA.
Not too shabby – this Malaga red car is said to have been in storage since 2002 (coincidence?), when it was still a running car. There’s no word on why it was parked 14 years ago, but it’s still in running, driving condition. The photos are somewhat flattering when it comes to the body, but the seller concedes it needs some rust repair to typical areas like door bottoms, hood, sun roof and spare tire well, and documents some with photos. It does appear to have spent most or all its life in California, as evidenced by the 1970s-era yellow and blue plate on the front (and absence of wipers). Who doesn’t like white letter tires on an imported car?
You can see the door rust in this shot, but generally it gives the impression of a car that could be returned to the road without significant work to the exterior. Mesh wheels are a nice 1980s acccessory – hopefully they’re 14-inchers, since you’ll be chasing your tail looking for 13-inch tires with even slightly sporting intentions. Commonly missing or damaged items like body side trim, belt line trim, grills and badging all look decent in these shots, so you can focus on the interior and mechanical refreshing.
The somewhat blurry engine shot shows nothing alarming, other than odd spark plug wire routing and mismatched colors. Everything looks complete, and visible rust seems to be of the surface variety. There are an amazing amount of emissions goo-gaws in there compared to earlier 2002s, but they only caused a minor horsepower loss – you’ll probably miss the lightness of the earlier cars more, with their absence of emissions and safety gear.
And here’s the interior – right off you can see a missing driver’s armrest and door handle, misshapen seats, a hideous aftermarket steering wheel, and worst of all, a shifter handle that looks like it’s from a contemporary Pinto. That said, if you’ll remember reading about this automatic 2002 that got away, the automatic transmission was not as horrible as you might expect. Sure, a manual transmission would be your first choice (and it’s easy to put one in), but if you needed to have an automatic for financial, spousal, or health reasons, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find it doesn’t suck all the life out of the car.
Ok, so how to bring this cheap 02 back to life without spending the next two years sourcing parts? Well, spend nearly twice the price on a parts car, of course! This 1976 BMW 2002 Automatic has suffered from the inattention of a careless driver, but the upshot is the owner claims to have spent $9000 ($5000 of which is documented) on repairs. Looking at the listing, you can immediately see parts the other car needs, like an exterior mirror, stock steering wheel, and more. That said, you’ll definitely want to poke around on this one, as the interior is also said to be in great shape, though some of the first things that jump to the eye are the saggy upholstery and split driver’s seat. Nonetheless, with some patience and negotiation skills, you might have a project and parts source for pretty short money.