I’ve mentioned this here before, but any car journalist worth their salt has read David E. Davis’ Car and Driver review of the BMW 2002. It’s the reason so many of us even got started writing about cars in the first place and what sprung so many people to get into BMWs. It’s quite possibly the greatest car review of all time. Each and every time I read it, which I do every now and again, I go scouring the classifieds for BMW 2002s.
The best 2002 of them all was the 2002tii. It housed a 2.0 liter, fuel injected, four-cylinder engine producing 130 horsepower and had a top speed of 115 mph. For the time, 1971, that was very fast for such a small engine.
The 2002tii was probably the best handling saloon car of its time and pretty much gave birth to the sport sedan segment. It’s an absolute legend. So naturally, decent used examples are fairly pricy. So is it worth it to buy a slightly worn model, but still mechanically sound, with some noticeable age and wear for the same price as a brand new Honda FIT?
During my most recent attempt at scouring for 2002s, I found this. It’s a 1973 BMW 2002tii with 96,000 miles on it with a factory manually-operated sunroof, a four-speed manual and a numbers matching engine. That last bit is important, as many will swap the 2002tii engine into a standard 2002 and swap the badges, passing it off for a real 2002tii. But this one is a legitimate 2002tii. It’s in Riviera Blue with black leather interior and a beautiful wood-rimmed steering wheel.
This specific example is showing a bit of age. But I actually kind of like that in an old car, because you don’t have to drive it around worrying that every little rock is going to chip it. You can actually drive it the way it’s meant to be driven and not coddle it. However, there is very little rust on the car, with most of it being underneath it, on subframes and the exhaust and whatnot. The paint’s clear coat is beginning to fade and the interior has some minor wear. But the seller claims it to be in fine mechanical condition, which isn’t surprising as these engines are so simple and bulletproof reliable. Aside from the minor wear and tear, a byproduct of being 42 years old, it looks great. I love the manual sunroof and wood shifter, those little touches that transport you back to a different time. Just an absolute classic.
The only issue, is it’s a bit pricey for a weekend toy. At $15,500, the asking price is a bit steep. However, this is the car that captured the hearts of so many young enthusiasts and got them into the crazy world we’re all in. This is the car I would dream of owning and got me to buy my first BMW, so it would be kind of like owning my hero. So to me, this is a dynamite deal, given its mechanical condition. If I could afford it, I’d buy it tomorrow and drive around remembering why I love BMW. And complaining about the crappy Blaupunkt stereo.