BMW produced more than 800,000 examples of the 02 Series between 1966 and 1977 when the original 3 Series (E21) became its natural successor. Sedan, convertible, and hatchback body styles were made during the 11-year life cycle, although the Touring (hatch) pictured here was only made for three years. As you can easily tell, this is no ordinary 2002 Touring as it has been meticulously restored down to the very last bolt.
Revitalized over a process that took no fewer than three years, the classic hatchback is owned by Tony, who had zero experience with 2002s before deciding to invest a lot of time and money into the car. His area of expertise is the E30, but he simply couldn’t resist the temptation to buy the quirky hatch even though it was in a rough shape, to say the least.
Purcashed from a friend who had kept it in a garage for four years, the 2002 Touring built in the right-hand-drive specification was largely dismantled, with all the bits and pieces stored in boxes stuffed inside. He stripped down the car and then acquired as many original body panels as he was able to find to keep the car as OEM as possible.
Not only that, he decided to upgrade the car by fitting the 2002 Turbo’s widebody kit with the chunkier fenders while skipping the front splitter. For a car built nearly half a century ago and neglected in recent years, it goes without saying rust was a serious issue, but Tony eventually got rid of it. Since he wasn’t able to find an original trunk floor for the Touring, he ended up getting the sedan’s original part and modified it to fit the shorter rear. He goes on to say the twin headlights and metal badges were quite a pain to source, while the taillights are new.
Nearly every panel has been replaced, with the exception of the doors, and even those will be swapped out for new ones soon. The 2002 Touring sits on 15-inch BBS wheels and boasts an air suspension specially adapted for this build. In case you haven’t noticed, it features aftermarket side mirrors since Tony wasn’t a fan of the original ones, albeit he admits this custom set is pretty much useless. He also blacked out all the chrome trims to give the car a cleaner look.
Painted in the Ford Focus RS’ Stealth Gray to replace the original silver, the 1973 Bimmer boasts a red leather interior with Recaro front seats borrowed from a first-generation Opel Astra GTE. The cabin looks fresh after every trim piece was either restored or replaced, along with fitting new floor mats and carpet.
The inline-four M10 engine with its original 100 horsepower has been upgraded with a pair of thirsty Weber 45 carburetors. Additional tweaks were made and the plan is to fit a performance exhaust manifold to squeeze out a bit more power. Tony says the four-speed gearbox represents the Achilles’ heel, especially on a highway as the car gets pretty loud at higher rpms, but that goes with the territory considering the venerable age.
Flat out, the car did 110 mph (177 km/h) on a private road, with a bit of oomph left in it. That said, the owner admits it was “a bit sketchy and rather scary” to drive the 2002 Touring at that speed, even on a straight road. It’s not a problem to get it up 70 mph (113 km/h) on a highway, aside from the noise.
All things considered, the 2002 Touring was unquestionably a labor of love.
[Source: Hand Built Cars / YouTube] [Images provided for media use by ony Forbes-marsden at www.instagram.com/essexbmwe30]