History of the 1968 - 1975 BMW 2002
The BMW 2002, 2002Tii, and 2002 Turbo are medium sized two-door sports saloons produced from 1968-75. The BMW 2002 was the trend setting, iconic car that captured the market in the late sixties and seventies and established BMW for the future. The basis for the 2002 was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1961 as the 4-door medium sized 1500 saloon with a brand new engine and concept for a range of cars called the "Neue Klasse". Larger four cylinder overhead cam engines of 1600, 1800 and 2-litre 4-door saloons were introduced over the years, finishing in 1972. Meanwhile the 2-door saloon, designated the 02-series (02 meaning a 2-door) was introduced in March 1966 as the 1500 and intended to be the basic BMW model. The four-cylinder engine featured a hemi-head overhead cam and was mounted at an angle to keep the bonnet height down. A four-speed gearbox, all-independent suspension and dual circuit servo-assisted brakes were specified. With a shorter and slightly lighter monocoque shell than the 4-door saloon, the new 2-door was destined to have bigger engines and become a competition car and respected sports saloon all over Europe, the 1500 version reaching the UK in June 1967. The Baur Convertible (the 1600 Cabriolet) with a targa top and fixed rollbar was also available from 1967 until 1971 (available from 1969 in the UK.)
The O2 series '2002' with the 1990cc (hence the prefix '20') overhead cam straight-four cylinder engine came about in 1968 after both a BMW production director and the M10 BMW engine designer had experimental 2-litre engines fitted to their 1602 cars. This was at a time when the legendary Max Hoffman was encouraging BMW to produce a more powerful two-door car for sales in America. BMW went ahead with the overhead cam 2-litre BMW 2002 project, and the car arrived in 1968 in two forms. Firstly there was a single carburettor 100bhp at 5500rpm version, giving 107mph top speed. 0-60mph was achieved in 10.6 seconds, and the standing 1/4 mile in a brisk 17.4 seconds, the introductory price being £1597 in the UK. The second was the 2002ti with twin Weber carburettors which produced 120bhp, but this version did not come to the UK. Later in the year the existing 1800 engine's dimensions were altered as a cost saving exercise to match the same bore size as the 2002. In 1971 the engine size of the Baur Convertible was increased to 2-litres and it became the 2002 Cabriolet. In addition the BMW 2002 Touring was introduced as a hatchback version of the 2002.
From 1971 until 1975 the BMW 2002tii with "Kugelfischer" mechanical fuel injection system was available in the UK. The 2002tii produced 130bhp and reached 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds, with 116mph top speed and a standing 1/4 mile sprint time of 16.4 seconds. The price was £2299.
The 2002 Turbo was only available between 1973 and ‘74. Based on the 2002tii, it was just available in LHD and only in white with BMW racing stripes down each side and had flared wheel arches, a deep front skirt and a rear spoiler. The 2002 Turbo was the first turbo-charged road car to go on sale in Europe, produced 170bhp at 5800rpm and was capable of 130mph. 0-60mph came up in 7.3 seconds and the standing 1/4 mile time was 16 seconds. With a price tag of £4221 and just 1672 were made
Rust is a major issue, and places to look for it are around the spare wheel well and petrol tank, wheel arches and the mounting points for the front and rear shock absorbers as well as the floors. Bumpers rust, as do the bottoms of both doors. Look for rust around the outer edges of both the bonnet and boot lid areas. The usual engine problems of blue, white or black smoke applies, ie worn, imminent or existing overheating problems or over-rich running engines. Look for leaking rear axles and whining transmissions, both easy to fix.
In recent years the BMW 2002 has increased significantly in popularity as its position as an affordable, iconic classic car has been realised. Standard 2002s are the easiest to find and the most reasonably priced. BMW 2002tii models are significantly more desirable, but the 2002 Turbos command the highest values due to their rarity and sporting modifications.
Other BMWs of the era include the E9 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ and alternatives from other manufacturers include the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTV, the Triumph Dolomite Sprint and the Ford Escort Mark 1.