BMW 2002 – A lucid Nostalgia from 70s

BMW 2002 is the most hyped car for collectors for its sleek design and unique engine specs (© BMW)

In 2018, the hype around cars is more about speed, transmission and transformation. The last of these three aspects, transformation; is the real deal against a backdrop of evolving concepts of fuel from petrol, diesel to Li-ion batteries, and other renewable resources. Even if cars mean more about some alien designs, the BMW 2002, with all its archaic and arcane sense, is still one of the favorites. Why? It’s because of the nostalgia associated with this vintage car. It is similar to childhood memories, which are cherished throughout the life. For some, this particular model is a memory of youth, skinny jeans, long dives through country lanes, singing rock and rolls. Any BMW 2002 for sale is an eyebrow-raising deal for car lovers.

BMW 2002s were on production from 1968 to 1974. They were perhaps the finest of sports sedan, which were rolled as one of the best-selling BMWs. The 3-Series, the besting-selling BMWs so far, was derived from this model. In contrast to contemporary design, the 2002 was a totally based on mechanical techniques. It had no air conditioning, a rear defroster or even a radio. It does not even have a cruise control or leather upholstery. Its tires were thin bearing the weight of the quirky wooden body. Its wooden steering became a hit and a reason of intensive craze about this car.

BMW 2002 Turbo had its name written on mirror script (© BMW)

2002 was BMWs second Motorsport car, equipped with a unique gas tank, which is 52 percent bigger than the normal ones. The larger tank helped to keep the fuel in proportion to the forced air and power its engine for longer duration. While the 2002 tii had a torque of 130 ft/lb at 4,500 rpm, the Turbo had 181 ft/lb at 4,000 rpm. The tii had a top speed of 185 km per hour.

It was a joint venture of Helmut Werner Bonsch, BMW’s director of product planning and Alex von Falkenhausen, designer of M10 engine, that produced the 2002. They modified their own cars with two-liter engine installed in a 1600-2 model. Realizing the coincidence, they both made a joint proposal to BMW to manufacture a two-liter version of 1600-2. This latter became the 2002 ti and 2002 tii models as BMW 2002 for sale.

The 2002 Turbo model was launched at 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show as the first turbocharged production car by BMW. It had the compressed version of engine used in 2002 tii. The engine was equipped with a KKK turbocharger. The compression ratio of 6.9:1 was introduced to prevent knocking. Another additional feature is the Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. In addition to its novel specifications, 2002 Turbos featured several iconic features. The word ‘Turbo’ and ‘2002’were written on mirror script, so that it could be viewed correctly in the rear view of the car ahead. It had a full-length mirror and fatter wheel arches augmenting its design.

It was the 1973 Oil Crisis that pulled out the plug for BMW 2002s. (©U.S. National Archives)

It was the 1973 Oil Crisis that pulled out the plug for BMW 2002s (©U.S. National Archives)

Even if it was evidently a big hit in the market, BMW was forced to stop its production in 1974. It had something to do with political situations triggered with shortage of oil. After a tedious war between Israel and Arab world, King Faizal vowed to choke the western economy. It was his anger of defeat, as US helped Israel’s Yom Kippur to victory. All he had to do was to tighten the supply of oil, his strongest asset. Suddenly everything changed for the West, as their entire economy depended on oil from Middle-East desert. Oil price increased by four times pressing the alarm button for many industries, including automobile. In US, President Nixon imposed the speed limit of 55 miles per hour!

Unfortunately, BMW had no clue of the future to come. The oil crisis landed just after the model rolled out in the market. The 2002 BMW Turbo came up in contrast to the speed limit and BMW was branded as ‘irresponsible’ by newspapers. The result was a complete shutdown of the model, limiting its production to only 1,672 cars.

Now, the car has transformed as a collector’s dream. After more than 40 years, one or two pieces of 2002 BMWs emerges at auction houses now and then. In latter months of 2017, a Turbo was actioned at an estimated price of USD 78,000 to USD 91,000. Now, the any reworked BMW 2002 for sale comes with similar price tag. It has changed a vintage luxury car, which could take anyone to the early 70s and let a dive through lucid memories.