Carnucopia: Robert's 1972 BMW 2002

You're probably wondering right now where my next post about the DSport Tokyo Auto Salon Tour is. Well, it's coming but I promised a friend I'd get his photoshoot done already so the builds and babes of TAS had to wait a little longer. 

Okay, this isn't a GT-R and it isn't even Japanese but unless their tastes are totally biased towards sushi rather than sauerkraut performance car enthusiasts should be able to recognize the lineage this car represents. This car was one of the progenitors of genus Sportussedanicus that is still ably represented by its descendants the BMW M3 and M4 (Although some will debate the M2 is closer in concept but lets not get into that argument right now shall we?)

The story of this car starts way, way back in 1966 when there was still a West and East Germany. Back in those days the Berlin Wall cast a dark shadow over Europe and the Soviet Union seemed perpetually waiting for a chance to take their NATO rivals' lunch money. To help take their minds off all these downers the West Germans had bier, frauleins, und das auto. That last one we can all relate to of course.

One of das auto in question was the nippy little BMW 1602 ti. With a light chassis, great suspension, and 110hp from a twin-carb 1.6 liter four-cylinder it could embarrass British sports cars while still having a decently large back seat and trunk to hold the wine and large block of cheese you needed for that weekend trip to the lake house with your wife, or mistress, or dog...or maybe all three if you were just that awesome.

There was only one problem with the 1602 ti for Americans - you couldn't buy one here. That's because the little dual-Solex motor couldn't meet emissions regulations at the time. To solve the problem BMW used an American-style solution: just throw in a bigger motor. And the 2002 was born. The 2002 ti enjoyed a healthy power boost to 119 hp but even the regular 2002 already had 101 horses which was a huge improvement over the 84 the base 1602 had in its homeland. 

The standard 2002 was so good that David E. Davis of Car and Driver and Automobile magazine fame compared it in 1968 to "a pretty girl who will expertly cook...and still be the greatest thing since the San Francisco Earthquake in bed". Seems like he liked it. A lot.

In 1973 BMW apparently thought just being a pretty, multi-talented, and kinky girl wasn't enough so they threw one of our favorite things in the engine bay - a turbo - and unleashed a supermodel porn star with her own cooking show on an unprepared world. Yup, that sounds like a very German thing to do.

The 2002 Turbo eventually begat the 3-series and the M3, and the rest was history. 

This particular 2002 is owned by my friend Robert who's been restoring it back to its former glory. In a new shade of fresh, period orange it was just asking for some nice pictures. No, it's not the rare, full-bore sturm und drang Turbo version but there's no doubting its historical significance nonetheless.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Robert also restored ALL the lights to working order. Yes, even the turn signals. 

And he's a nice, mellow guy instead of the stuck-up Bimmer driver stereotype despite also owning an E90 M3. Which is good because he's a Marine so he's been trained to kick your ass and mine...preferably in that order so I can make good on my escape.

Did I mention that BMW thought of everything back then? Including how to make totally, absolutely sure that you lost your sh*t in the unlikely event your brakes entirely failed? How else do you explain the big red "Brake Failure" warning light right in the center of the dash cluster other than typical Germanic precision to make sure that you definitely lost bowel control if the brake pedal going to the floor happened to not be enough?

Ah, ze Germans and their sense of humor. Thanks to Robert for letting me shoot his car and for his service to our country, and thanks to you dear reader for coming to my blog!

I'll be back in a bit with Tokyo Auto Salon 2017 pics!