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Mileage: 76,800 Miles (Total Mileage Unknown)
Engine: M10 2-Liter 4-Cylinder Engine
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual Transmission
Exterior color: Blue Exterior
Interior: Black Interior
Refreshed M10 Engine from 1967 Tilux
1978 E21 121T Cylinder Head
Maule 10.5 to 1 Pistons
E21 Oil Pump
Weber DCOE 40 Dual-Barrel Carburetors
RamFlo Air Filters
Top End Performance Shorty M10 Headers
Electric Fuel Pump Retrofit
Fresh Clutch Kit
3-Spoke Momo Steering Wheel
Old-School Kenwood Tape Deck (INOP)
Passenger Side Mirror
Chrome Bumpers w/ Bumperettes
13-Inch Steelie Wheels w/ Hubcaps
Other Recent Maintenance:
Front Strut Mounts
Speedometer Rebuilt/Speedometer Cable
Passenger Side Window Regulator
Passenger Side Door Handle
The BMW 02 Series sedans were defining models for BMW. Smaller and lighter than the Neue Klasse sedans they were derived from, the 02 cemented its legacy and set the stage for the legendary BMW 3 Series that followed. It was the lens through which a generation of Americans discovered BMW and passed down that enthusiasm to their children. Its simple, sporty three-box design has aged into an iconic form that is recognized far beyond the vestiges of the BMW enthusiast. Early 02 Series, some sold as 1600s, featured some of the best body lines with unique grilles and no lower belt trim. The later 2002s featured the 2-liter version of the 4-cylinder M10 engine, which added power to the equation. That engine was mated to a chassis, suspension, and brakes that were unapologetically driver-focused, yet all in a comfortable two-door sedan that you could drive your mother to church in. The combination of an early body with a late-model engine is one of the best 02 Series out there, adding rarity to the already exclusive population of worthy surviving examples.
This 1968 BMW 2.0-liter swapped hot rod 1600 is a very unique example. It was originally finished in Granada Red, but was repainted in a color similar to Riviera Blue at some point. It found its way as a display car on the showroom floor of Winslow BMW, which we purchased it from as part of a bundle two years ago. Once we got it, we swapped out the original 1600 engine (which is included) and gearbox for a refreshed 2.0-liter M10 from a 1967 Tilux. The engine was completely overhauled, including a 121T cylinder head, Maule 10.5 to 1 pistons, and refreshed internals. When we installed the engine, we added dual Weber DCOE 40 carburetors, M10 shorty headers, replaced the clutch, front strut mounts, front brakes, and converted the fuel pump to electric. Other notable options include a Momo 3-spoke steering wheel, a passenger side mirror, no sunroof, and all of the early 1600 02 Series accouterments.
The records for this 1600 begin with the original owners’ manual packet, including the service booklet. It was delivered on February 20, 1968, and the service booklet is stamped through the first 32,000 miles in February of 1972, showing it living in San Rafael, California. From there, the records pick up in 1989 and continue through 2007, showing it remaining in the Bay Area. From there, it found its way to the showroom floor of Winslow BMW, originally as part of a collection by one of their premier clients. He was going to restore the car, but ended up selling it to the dealership, where it was on display until we purchased it.
When it landed here, we pulled the original 1.6-liter engine and gearbox (which are included) and installed the refreshed 2.0-liter block. The engine block came from a 1967 Tilux, block number 1457125, and the cylinder head shows a 1978 casting. Our friend rebuilt the engine; highlights include Mahle 10.5 to 1 pistons and a 121T cylinder head. The block was tanked and bored to 1mm over, connecting rods were checked for size and re-bushed, and the crankshaft was polished and confirmed within standard spec. The cylinder head was refreshed with valve stems, guides, and seals, a stock M10 camshaft, and it was decked along with the front timing cover. The oil pump and chain were replaced with an E21 oil pump, and the timing chain and ramps were replaced. Pictures of the build and the original listing from 2002FAQ are included in the records binder. We added dual Weber DCOE 40 carburetors, M10 shorty headers, and a fresh 1600 clutch kit. We also retrofitted an electric fuel pump and made the rest of the car safe and roadworthy by replacing the front strut mounts, overhauling the front brakes, replacing the steering column and ignition switch, rebuilding the speedometer and replacing the speedometer cable, and passenger side window regulator and door handle. We also added fresh Kumho tires (not pictured).
As it sits, it is a very unique example of an early 02 that is properly fast! The paint condition is good enough to be proud of, but far from perfect, allowing it to be used without guilt. There are a few areas of corrosion, but nothing troublesome (detailed below). The interior is also very presentable, with only one small crack in the dashboard on the left corner, and a small slit in the driver’s seat vinyl (also detailed below). It has taken two years to bring it to its current condition and be confident enough to hand it off to its next steward. We’ve put hundreds of miles on it, including several local road trips to suss out and address any remaining squawks, but it is a 50-year-old car, so as with any 02, you should know what you are signing up for.
Maybe it’s the color, the combination of an early 1600 with a hot-rod engine, or that it’s just a sum greater than its parts, but this 02 has a certain presence. It has a feisty energy that brings out the inner hooligan in all of us a little, but it is also as rewarding to look at as it is to drive. It gets compliments on every drive and has been one of the more enjoyable 02s we’ve had. We look forward to the smiles it will bring to its new owner. We have priced it for an appropriate premium, but still far less than it would cost to acquire an early 02 and build into its current spec.
The entire car has been repainted from Granada Red to a blue similar to Rivera Blue. The paint job is presentable, but is by no means flawless. There are areas in the engine bay where the original red shows from placards that were subsequently removed. The paint measures anywhere from 5 to 40 mils in the deeper spots. There are several small dings and dents, mostly in the hood, but nothing glaring. All panel gaps are consistent. There is a small area of rust forward of the lower right rear fender, and a larger typical area in the spare tire well. Troublesome areas like the rear shock towers and lower rockers are clean. The VIN plate is present, as is the chassis VIN stamp, and most of the engine bay decals (which are original, showing the original red paint beneath). The chrome bumpers have some very light pitting, and the rest of the bright-work is presentable. The passenger-side mirror is an excellent late-model addition. The passenger side door trim has several broken clips. The glass is crack-free with some pitting. The head and taillights are functional and crack-free. The original steelie wheels are in good shape; the hub caps are in fair condition. They are wrapped in Kumho tires that we recently replaced.
The black vinyl interior of this classic BMW is in good shape but has a few flaws. There are no odors other than that wonderful 2002 smell. The headliner is in very good shape, with only a few small tears in the rear section. The sun visors aren’t puffy. There is light wear on the door cards, with UV fade on the window handles. The leather on the steering wheel has moderate wear, it is a vintage item added a long time ago. The rest of the steering column, especially the stalks, are faded to being illegible, and there’s cracking to the plastic. The dashboard has one small crack on the left side of the steering wheel. The instrument cluster is functional and in good condition. The exterior lighting switches are functional, and in good condition; the dome light is also functional. The heater works, but the blower motor makes some noise. The radio is INOP. The shifter has some light discoloration, and the paint on the handbrake is cracking. The front seats have tears that run along the seat bottom from back to front, the most severe of which is a large tear to the middle of the driver seat, though these tears are not numerous. The back seats are hardly worn and in good shape. The seatbelts are the early lap belt style; use them at your own risk. The trunk carpet has minimal staining. The original intake is included, as are several other original components. The owners’ manuals are included with the records binder.
The engine build and work are outlined in the summary paragraph. As part of our final preparation, we had our 2002 specialist Mark Hutto give the car a final once-over. He cleaned up the engine bay wiring and plumbing, tuned the carburetors and ignition, retrofitted a 1600 flywheel with 1600 clutch, and made the mechanical clutch linkage work with it all. He also replaced the front strut mounts, front brakes, passenger side window regular and door handle, and the ignition column. The M10 fires on command, idles smoothly, and pulls very strongly to redline. We have taken our time to break in the engine, but we recommend following a break-in regime for the next several hundred miles. It does not have any notable leaks, but it is an 02… The transmission shifts smoothly except for downshifting from 3rd to 2nd gear, which requires a rev-match not to grind. The suspension is compliant without any glaring issues, and the brakes are strong. The tires are fresh Kumho rubber that we replaced in preparation for sale. We pay for and ensure it passes emissions in the State of Colorado. Like any 02, it will certainly need continued maintenance, which is part of the joy and frustration of owning one, but this car has been given a proper head start and has been one of our most enjoyable to drive.