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1976 BMW 2002

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Details

Price: $35,000

Mileage: 44,600 Miles (TMU)

Engine: M10 2.0-Liter 4-Cylinder Engine

Transmission: E21 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Malaga Exterior

Interior: Saddle Brown Leather Interior

VIN: 2376243

Additional features:

E21 320iS Bosch K-Jetronic CIS Fuel Injection

2002tii Headers

Anza Exhaust

Nardi 3-Spoke Steering Wheel

White Gauges

Wooden BMW Shift Knob

Air Conditioning (Compressor Not Installed)

Retro Stereo (installed, but no speakers)

Scheel Sport Seats

E30 Map Light Mirror

Restored Interior: Rear Seats, Door Cards, Headliner

Coco Floor Mats

Battery Re-Location/Rear Strut Brace

Bilstein Shocks

Refreshed Suspension

320iS 3:91 Limited-Slip Differential

15-Inch VTO Classic Wheels

Khumo Ecsta AST Tires

Extensive Cosmetic / Mechanical Restoration

Extensive Documentation

Colorado Car

Background

1976 BMW 2002 exterior photo

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 own 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. The best 02 Series was the 2002, powered by the 2-liter version of the 4-cylinder M10 engine. 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 you mother to church in. Rust, neglect, and age have taken their toll, but a loyal and fanatical following have ensured that a healthy population of 2002s remains compared to other cars of the period—a testament to how good the 2002 is.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 1976 Malaga over Saddle Brown 2002 is not the typical square taillight car. It comes close to the realization of what would have been if BMW had continued 2002tii production into the final year of the 2002. In place of the original engine is a rebuilt M10 2.0-liter block from a 1975 2002. It was then fitted with a 1980 E21 320iS fuel injection system. The Bosh K-Jetrontic fuel injected M10 engine is an evolutionary step forward from the 2002tii’s mechanical Kufelfischer fuel injection, which is further accentuated with tii headers and an Anza exhaust. The exterior has been extensively restored into excellent condition and inside has been upgraded to match with Scheel sport seats, a Nardi 3-spoke steering wheel, white gauges, a retro-modern stereo (mounted, but with no speakers—we didn’t want to cut holes), and an E30 map light mirror.

It all stared back in 2006 when Bavarian Autohaus in Denver, Colorado purchased the 2002 from an Air Force Academy cadet off of Craigslist. The cadet had purchased it as a project, but was being shipped out of state after he graduated. Over the next three years it was completely restored into its current form. The body was stripped and repainted in the original Malaga by Absolute Auto Care in Englewood, Colorado. The windshield, rubber moldings, trim, and other exterior ancillaries were replaced in the process. The interior was restored by Auto Art Custom Upholstery in Loveland, Colorado with the addition of Scheel sport seats. The M10 engine was installed and E21 fuel injection fitted. The clutch and flywheel were replaced and the 5-speed transmission and 3:91 differential were added during the engine install. The suspension was refreshed with control arms, tie rods, and Bilstein shocks. During the restoration countless small parts and trim bits were replaced with new-old-stock that was acquired from Mobile Tradition Maximillian Importing Company, Bavarian Autosport, Roger’s tii, Bimmer Specialist, and Co’s BMW Center. In 2014 it had another round of service including the radiator, coolant hoses, thermostat, parking brake cables, wheel cylinders, a brake fluid flush, the transmission was resealed, and the flex disc was replaced. In 2015 a leaking head gasket was replaced, along with the spark plugs. In preparation for sale, we adjusted the clutch pedal height, adjusted the throttle cable, vented the fuel tank overboard, cleaned up the engine bay wiring, replaced the upper strut mounts, replaced the coil, and shortened the spark plug wires.

The end result is an outlier 2002 with some potent upgrades. This is the 2002 that BMW should have built with all of the right upgrades: Bosch fuel injection, sport seats, a 5-speed transmission, and a limited-slip differential. There is documentation dating back to 2007 when the restoration began totaling tens of thousands of dollars invested. We’d like to find a new owner who will steward it for the next chapter of its story.

Exterior

1976 BMW 2002 exterior photo

The Malaga paint is in excellent condition, indicative of an older restoration. Close scrutiny does reveal faint imperfections in the form of light swirling, a few sporadic rock chips on the lower front valance, and a few areas of touch up paint. The windshield, rubber moldings, trim, and other exterior ancillaries were replaced during the restoration and all trim is in good to excellent condition. The condition of the grilles, trim, and rubber are notable, as these are the costly items that explode the budget of most restorations, with many parts no longer available. The windshield is crack-free and only slightly pitted; it is Pilkington BMW glass. The other glass around the car is in very nice shape, with no deep scratches or notable pitting and it is all tinted. The windshield wiper arms and inserts are in good condition; the speed fairing on the driver’s side wiper is present. The Hella H4 are excellent, with no cracks or pitting. The turn signals and taillights are also exceptional. The 15-inch VTO Classic Wheels are nearly perfect, they are wearing Kumho Ecsta AST tires with good tread remaining, but older DOT dates.

Interior

 interior photo

The Saddle Brown interior is also in excellent condition and also indicative of an older restoration. Open the door and you are greeted with that lovely 2002 smell. The carpet is good condition and protected by matching Coco floor mats. The headliner has been replaced and does not sag with the exception of the rear of the sunroof panel. The sunroof works, but we recommend not using it as they are typically temperamental. There is slight shrinkage at the A-pillars, but it is negligible. The driver’s side sun visor is tight, the passenger slight is slightly puffy. The door cards are very nice. The dashboard has one small crack at the center of the instrument bezel, but overall is very nice. The 3-spoke Nardi steering wheel is in excellent condition. The horn works. All instruments function correctly, and the white gauges are a nice accent. The turn signal relay is operative and the light flashes correctly. The high beam witness light in the cluster is INOP. The wipers, wiper speed, and turn signals work correctly. The later model 2002s with the left side turn signal stalk are very user friendly. The windshield washer system functions, but the nozzles are temperamental. The heat blows warm at speed, but the blower motor does not function, we have not investigated why. The factory air conditioning is in place, with the exception of the compressor and brackets. We installed a retro-modern stereo but did not want to cut holes for speakers (that is at the buyer’s discretion). The shift knob is clean with only minor wear. The Scheel sport seats are in excellent shape, as are the rear seats. The removable trunk panels are in good shape. Underneath the spare tire and jack are present. Several keys are included with the sale, along with a handful of spare parts.

Mechanical

 engine photo

The M10 engine fires on command on cold and hot starts, but it does take a little throttle before the idle sets in. Once it does, it idles smoothly and pulls very strongly (once it’s warmed up, of course). The Anza exhaust sounds amazing. There is a slight oil seep at the front of the engine that will leave a small spot if it sits for a long period. The 5-speed transmission shifts smoothly, and the shifter bushings are crisp and tight. The clutch take-up is smooth, and it does not slip. The steering is very tight for a 2002, without the dead spot on-center or any excessive play. The Bilstein suspension is an excellent improvement, flattening cornering without compromising the original ride quality. The brakes are strong with plenty of pad thickness and rotor run-out remaining. There are no excessive driveline or wheel bearing noises or vibrations. None of us would hesitate to drive it across country. We look forward to finding its new owner and starting the next chapter of its story.