By on April 11, 2012

Some of these Junkyard Find posts result in plaintive emails (usually several months after the car has been crushed) from car owners in far-off places: “I have been looking for parts for this car for years. I am in (the Netherlands, the Maldives, the Upper Peninsula, etc.). Please send me the contact information for this junkyard so that I can have them ship me the (impossible-to-find parts).” The record-holder is this 1981 Chrysler LeBaron, which has resulted in at least a dozen emails from obsessive Malaise LeBaron restorers. I suspect this car is going to be another example of this phenomenon. So, if you found this post on Google and it’s later than, say, June 2012, this BMW has been melted down in a Chinese steel factory!
2002s really aren’t all that rare in self-service wrecking yards, since thrashed ones aren’t particularly valuable and hopeless project cars eventually get sold for scrap after a couple of decades in the back yard. I see a half-dozen Crusher-bound 2002s in such yards every year. This one is a rare automatic-transmission car. Why would any 2002 shopper have selected the slushbox?
The Europeans weren’t ready for the early-70s US-market requirement for a Fasten Seat Belt light, so they had to add afterthought-style lights like this one. It got even worse in 1974.
This car doesn’t look rusty, but it would have cost plenty to make it nice. Since it’s tough to justify spending ten grand to make a $6,000 car, the price of scrap steel pushed this never-to-be-finished project onto the tow truck’s hook.

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25 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1973 BMW 2002...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    This…this just breaks my heart! Ok..so it IS a slushbox 2002 (that’s almost a sacrilege)…but c’mon…it’s a 2002! The only car I actually cried over when I sold it…still my ultimately favorite ride.

    • 0 avatar
      tallnikita

      I had one too, stick shift. I say good riddance for this one – keep the gene pool clean.

      However, no photo album of a 2002 should be complete without photos of the rear shock towers inside the trunk. Will tennis balls fit through those rust holes along the weld?

    • 0 avatar
      CA Guy

      The very first BMW I ever rode in was a new 1972 white 2002 with automatic. It belonged to a friend who was a newly minted lawyer and Beverly Hills trust fund baby. She purchased it from the eponymous dealership Vasek Polak BMW in Hermosa Beach and chose an automatic because she did not drive stick shift. BMW was already at work building the market niche – for my friend’s demographic – in which they would prosper here in SoCal and elsewhere.

      I was impressed with the car because of its great utilization of space. I was helping my friend move from one apartment to another and the Beemer’s trunk was really spacious and well designed, with a wide lid that allowed full access for big pieces of stuff. And I loved the quality sound of the doors being closed and the firm but comfortable seats and ride. What a classic, clean design. And as I recall, the sticker on the car was under $5,000 – am I fantasizing or is that possible?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      It could be converted back to stick… That car is more solid than some of the 15 year old rides around here in the south…

  • avatar
    roger628

    I don’t think I’ve seen an unrusted one-the irony!

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I think my late friend, Yale Rachlin, would be shedding a tear if he had been alive to see this…

    Additionally, I’m always surprised at how many project cars that begin with a couple cans of primer and a roll of masking tape end up like this!

    Re. “Why would any 2002 shopper have selected the slushbox?” Because heel-toe technique is a biiach with a peg-leg!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    THIS is why you learn paint and bodywork yourself.

    Judging by the masking hanging off, I present the following scenario:

    This was a beloved car that was going through a resto. The owner handed off the project to a bodyshop. Halfway through, the bills were mounting. Thousands of dollars for seemingly menial prep work. The writing was on the wall. Not worth it. The car sat in the backyard of the body shop for months, waiting for a day that would never come. Somewhere was a box full of it’s hard to find trim. A mechanics lien later, and it’s off to the yard for some quick cash. “Get it outta here.”

    Pity. I would love to have this car. It’s a day of my time and $400 in product away from looking tip-top. Some people are too scared to do work on their own projects, afraid they will make mistakes. You can pay a lot for it, or the alternative is presented here.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Strange. It looks like it was being prepped for paint – albeit very poorly – just before it was sent to the junkyard. There’s certainly at least a mildly interesting story behind this one. No doubt there is some value to all the parts on this one, but it’d take someone with more time than money to make flipping them worthwhile. However, 2002 prices have been going up at alarming rates recently – you’d almost think they were vintage porsches. Were I to run into this, I’d grab that wheel out of the back seat, maybe the exhaust, and any small bits that looked good. And if she’s got the hand-crank sunroof, bring a torch and a kart…

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Is that some kink of Germanic fart can muffler sticking out of the back or just a chrome tip?

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I hate this car.
    Or – I hate what this car reminds me of.

    I had just returned from Spring Break. I had the World’s Worse Hangover. I was attempting to rediscover any feeling in my legs after jamming myself for half a day behind the wheel of this girl’s red Mustang II. It was no fun. She was a pity date. It was spring break and she didn’t have a boyfriend. So I pretended I was interested and hoped to get lucky. I did – then luck ran out when, after I regained conscienceness, remembered why she was a pity date. I had to dump her without anyone knowing what happened.

    She talked a lot. With my horrible nausea, horrible headache, horrible thoughts and horrible breath, I stared slit-red-eyed cramped over the plastic interior of that gutless Ford product and listened to her tell me every thought that entered her head. About twice an hour, she would stop speaking and ask me why I was so quiet. Eating at Pup ‘n Taco didn’t help. She talked with her mouth full – but I already knew that two nights earlier too. She never stopped talking, yet I can’t recall a single thing she said.

    So, we pull up at the dorms and I’m hoping to avoid anyone seeing us because it would have been obvious that we hooked up by the look on her face. My luck ran out further when the biggest dick on campus swings into a nearby parking lot in a gorgeous navy blue 2002. Everything this guy did seemed effortless. He was the most admired guy in the dorm. He seemed like he had perfect everything. He would have made a Romney kid envious. Naturally, he had the perfect car! He probably bought it with money he earned as a fundraiser for orphanages.

    The windows were down, the sunroof opened wide, the perfect car.

    His perfect girlfriend is with him. She is an angel. Nicest – everything. She has the biggest perfect whitest smile but is friends with my pity date. Maybe she was some kind of pity project for her, or something – she often worked with needy people. So, there was no place to hide from The Perfect Couple in this perfect BMW 2002. Caught with my pants down.

    Senior Perfecto sees his girl jump up and down with my soon to be ex-lover, both of them squealing with glee as my dirty deed is turned into a sick “Lifetime” romance and shared with him. By this time he has unloaded their matching leather luggage from the 2002′s perfect trunk and stands there grinning at me. He knows.

    I looked at this smug SOB who probably now owns eight professional sports teams, smile and tell him, “Hey, nice Corvair!” He lifted one eyebrow, smirks and responds, “Hey, so when are you getting married?”, then laughs. He knows I’m a nasty, dirty, dog that would jump his perfect girlfriend’s pity project.

    When the girls heard him ask this, they froze, then grabbed each other and squealed louder. His girlfriend looked so hot bouncing up and down, and my Spring Break hook up didn’t have a jiggle at all, like a trannie or an East German gymnast.

    God – I hate that car!

  • avatar
    MZ3AUTOXR

    I owned a 72 when in college. Learned that it is very expensive to restore german cars – not the way to save money when you don’t have any to begin with.

    The lack of rust on this car is heartbreaking. Somewhere out there is an owner with a car with terminal rust and good mechanicals just dying to find a car like this.

  • avatar

    I know a guy with a yard north of Denver that has 100+ 2002s, mostly unrusted. I should go photograph them and really break some BMW lovers’ hearts.

  • avatar
    millmech

    Those wheels are familiar, but not to BMW. Any idea of the origin?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Impressed at how clean the engine internals are. Must have been rebuilt at some point? You would think there are some drivetrain parts to be salvaged for sure.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If we could only turn back time!

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Whatever. BMWs of that period are overrated just like they are today. Bad memories of the noxious fumes (could have been the exhaust or fuel tank — they both leaked!), dodgy electrics, and fussy Zeniths of our Senior Six. What a piece of overpriced crap.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    it has a tach, which is kind of rare or unusual for an auto/slush box.

    Normally it has a big clock on the right.
    anybody agree?

  • avatar
    dwight

    Quite possibly your best junkyard find. I love that car.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This car reminds me of the second worst mistake of my life. I had test driven a ’73 2002 and put down a deposit, when I decided to wait for the ’73 240Z (Datsun, to those of under a certain age). Turns out the Datsun for ’73 was one of the worst lemons ever. The delivery delay was due to the importer having to play with the cars to get them to pass the smog regulations. Horsepower fell from 145 to 125. Driveability was so poor that the plastic choke handle wore out. In the eleven months I had it, it did not run for 30 consecutive days. Datsun had installed a much higher temperature thermostat and run the fuel lines (from a mechanical pump) alongside the engine block…..vapor lock even on cool days, and rendered the air conditioning unusable. Power and Driveability didn’t return until the ’75s when the engine went from 2.4 liters to 2.6 liters in ’74 and finally to 2.8 liters in ’75 with some rudimentary fuel injection and electric fuel pumps. The BMW engines ran with minimal smog modifications. Yes the price for this ’73 was in the low $5K range, but so was the $4200 Z car when the dealers tarted them up with a chrome bumper bar, bigger tire and wheel combinations and various useless coatings. By the way, my Z car tire upgrade was the Firestone 500, just to add icing to the cake.

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      That is no exaggeration about the ’73 Z. Vapor lock (always at the most inconvenient times) was a constant problem for my brother’s ’73. The problem didn’t resolve itself until the head cracked and the engine was replaced by a ’72 unit from a junkyard. Yes, the choke lever was also busted on his. Interestingly, as revered as the 240Z is among the automotive press, it is not considered a really great collectible car. I wonder if it has to do with all those dealer add-ons you mentioned and all the owner add-ons popular at the time. Hard to find a 240 with original equipment and that hasn’t been molested in some way.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        My father had problems with our family hauler back in the 70s. We had a 76 Toyota Landcruiser (looked like a hard top Jeep). A month or so after he bought it, we spend an afternoon removing all the smog add ons. He put it in a box in case it needed to all go back on for some reason. I recall him saying it ran better without it.

        I could imagine an owner of a Datsun from 1973 needing to de-federalize it to make it run right. Did any of the states do smog checks then? Would anyone notice if a guy stripped off the smog equipment in CA?

  • avatar
    Jetstar 88

    I’ve never seen a 2002 in a junkyard.
    Of course, I have seen the world’s rustiest 2800 CS, which was quite amazing. I took the kidneys, of course.


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