By on December 25, 2010

Yes, owners of classic cars still drive them on the street during the winter in Denver (though we haven’t seen any real snow yet); I spotted this rare Bavarian at the park yesterday.

It’s nowhere near show quality, but it’s a solid, running example of a car you almost never see outside of shows and vintage races. I’m guessing that it gets driven regularly, so I’ll take it over any trailer queen.

I’m guessing on the exact model year here; the 5 MPH crash bumpers indicate that we’re looking at a 1973-75 model, but you’d to be a far scarier more devoted BMW zealot aficionado than I’ll ever be to nail down the precise year from these photos (yes, I know, I should have shot the dash).

Even though this car came right out of the Malaise Era, its 1990cc engine was rated at a respectable-for-its-time 125 horsepower. Compare that to the ’75 Corvette’s base engine, which displaced nearly three times as much and made 165 horsepower (a 205-horse 350 was optional).

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40 Comments on “1975 BMW 2002tii...”

  • avatar

    I really like the lines of those old BMWs but those bumpers are a crime!

    • 0 avatar

      Can’t agree more!

    • 0 avatar

      I remember two of these in my high school student parking lot.  I graduated in ’80 and one had these bumpers and the other did not.  As ugly as these bumpers are, the earlier car’s bumpers were useless – they bent so easily that they really served no purpose.  But boy could these cars handle.  I had the luck of being a passenger in one and wow.  My dad’s old Benz felt ponderous in comparison.

    • 0 avatar

      … oh those lines. back in the days of automotive individual recognition,anything out of Germany from the 70s into the 80s had that quintessential, Teutonic look; an almost fist-like nose to break the air. almost cubist art; barely shaved corners. except, of course, the original mini-vette Opel GT. from an actual driver’s position these cars proved the ad campaign; the twisties,the clutch, the balance, the steering/suspension feedback, the need to keep a spare speedstick in the glove box and a quarter for the phone [pre-cel  era(gonna be a little late – car situation)]. so many of these machines were wasted on preppies/yuppies who wouldn’t/couldn’t access their abilities …

    • 0 avatar

      A quarter for the phone? Try a dime! GRIN!

  • avatar

    That is what folks should be targeting.  A light-weight, great driving experience, no frills, dependable car.  A wagon version of this era BMW would have been great.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m hoping that the Subaru/Toyota joint venture is a lot like that.  Make it light, cheap, and fun to drive.  We don’t need turbos muddying the water or bringing out the 16 year olds the push insurance rates through the roof.  Fixed roof miata that can actually seat 4 in a pinch.

  • avatar

    The wheels are from an e30. Not sure I like them on this car. But kudos to the owner for using it.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    BMW’s approach to the first-genertion Mini suggests that it still has the ability to design a relatively simple, light-weight and fun car.  Then again, the proposed new Minis look like they will also get bangled.  More bloated and baroque badness from the company that should know better.

  • avatar

    Nice car. Too bad about those bumpers, however. Back in the I came close to buying a 2002 Turbo in Hamburg and bringing back here in Denver.  Bought a really nice 3.0 CSi instead.

  • avatar

    It’s not a 1973 model. I had a ’73 2002 and it didn’t have the cow catcher bumpers. They came later.
    Otherwise, mine was a typical BMW — delightful to drive but requiring expensive repairs to parts that should never break or wear out.

  • avatar

    I’m going to sound like the contrarian Grinch here, but I’ve never really liked the looks of the 1600/2002 – too high, stubby, and top-heavy. I know the 2002 is a performance icon and all that, but it still looks like a Germanic interpretation of a Triumph Herald. The lines worked better on the bigger BMWs (1800/2000, 2500/2800/3.0).

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you. Glad I’m not the only one to feel this way.

      Respectable performance/handling credentials aside, this one just one terrible-looking car. Oversized greenhouse, godawful bumpers, dopey stance from ALL angles. Trabant Sport, anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Lemming

      Sure, but they still looked better than the Herald.  The classic BMW elements were all there.  I don’t think that BMW needs to do a literal retro-update in order to recapture the essential qualities of the 1600/2002, e.g., a form-follows-function approach to car design that emphasized light weight, decent room for a coupe, great visibility and clean lines.  This is the opposite of Bangle’s design philosophy, which still lingers over the brand like a troublesome ghost.

    • 0 avatar

      “Sure, but they still looked better than the Herald.”
      Here we have a textbook example of the phrase “damning with faint praise”.

  • avatar

    Murilee, did you take those pictures at Wash Park? If so, the car fits in perfect with the neighborhood. 2002’s were real popular new,  back when you could get a house on the Park for for less than $50K.

    God, I miss Denver so bad…

  • avatar

    73 had the round taillights and small bumpers extended out, the big crash bumpers and square lights peg it as 74-76. IIRC, the Tii was only 72-74, so that would make this model as 74. Fantastic car, by the way. I have a standard 75.

  • avatar

    This the car that made me promise myself that one day, I would own a BMW. I first drove my cousins in Germany right around 1975, and just couldn’t understand how this car could handle so much better than American iron. The Dodge Coronet 440 that I owned back home at the time however, would have destroyed it in a straight line. That Dodge used to be able to lift the front wheels right off the ground, and would break all of the lights behind the dashboard when it came back down. The only car I ever owned that I was afraid of. I still miss it.

  • avatar

    Yes, this car is a 1974.  The bottle cap e30 wheels are a cheap upgrade from the stock 13″ wheels.  If you think it is hard to find decent 14″ tires try 13″.
    The diving board bumpers don’t look great in stock form.  However, a common mod is to “tuck” them.  It looks a lot more attractive.  Here is a shot of my old 76 2002 with tucked bumpers:[email protected]/2878970041/in/set-72157611801817813/

  • avatar

    you really dropped the ball on not buying that turbo.  Those cars have brought huge money in the US since for ever. They were bringing good money even before the internet dork “purist” movement became popular and 02’s and tii’s where cheaper than dirt.
    Also, i’m a huge freak for all things porsche, (besides the older front engine cars) and absolutely love carrera script.  The mirrored turbo logo on the front of the 2002 turbo is probably the coolest thing i’ve ever seen on an automobile.

  • avatar

    I had a ’75 2002 from ’91 through ’93. It looked practically new inside and out and what a joy to drive. Yes it was expensive to maintain, but it was reliable. Plus it was so cheap to buy and insure it didn’t matter how much service was. The bumpers were big, but they were beautiful compared to Mercedes horrific answer to our 5mph requirements of the day.

  • avatar

    Owned one, a ’72 tii.  It was OK for its time, but I just don’t understand the nostalgia. Replaced it with a brand new ’87 Acura Integra and never looked back.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sort of between you and the uber fans. The beauty of these cars is the direct mechanical connection you feel, the simple basic materials etc..
      The reality is that below 60mph they handled and rode like trucks.  At high revs and higher speed it all came together.  What you hint at is true though – most any modern car/minivan will outperform them.  But who really cares?

  • avatar

    The herald looks may be from BMWs aping of the Triumph range that was the target market they aimed at though these things were a rust bucket and horrendously expensive to repair they did handle ok. I guess in the states the handling would have been seen as marvelous compared to the shit coming from detroit at the time.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    That tii is sweet. I’m more of a fan of the E30 3-series and E24 6-series, but I wouldn’t kick a tii out of my garage.

  • avatar

    The mirrored turbo logo on the front of the 2002 turbo is probably the coolest thing i’ve ever seen on an automobile.

    Nein nein, they rendered that to be outlaw, it was too intimidating to the slow pokes.
    Tonite I stopped at a red light , waiting for cars to pass before I do the Right turn on red, the clown behind me had the chutzpah to honk me. I just turn on the 4 way flasher, so he had to get around me on the left side!
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot , he expects me to run the light? No way Jose.

  • avatar

    About 1970 I bought a European-spec, pumpkin orange BMW 2002ti, which had two Solex sidedraft carburetors. I enjoyed driving it, except in the snow. The 2002ti wasn’t trouble-free, as the factory four-speed manual transmission turned out to be troublesome, not to mention several other components that failed. Synchronizing the two carburetors seemed to be more art than science and a job best left to someone with experience and training, as I discovered. Its maximum cruising speed realistically was about 96 mph or 4000 rpm, as I recall, because the window seals lost their strength at higher speeds. All in all, the 2002ti was a cool car for its day.

  • avatar

    here is another goody, 2002 in the Village, NYC, a few weeks ago, shadowed by my 2007 “new car” purchase.

  • avatar

    I talked to an original owner of a ’73 2002tii once at a car show, and he said that these were REALLY expensive when new.

    Its seems that the currency exhchange rates at the time were going crazy., The selling dealer even had to raise the price between the time the guy ordered the car and when he took delivery, as the U.S. dollar was dropping in value against the Deutsche Mark.

    I don’t remember the exact price, but he said everyone he knew thought he was crazy for paying that much for a “small” car.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve got the 1971 US Auto Almanac and Buyers Guide. The 1600-2 and 2002 had base prices in the $2,580-$2,900 range in 1971. By 1974, the fuel injected 2002tii was more than twice that. The fuel injected tii was an EXPENSIVE option over the base 2002, and the 1600-2 was gone from the US market by then. IIRC, the tii was about 25 or 30% more expensive than the base 2002. I think the 2002tii left the US market because it was becomming too expensive to sell. Inflation remained crazy, and the 320i was about $10K when released as a 1977 model. The 2002 went from being a discerning enthusiast’s alternative to various economical US compacts to being priced against domestic personal luxury cars between 1971 and 1973.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    google    Vintage  at  the  Vineyard  . I ve  gone  down  since  ’08  and  will  prolly  go  this  yr  too.

  • avatar

    This car is either a ’74 tii or a ’75 with fake tii badging. Either way, nice!

  • avatar

    I love these cars.  Recently while on an S2000 club drive in the Boston Mtns of NW Arkansas, we stumbed across a 2002 club also out for some fun.

    There are a few pics of the 2002s if you click through the gallery.

  • avatar

    apparently that last link doesn’t take you right to one of the 2002 shots.

  • avatar

    Say, aren’t we overdue for a new Curbside Classic? I may have to cancel my subscription to TTAC! Oh, wait…

  • avatar

    Still the only car I ever got emotional about selling…actually bawled as i was driving to meet the prospective new owner…it got so bad that my then-wife told me to simply keep the car.  I felt (kind of) bad for the kid that was coming to buy it, but I just couldn’t part with it.  Growing up, a 2002 was the ONLY car I wanted…blame that on our landlord in Karlsruhe who only drove BMW and introduced me to the love that was to be a small, boxy Bimmer.  My 1974 replaced the spot in my garage occupied by a (then two year old) 1991 Sentra SE-R, and I never regretted selling the Nissan for the much older BMW.  That Baikal Blue 2002 was my daily driver for many years, with only a clutch failure to report (and I was still able to get the car safely to a mechanic, despite that).  I’ve never driven a car that I felt more “right” in, and to this day, find myself longingly looking at ads for well-preserved variants, hoping for the day when I can add one to my household again. 

  • avatar

    I drove one of these for years. It was light and handled great, albeit the 4 cylinder engine was a bit weak. The most serious flaw was the lack of a 5th gear. I always found myself reaching for 5th and letting the clutch out in, eck 3rd???. This happened to me all the time, although I’d often realize what I was doing before letting the clutch out. The car begged to be accelerated at all times.

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