A NEVER ENDING LOVE AFFAIR: BMW’s Iconic 2002
Respect Your Elders: Solo Motorsports decided to stop by the BMW CCA Museum for the final weekend of their ICONs exhibit to pay respect towards one of the most iconic modern Bavarian turbo saloons ever created.
Entering the museum there’s a sign that reads “In 1976, God Stopped Making 2002s.” This sets quite the statement of the attitude 2002 owners and enthusiasts possess, and to admit I concur. For I play nepotism with this particular chassis owning a 1970 Malaga Red 2002 myself.
The hall leading to the Museum greeted us with a cheerful array of vintage die cast cars from decades past, colorful whimsy home made toys, newspaper clippings featuring triuampant reviews of the BMW 2002, Racing Flyers & all sorts of awards, trophies and everything else that paid homage to the beloved 2002.
Alongside all the memorbilia BMW enthusiasts don’t forget to show their great sense of humor (even if it’s dad humor) and are quite creative with their M/// badge placement!
The BMW 2002 Series emerged from the 85-hp 1.6-liter 1600 (more properly known as the 1600-2) in 1966. In 1968 BMW installed a 100-hp 2.0-liter version of the same engine, birthing the 2002.
However secular, the 2002 is laid out as God intended: front engine, rear-wheel drive, fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and BMW’s vener-able semi-trailing arms in rear, coil springs and antiroll bars. What else could you ask for in the 1970s? The engine is a dohc inline four-cylinder, with mechanical valves and a timing chain. Compression ratio and induction vary by model and year.
Single Solex downdraft carburetion was standard 2002 induction, while twin Solex side-drafts fed the 2002ti. Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection increased driveability and performance in the 130-hp 2002tii, and was also used in the 170-hp 2002 Turbo. The ti and tii shared the standard 2002 body. Only the 2002 and 2002tii were officially exported to the States. All spun a Getrag 232 four-speed manual gearbox, with a ZF 3 HP automatic optional on standard 2002s. A rare and highly coveted Getrag 235 five-speed close-ratio gearbox was optional as well.
The 2002’s perfect combination of spritely cornering, magnetic braking and confident handling simply eluded its contemporary European competitors—however cool. And the 2002 ran rings around domestic cars. A 1960s-70s-era Detroit sedan—epitome of the land yacht—would flounder about the countryside struggling to maintain composure at 35 mph. A 2002 would scream by at twice that speed with zero drama, getting 30 mpg in the process. Horsepower notwithstanding, in the twisties a mercedes driver would see only the round taillights of that curious little box that just blew his doors off.
Body styles alongside the 2 door coupe included the touring (hatchback), a targa-like Baur cabriolet, the rare (200 units) 1971 2002 full convertible and the ultimate example of the genre—the 1974 2002 Turbo (1672 units). This will prob be the first and last time I got to witness all 3 beauties in the same room.
Alongside this spectacular collection of E10/2002’s one car stood out; a Diamond Schwartz E30 M3. Upon closer inspection there was a good reason why this E30 had rights to be there.
Upon her windshield was a commentary from BMW CCA. It informed us her name is ‘VilMMMA’. She was donated to the Museum by a man named Mark Woolley.
The note read: ‘Mark has graciously donated his beloved VilMMMA to the BMW CCA Foundation so that others may continue to enjoy the car as much as he did. We’re honored to have VilMMMA here as an ongoing celebration of his life.’
(shut up. im not crying, you’re crying)
Mark was a CCA member since 1988 and a highly active club member as a Tarheel Chapter high performance driving school instructor, area coordinator & BMW CCA foundation ambassador. He also was an ever-present and humorous participant in the E30 M3 special interests group (SIG) where his personality truly shined. May we never forget him.
MARK WOOLLEY JULY 14th, 1957 – JULY 1st 2018