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Hagerty Employee

Smithology: A 2002 for 1800, and why

I have a billion memories. Maybe, one day, I’ll remember most of them.


J.D. Power would call this a problem of initial quality. If the human brain were a car, your narrator’s hippocampus would have left the factory with rats gnawing the wires. It has been like this as long as I can remember. (Don’t think too hard about that last sentence.) Vivid images among fuzz—that time I did that thing, for example! With that person! Or was it that other person? In that place we went?


I got married, once; I remember that. The books on my office shelf have been read, to the best of my recollection. Everything else is suspect. Except, of course, the BMW 2002, a machine I will never forget.


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New Driver

This was perfect. 
Get a cheap MIG and some sheet and let fly. 


Excellent writing!  🙂
Light-hearted, amusing and something any 02-owner will relate to in their own personal way.  Best of luck with the project,  I too hope you fix it - and drive it...


I sold my first 2002 in 1981. I spent the next 30 years looking for my next one. Seriously. I looked on my honeymoon in 1988 and every year there after. I get it. No other car affected me the same. I will never part with the one I purchased in 2013. I will drive it through Europe next summer. 


Glad you have a plan! Can't wait for it to come alive again! "An Elderly Gentleman"...

Intermediate Driver

Great article which reminded me of growing up in Pittsburgh in the early 70’s. One hole in the wall BMW dealership(P&W Motors) supplied so few cars to the area that BMW drivers flashed headlights at each other in passing.

Our family had four (three at a time): 1970 1600, 1974 tii, 1975 2002 and 1976 2002. This while my father drove a Ford Country Squire wagon.

I have not driven a 2002 since graduate school in the late ‘70s. You will have to tell us if they are as good as I remember.


I don't think a 2002 was "one of the first turbocharged production cars in history". Try the 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Spyder, or the 1962 Olds F85 Jetfire (depending on whether you count announcement or unit in the showroom as the event).

Intermediate Driver

I have had Many 1600/1800/2002 's in my life...and even worked for BMW. Also a 67 GTV..

It will be interesting to see how this story shakes out. I ditched my last "Zeus" (as a customer referred to a 2002 as) due to rear shock tower rot. I will never forget " How much are these "zooz" cars? "

Advanced Driver

I feel like I just walked out of a Saturday matinee serial, the cliffhanger image etched in my brain.  How in God's name is he going to deal with the rust on the trunk lid?  


Really appreciate this article. It brought back memories of my 68 1600 and 74 2002 as well as the city of Louisville. Totaled the 74 2002 on the edge of the Louisville campus in 1987.


Reading this made me genuinely sad for what has been lost with the demises of the California worth living in and the BMWs worth driving.

New Driver

Sam, this is another one of your great writing moments. Thank you for being upon this earth at the same time as me, NW.


Thanks Sam I remember your stint in St Louis fondly. I’m glad to see you have another 2002. As it happens I have its younger brother 734 in Rivera fortunately no structural rust. I bought it in pieces in Albuquerque 30 years ago in piecies disassembled for restoration. I know I know I’m working on it. At any rate let me know if you need something, I have some multiples.  Thanks again  Rick Ramsey

Intermediate Driver

Thanks for another great article Sam; I LOL when I read, '...2002 **bleep**...' Good luck, looking forward to the next chapter in this auto-biography!

New Driver

Ready your article and I had to laugh. In 1970, I had probably the first and only BMW 2002 on the UofL campus, my darling Baby I.  In fact, I probably had the 2nd 2002 in Louisville, this was before Joe Marcus started Grand Prix Motors in Harrods Creek.  I had out of state plates on the car and I'd park it in the faculty lot, get ticketed and then toss the ticket.  Two days after I graduated, they finally ran down the plates and the campus police sent me a bill for $275, times ten in todays money, with a note that I wouldn't be able to register for fall semester until it was paid. LOL.  I sold the car in '74, took the money and spent a year traveling in South America.  And then...I began to have dreams about that '02, wondering where I'd parked it.  I solved that problem by buying one of the best original '02's out there, which was almost exactly like my original car, but two months newer.  McKeel Hagerty had judged the car 100pts. at a Survivors Show and jokingly said I'd better keep an eye on it or he'd steal it.  Baby II, as she's known, now resides in humidity free Scottsdale.  Best of luck with your '02.  Go Cards.  

New Driver

I think I am connected in little ways to some of these stories. For example, the car purchased out west and driven back for a friend is probably a white '02 that I picked up for the same friend and held on to until Sam could fly out and drive it home. If  I remember right, it was an automatic that spewed automatic fluid that cleaned the floorboards along the way.

Note that this same friend (if we are talking about the same person) restored a full cabriolet 1600 in much the same way this '02tii will need. So, local expertise is around to build something fun out of this car.

I don't think I could pass up an $1800 rusty '02tii either -- although, I have kind of sworn off the '02 series now that they have gained collector status.

As others have mentioned, this is an excellent start to a story. Yet, waiting for the next installment will be excruciating. I hope, however, that the story takes us on a journey we can all live vicariously through.


Sam, I can’t claim to have any more smarts or long term memory but a year ago I faced a similar decision and my son and I are almost finished with full the restoration of our 73tii, same color.  I say go for it, if it’s a horrible experience you’ll forget anyway.  🙂 

Intermediate Driver

I love this. A true car guys road from nightmare to dram to reality


Great article, reminds me when I travelled to San Fran to visit a friend and we ended up at Sears Point Race track while tasting wine in Sonoma. Ran into a Polaris 2002 owned by a race shop ower sitting by the paddock and bought the car few months later. Drove it to DC metro and still own it 27 years later. Love my 2002, did a lot of upgrades, have always ran like a champ and I won't ever sell it, in fact I love it more than my 993.


I'm just about to start a restoration - how extensive tbd - on a 1968 1600-2 that we've owned since new.  Sat in a barn in Sioux Ste. Marie for 8 years.  Big mistake. Rust where there was none before, frozen up brakes etc.  I'll stay tuned to see how your project goes. Wish me luck!


Sam, I believe I remember that drivers school at Gateway!  Glad to see you're doing well and still enjoying the old sleds.

New Driver

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to paint a friends 1600 68' with a 2002TII engine installed. It was a cream color and it was fitted with later model dual headlights.

How many "Rrrrochesta" valves were in your glove box?


FYI: And speaking of American parts, it took my Dad's body shop guy exactly 20 seconds to match my 71 2002 white:  "Ford white" he accurately declared.