Richard’s BMW 2002 ti (1973)

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The BMW 2002 forms part of the German manufacturer’s “02” series cars. This series of ‘compact executive saloons’ was first launched in 1966 and was designed to cater to Europe’s growing affluent middle class! Sitting at the top of the tree in the 02 series was the (now hugely desirable) “BMW 2002”.

The 2002 really was the product of a perfect alignment of ideas at the right time. You see in the late 60’s two senior executives at BMW discovered during a conversation with each other that they’d both modified their 1600 BMW’s by installing a 2.0 engine (the M10 lump). At the same time BMW’s USA division was calling out for a sporting version of the “02” series to appeal to their market. 

This was enough for the board at BMW to be convinced that a short-body saloon, with a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine shoehorned into it was not only possible, but desirable! Thus the 2002 was born!

It was the 2002 ti that most enthusiasts want to get their hands on today (ignoring for now the super rare 2002 tii and the 2002 turbo of course). This awesome little car sported a high-compression fuel injected version of the M10 engine and boasted 120bhp (sports car numbers for the time!)

BMW also made a limited run of the 2002 tii (with only around 400 units made) and the 2002 turbo (with only around 1200 units made). These cars are today extremely valuable and most of us would have to remortgage our house to get one…. try explaining that to the other half!

The Owner: Richard, Age 49, Lives in Cheshire, UK
The Owner: Richard, Age 49, Lives in Cheshire, UK

Dream Car: Either a 997 911 GT3 in Viper Green (the ultimate analogue 911 before it got to big and heavy!), or a Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9, or a Lancia Delta Integrale in Martini colours!

Richard’s car is a 2002ti from 1973… but as the pictures will show you, it’s not your “run of the mill” 2002ti. This car has been built to full tarmac rally spec with a raft of modifications to the suspension, chassis and engine.

So yes, we had plenty to talk to Richard about when we caught up with him. It turns out that he’s got a load of other incredible cars tucked away (but you’ll have to wait to see them another time!) for now, full focus on this awesome 2002ti! Read the owner interview below to find out more…

BMW 2002 tii (1973)

This tarmac rally spec classic BMW is a real rarity and a fantastic thing to drive!
Model Year 1973
Model 2002 ti
Make BMW
Keywords bmw, classic german, German, rally car

Highlights

  • The car was originally imported from Spain, where it had been built to full competition spec, mostly from new BMW parts.
  • The car is a bit of a handful to drive – stripped out, lightweight and running 150bhp, makes it a somewhat lively affair!
  • The noise is simply amazing – a mix of induction noise from the twin 40’s and deep burble from the Ansa exhaust.
  • The build quality is amazing with a meticulous attention to detail – the depth of the paint is amazing and there’s a wealth of little touches that set it apart from the usual rally car build.
  • The arches make it look stunning – they’re Alpina arches rather than copies of the ones fitted to the 1973 2002 Turbo.
  • The bodywork is absolutely rock solid and rust free – it’s like a brand new car!

Modifications

  • The engine has been completely rebuilt and has twin Webber 40 DCOE’s and an updated cam. Estimated output is 150bhp.
  • The gearbox is a dogleg 5 speed from a 1980’s BMW 323 with a short shifter and competition clutch
  • The axle has a plate-type limited-slip differential installed.
  • The front discs are standard sized with competition pads that give increased bite and fade resistance. The rears have the standard drums. It uses braided hoses throughout with a proportioning valve for front/rear bias adjustment.
  • Upgraded springs and shocks with adjustable damping front and rear. Upgraded anti-roll bar, poly-bushes and new or refurbished components throughout.
  • Fitment of ALPINA arches which are usually bonded on and blended in but they have been bolted in this instance.
  • The paintwork is amazing Ferrari red over Porsche polar silver.
  • The interior is pure rally spec. Cage, bucket seats, motorsport loom and gauges amongst other things!

Interview with the owner

  • When did you first purchase the car?
    I bought it in 2020. Long story, but it belonged to a friend of mine who imported it from Spain as a completed car with the intention of using it for some European events.
    It spent several years in his collection but wasn’t used in anger. When it came up for sale I just had to have it.
    It’s just such a beautiful car.
  • What's it like to drive?
    Surprisingly civilised. Only joking – it’s not civilised at all.
    Stripped out and circa 150bhp make it quite lively. The steering is direct, the dog leg 5-speed box with a short shift takes some initial getting used to but it doesn’t take long to tune in.
    The brakes are good with great feel. suspension is currently set up for tarmac rally’s and it’s grippy but rather tail-happy in the wet.
    The noise is simply amazing – a mix of induction noise from the twin 40’s and deep burble from the Ansa exhaust.
    That aside it’s like driving a brand new car as it was built from mostly new genuine BMW parts.
  • And the car has been fully restored and rebuilt? Tell us more about that…
    It was built from a bare shell by a Spanish guy. Everything has been either stripped and mounted or is brand new.
    The build quality is amazing with a meticulous attention to detail – the depth of the paint is incredible and there’s a wealth of little touches that set it apart from the usual rally car build.
    The arches make it look stunning – they’re Alpina arches rather than copies of the ones fitted to the 1973 2002 Turbo.
    The two-tone colour scheme is a homage to the BMW racers back in the 70’s. When you think of 70’s rally cars it’s usually Mk1 or Mk2 Escorts that spring to mind but this is a refreshingly different and unusual alternative that can hold its own against the blue oval boys.
    Since owning it I’ve spent a lot of time fettling, tracking down trim rattles, adding a choke so it starts easier and perfecting the suspension setup. I just need to sort out the heater blower and replace a couple of the chrome trims and it’s ready for a summer of events.
  • OK, let's talk modifications – what's been done to the engine?
    The engine has been completely rebuilt and has twin Webber 40 DCOE’s and an updated camshaft. Estimated output is 150bhp.
  • What have you done to the gearbox?
    The gearbox is a dogleg 5 speed from a 1980’s BMW 323 with a short shifter and competition clutch.
    The shift is precise and direct. The ratio’s in 1st to 4th gear are the same as a contemporary 2002 ti with an overdrive 5th giving a big more relaxed high speed cruising.
  • What have you done to the axle / drivetrain?
    A plate type LSD keeps things in check!
  • So it's a rally-spec build, which I guess means lots of changes underneath too… what's been done to the brakes and suspension?
    The front discs are standard sized with competition pads that give increased bite and fade resistance. The rears have the standard drums. It uses braided hoses throughout with a proportioning valve for front/rear bias adjustment.
    In terms of suspension changes, it's got updated springs and shocks with adjustable damping front and rear. Updated anti-roll bar, poly-bushes and new or refurbished components throughout.
  • The body and paint is simply stunning, can you explain what was done there…
    The most striking change is the fitment of ALPINA arches which are usually bonded on and blended in but have been bolted in this instance. The bodywork is absolutely rock solid and rust free – it’s like a brand new car!
    The paintwork is amazing Ferrari red over Porsche polar silver. The deign of shine is staggering without even a hint of orange peel. It really is amazing.
  • Ok lastly, wheels, tyres and interior – tell us about those!
    The wheels are 13×10’s. they look tiny by today’s standards but work well on this car. It’s currently on Toyo R888’s which are a great tyre.
    The interior is pure rally spec. Cage, bucket seats, motorsport loom and gauges make this a purposeful place to sit. It still retains standard door cards and whilst I could loose a few pounds by removing ABS and swapping the glass for Perspex it’s just so nice that it would be a shame to change it.
  • Do you plan to do any further work to the car Richard?
    I need to make a better accelerator linkage as the existing one is lacking in feel and it’s the inky thing that spoils what is an otherwise very well sorted car – but I’m just being picky!
    The next major work will be to obtain a motorsport passport which will need updated seats and belts. It’s off to Don Barrow Rally Equipment in the next couple of weeks for a period Brantz rally computer and some new laser engraved switch panels with text in English rather than Spanish!
  • Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?
    I'll take it to my grave
  • And this isn't your only special car is it? In fact, you're a proper car nut… what else have you got tucked away?
    I've got a few yes…
    – Saab 96 V4
    – Porsche Cayman GT4
    – Porsche 991 911 GTS
    – VW '66 Beetle
    – For Mk2 Escort with an ST170 focus motor
    – A '79 VW Bay Camper
    – Land Rover Defender
    – Land Rover Freelander rally car
    Our Thoughts: That people, is the definition of "car obsessed" – we love it!!!
Owner: Richard
Model: 2002 ti
Make: BMW
Keywords: bmw, classic german, German, rally car

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