Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 105

1972 BMW 2002

  • Chassis no. 2581201

Sold for $38,500


100 hp, 1,990 cc OHC inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual synchromesh transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, McPherson struts, anti-roll bar, and telescopic dampers, independent rear suspension with coil springs, semi-trailing arms, anti-roll bar, and telescopic dampers, and hydraulic front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 98.4 in.

  • Recently restored example with tasteful upgrades
  • BMW sports seats upholstered in original pattern
  • The ’70s icon that began the sports sedan craze


Without question, the 2002 is considered the definitive small sports sedan. While the diminutive Isetta is thought to have saved BMW, the 2002 is regarded as the vehicle that defined the company. The 2002 has its roots in the “New Class” of medium-range family sedans first offered as the 1500 series in 1962–1964. Utterly conventional, the “three-box” sedan would become the first of a long line of BMWs to use a sturdy, imminently tunable, four-cylinder overhead-cam engine. The engine, as installed, was canted over 30 degrees to the right side of the engine bay, allowing space for multi-choke carburetion and, eventually, fuel injection on the tii models.

The success of the “New Class” BMWs cannot be understated. During the 12-year model run, a total of 398,434 were built including 196,845 2002s between January 1968 and June 1975. Paul Hahnemann, the head of marketing for BMW, convinced the Board of Management that the world was ready for a more powerful version of BMW’s sporting sedan. It was not just the German and European market that he felt was ready, it was also the American market, where BMW had previously failed to claim much market share. So it was, and the 2002 was born.

Although the engine developed five horsepower less than its 1600 tii predecessor, torque was considerably higher, especially off the line at low revs. To differentiate the car from its four-door sibling, it was called 2002, while the four-door model was called the 2000. Standard equipment included a brake servo and a hydraulic clutch. Within six months of introduction, it was given dual circuit brakes. Exports to North America amounted to 20 percent of production, and the car was considered a runaway success for BMW. Car & Driver referred to it as the “whispering bomb.”

According to the consigner, this 2002 has been recently restored from a clean, accident-free example. Painted Golf (yellow) over black leatherette, this U.S.-delivery example is equipped with a four-speed manual transmission. BMW sport seats have been installed and cleverly upholstered in the original pattern of the upholstery used when new. Carpets are original, as is the dash pad, which has no cracks. Numerous upgrades have been fitted, including ATS 14-inch five-spoke wheels with BF Goodrich G-Force tires, Hella driving lights, a Crane coil, Weber carburetors with velocity stacks (including covers), a VDO water bottle, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, a stainless steel exhaust, and a special center console with additional gauges including voltage, temperature, and oil pressure.

Take a good look at this ’70s icon and it is easy to understand why the 2002 quickly became a cult favorite among enthusiasts. For a generation of drivers who lusted after both performance and practicality, the 2002 is the ultimate driving machine.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more