Motorsports Monday: 1968 BMW 2002 IMSA RS

The end of Summer has many traditions; the days wane as children head back to school. Temperatures fall as families head towards apple orchards and plan for haunted hay rides. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. But there’s one tradition I’ve particularly enjoyed for the last few years; the live stream from West Sussex, England of the Goodwood Revival.

For me, a lover of vintage cars and especially vintage race cars, it’s a special treat. Both of the events put on by Lord March are impressive in their own right, and if you want to see a little bit of everything the season opener Festival of Speed is probably the venue you should consider. But if you want to see cars and motorcycles from periods you weren’t even alive for race flat-out, the Revival is the one to tune in to. Heavily modified Jaguars, Ferraris, Aston-Martins, and just about everything in between head to the track as combinations of professional and amateur drivers (at least, those with quite deep pockets) take their prized possessions to the limit and sometimes beyond. You might be lucky enough once in your life to witness an original GT40 in person; head to the Revival, and you’ll run across a dozen or so of the model, many of which are driven nearly as quickly as they were originally. This is coupled with period livery and dress on one of the fastest circuits in England, filmed with some of the best cameras out there. The result, as a car lover, is one of the most evocative spectacles conceivable.

Each time I witness a Goodwood event, my love of these race-prepared vintage cars is re-inspired. And though this particular BMW 2002 is just a few years too new to be eligible for competition at the Goodwood circuit, it caught my attention because of the claimed IMSA link.…

1968 BMW 1600

BMW’s long road to recovery in the postwar era was interesting to say the least. Before the war, BMW had a moderately successful series of luxury and sports cars with its 326, 327 and 328 lineup. However, the market for those cars in Germany didn’t exist in the early 1950s and the technology was quite dated, so BMW found itself reliant upon an Italian-designed and licensed bubble car — the Isetta — to sustain early sales. Of course, with their motorcycle expertise, the air-cooled twins that found their way into Isettas were reliable (though not sprightly) units.

Though economical, a family sedan the Isetta did not make, so starting in 1957 BMW stretched the two seats into four and created the 600. With just shy of 600cc from an enlarged rear-mounted engine borrowed from a R67 motorcycle and a four-speed manual gearbox driving a new semi-independent trailing arm rear end, the 600 was a serious step forward for the company. The improvements were masked behind a familiar face (which still served as the primary door, as with the Isetta) and the 600 was not a sales success, with just shy of 35,000 produced. Intended to compete with the Beetle, it offered little respite from Volkswagen’s steamrolling sales success.

1959 BMW 600

To remedy this, BMW continued to develop the 600 chassis into the larger and more conventional 700 model. Launched in 1959 as BMW skirted attempts by Daimler-Benz to purchase the Munich-based firm, the 700 heralded BMW’s first true postwar sedan. Yet in spite of the conventional sedan proportions, the 700 retained the motorcycle-based air-cooled flat-twin in the back, driving the rear wheels. Back when BMW’s naming conventions matched their engine sizes, the eponymous sedan’s power was upgraded to nearly 700cc and 30 horsepower — 50 percent more than the 600.…

Roll the Dice? “1973” BMW 2002 Turbo

Most of our ‘Roll the Dice’ series involve cheap asking prices, needy restoration candidates, or oddball cars that are great values. This is not one of those.

The BMW 2002 is a legendary giant killer, and the predecessor of the market darling M3. Introduced before the M1 and 3.0CSL, BMW’s Motorsport division designed and modified the E10-based model to such an extent that it received its own model code – E20. A KKK turbocharger was fit to the M10 2.0 inline-4, generating 8 lbs. of boost at 3,500 rpm and a screaming 170 horsepower. Only available in two colors, the expensive ($6,600 list price in 1974) 2002 Turbo sold in scant numbers – a total of 1,672 were produced. And since all things special BMW are highly prized in today’s market, you can bet that when 2002 Turbos come to market, those in the know take notice.

So, how is this one a ‘Roll of the Dice’?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo on eBay

1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

Porsche pioneered turbocharging for the mass market, right?

Well, wrong, as it turns out.

Certainly, when you think Germany, turbocharging, and 1970s, Porsche’s name is intrinsically linked with any associations therein. But it was BMW, not the Stuttgarters, who first brought turbocharging to the German public. Back in 1973, BMW’s fledgling Motorsport division breathed new life into the 2002 by force with the addition of a KKK turbocharger to the Kugelfish-injection M10. Little on the 2002tii motor went untouched, and the result was 170 horsepower and 181 lb.ft of torque. That’s a pittance in today’s numbers, but in 1973? It was pretty outrageous. Consider, for a moment, that the base Corvette at the same time had the L48 5.7 liter V8 cranking out 190 horsepower in a car that weighed the best part of two 2002s.

The Turbo came to market with a penchant for fuel and a high sticker price at a time when the world was on the verge of a oil crisis. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t much of a market success, and only 1,672 were made for the 1974 and 1975 model years. There were only two colors (Chamonix White, and Polaris Silver Metallic like we see here) and they came fitted standard with 13″ steel wheels. This recipe would be the basis for some later, greater sleepers from BMW, including the M5:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo on eBay

1978 BMW 320i

7The E21 has never been quite as popular among enthusiasts as later iterations of the 3-series. Produced between 1977 and 1983, the E21 was the successor to the beloved 2002 and the first in the line of BMW’s compact sedans to carry the “3-series” designation. Available only as a two-door sedan (and eventually a Baur cabriolet conversion, produced in very small numbers), the Paul Bracq-led design contains a number of classic cues: the steeply raked front nose and kidney grilles, the four round headlights and the “hoffmeister kink” in the C-pillar among them. Even when stymied by the dreaded, US-spec diving board bumpers, as here, these wedge-shaped cars have a quirky and charming look that embodies the best of early BMW styling.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 BMW 320i on eBay

1985 BMW 318i

318E301Since joining GCFSB, I’ve resisted the temptation to write up an E30, mostly out of irritation at the overbaked market for the 80s era 3-series. Although we’ve recently featured some nice examples on the site, I’m tired of seeing so many rusted out, half-finished projects for sale with unreasonable price tags attached. And while there are some admittedly well-preserved and desirable cars out there, I can only stare at $150k M3s for so long before becoming bored. What traditionally made the E30 such an attractive proposition was that it offered all the best features of a sporty German sedan – a sorted chassis, a zippy motor and a manual gearbox – for not a lot of money. But as their prices have climbed upwards, so that even tired examples are no longer very cheap, the allure of the E30 has faded, at least for me.

I’ve relented, however, for the sake of this example. That’s because it’s so nice to see such an apparently clean, well-preserved and original E30 on the market. The price isn’t too bad either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 318i on Craigslist

1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

What was the first M car? Many would instantly say the M1 – first to carry the magical badge of engineering prowess. But of course BMW Motorsport existed before the M1 came to be, and indeed had already tipped their hat to the market with two now legendary cars in their own right. The first was the 3.0CSL a stripped out and lightened racer for the road. The next capitalized on BMW’s early turbocharged technology. Though the inline-6 would be the staple of the road-going lineup until fairly recently, the performance side of BMW took their inline-4 racing virtually everywhere, from Le Mans to Formula 1. And they won virtually everywhere, too – thanks to adjustable boost, in qualifying configuration the development M12 was reportedly capable of 1,400 horsepower – from 1.6 liters. In the 2002, the more pedestrian M10 was turbocharged, resulting in 170 horsepower. That may not sound like a lot, but consider for a moment that small performance sedans up to that point had considerably less. Take the Lotus Cortina, for example, which only a few years earlier was the hot shoe with 105 horsepower. The 2002 Turbo was really a revelation in performance, then, and BMW never looked back. Produced only in Polaris Silver Metallic or Chamonix White like this one, a scant 1,672 were made and are very collectable today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo on eBay

1974 BMW 2002tii Touring

Long before “Clownshoe” mania, BMW had another slightly off-beat hatchback in its lineup. The company recently spent a fairly sizable sum advertising the lineage between the new 2 series and the original 2002, but as generally impressive as the new 2 is, the one thing lacking is a model similar to the E10 Touring model. Okay, the F45 and F46 tall hatchback models channel a bit of that, but let’s be honest – they’re not exactly what enthusiasts love. And similarly polarizing is the Touring model in the E10 lineup. The Michelotti design channeled some of the GT feel from the Glas acquisition, but while the fluid lines of the 1600GT worked well in a low slung sports car, moving to the taller and more upright E10 platform gave the Touring slightly odd dimensions. Shortened by about 6 inches and with additional glass, the Touring had modern conveniences like split-folding rear seats and was available in five different engine configurations over its short three year model life. From 1600 to 2002, the model designations referred to the engine capacity – imagine that! But the top of the heap was the 130 horsepower 2002tii Touring – for enthusiasts, one of the rarest variations of the E10 made:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002tii Touring on eBay

10K Friday: BMW 3-series Showdown

Rightly so, I’ve been accused of comparing everything to BMWs – so for today’s 10K Friday, I thought why not compare BMWs to BMWs? Part of the reason I compare various cars I write up to the alternative BMW products is because for some time they have been considered the benchmark, and their popularity from new to the used classic market means that they set the pricing trends against which others can be judged. That’s especially true of the 3 series; for some time, the go-to performance product from Germany, increasingly many earlier generations of the 3 are being viewed as not only collectable, but indeed as investments. So, what does your $10,000 budget buy these days? I’ve rounded up five examples from the first five generations, covering nearly every configuration the small executive platform has been available in. Which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW 320is on eBay

1983 BMW 320is Turbo

$_57 (6)

E21s seem to be gaining popularity, with some beautiful, low-mileage examples coming out of the woodwork and pulling upwards of $20k! This 1983 320is is more about fun and less about preservation, strapping a Mitsubishi TD04 turbo on, a snail more commonly used on Saabs. To support the increased output, parts from a fun variety of cars – Audi 200 Turbo, VW GTI, Volvo 240 Turbo – come together to give this little 3er a bit more oomph than the M10’s original 125hp. With the “is” model’s inherent improvements in handling and power delivery and a hefty new-parts list, this E21 looks to be a fun little handful.

Click for details: 1983 BMW 320is Turbo on eBay