As vintage circuit competition cars have steadily ascended into the automotive Valhalla of pricing thanks to success of popular races like the Le Mans Classic, Monterey Historics, and of course the many events at Goodwood, the fallout has been to pull up related motorsports. For some time, vintage rally cars were generally considered used up, tired old hulks. But the fringe of enthusiasts that loved seeing the flatout and fearless driving attitude adopted by many a rally driver has grown to a much greater audience with new races like the Targa Newfoundland and Tasmania to name a few. While those races attract much newer and faster metal, there’s still a huge audience that loves seeing the pre-Quattro 1970s vintage rally cars. With high revving naturally aspirated motors and rear drive, this was the original ‘Formula Drift’, with constantly sideways Ford Escorts, Fiat 131 Abarths and the superhero of the 1970s WRC scene, the Lancia Stratos. But mixed in there too were some Porsche 911s, and of course, the effervescent BMW 2002:
The BMW 2002 might just be the quintessential German race car. A squat 2-door sedan, it’s chunky looks match well with wide tires in a lowered race stance. The upright nature gives the driver great visibility, while short overhangs mean there’s not much to bash you and you judge where the front of the car is well. The engine is simple but effective; a torquey inline-4 that can be turned up for more juice if you’re willing to spend a little – or a lot. Of course, the manual gearbox and rear drive are enthusiast favorites. Plus, the 2002 wears the appropriate German national racing color – white – so well, it’s sometimes almost cliche but still looks great. The M-colors, though not age appropriate, always suit the design well, and of course you can just slap a set of Minilights on there. Our friends at Fast In Fast Out have a reoccurring Monday theme on Minilites, and my submission for the most frequent but never overused application of them is the 2002:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002 Race Car on eBay
As with E30s, E36s, Volkswagen GTis and Jettas and Audi A4s, there seem to be a tremendous amount of modified 2002s. A popular tuning platform, they take many different forms in their personalization – not all of them good. Indeed, some of the modded 2002s that pop up for sale really leave me scratching my head as to the intentions of the owner. But when you see one that got it right, they always make me smile. Some of those “right” cars are period-look Alpina or Schnitzer cars, some are more subtle – just low, clean and with a nice set of Hella or Marchal fogs and some BBS Mahles. Then there are the updated cars, such as this more wildly Zender flared example. To me it looks pretty slick!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 BMW 2002 Tii-spec Zender on eBay
To me it’s always a bit interesting to talk about people’s motivations in getting a particular car, especially so when that car is a classic. For example, consider my Audi GT versus a Quattro. These days, if you can find one a mint condition Audi GT will set you back around $6,000 – $8,000 for the very best examples we’ve seen. However, that amount may get you a wreck of a Quattro, but likely not a particularly drivable example. In terms of driving experience, the GT is out of the box 90% of the Ur-Quattro experience for 90% plus of the time. Brought to a show, many non-Audi folks could probably not tell them apart. Yet, in terms of value gap, the iconic Quattro far outstrips the classic GT. We see it in other areas, too – for example a 73 911S versus a 77 911S, a E28 535is versus a M5, or even a 325is versus an M3. If you’re smart with your money, choosing the lesser example may not get you the headlines, but stretching your budget to get into a less serviceable iconic car is not likely to bring you more happiness, only more headaches. Take the two 2002s we have here; a freshly rebuilt, ready to roll 2002Tii and a somewhat tired, restoration ready 2002 Turbo: