- The BMW 2002 launched the brand’s sport-sedan reputation, and the 2002tii model is its ultimate expression.
- This 1974 2002tii benefits from extensive work, some of which moved the car away from stock but should pay dividends in drivability.
- This Bring a Trailer auction ends August 31.
From the outside, there is something severe about the restrained styling of a classic BMW 2002. This all-black example manages to be almost clerical in spirit, like a priestly cassock or nun’s habit, all clasped hands and pious intent. But, as former Car and Driver editor David E. Davis, Jr. once wrote, “Turn your hymnals to Number 2002 and we’ll sing two choruses of Whispering Bomb.” A 2002tii is not for saints but for us speedy sinners.
Today’s pick over at Bring A Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos—is a 1974 BMW 2000tii achingly beautiful in black and chrome. Its subtlety and simplicity stand in stark contrast to the marque’s current lineup, which ranges from overwrought coupes to the XM SUV, the latter’s colossal twin grilles lending it an uncanny resemblance to Pumba from The Lion King.
A 2002 is as meerkat to the warthoggy XM: light, elegant, deft. This nimble little car charmed the pants off Davis, to the extent that his 1968 review of the 114-hp carburetted version stands as one of the great automotive reviews of all time.
“To my way of thinking, the 2002 is one of modern civilization’s all-time best ways to get somewhere sitting down. It grabs you.”
The tii suffix on this 1974 2002 indicates further zip under the hood, thanks to Kugelfisher mechanical fuel injection. So-equipped, the fizzy little 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is good for 125 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque, rasping its merry song out of a stainless-steel exhaust. It’s paired with a five-speed manual from a later car and a limited-slip rear differential. Testing a 2002tii, Car and Driver‘s Patrick Bedard, wrote:
No matter how you try, you can’t help but like it. It is the essence of motoring truth: no strobe stripes, no phony teardrop racing mirrors, no triple turret taillights. Just finely honed machinery in the simplest steel and glass case. And it works. It handles—with the agility of a pro flanker back—and the fuel-injected engine can make the parson breathe hard.
Being a 1974, this example has the square taillights of the later 2002 models; enthusiasts of the breed may argue that the earlier round taillights are a little prettier (although the earlier chrome bumpers have been retrofitted). Mere quibbling, as the car is so well-sorted. Recaro seats and a Nardi shift knob and three-spoke steering wheel enhance a clean and spartan cockpit. Bilstein shocks and 13-inch Gotti wheels keep the footwork light and lively.
Plenty of recent servicing has been performed by the previous owner, including a new aluminum radiator, fuel and water pumps, and various bits of the ignition system. The stainless steel exhaust is also new and should provide an excellent soundtrack for a weekend’s backroad flogging.
Which, should you have the winning bid on this lovely 2002tii, is practically a commandment.
Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and photographer based in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British automobiles, came of age in the golden era of Japanese sport-compact performance, and began writing about cars and people in 2008. His particular interest is the intersection between humanity and machinery, whether it is the racing career of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught both of his young daughters how to shift a manual transmission and is grateful for the excuse they provide to be perpetually buying Hot Wheels.