The BMW 2002 is a car that helped make BMW what it is today, perhaps more so than any other single model. As controversial as that statement may be in classic car circles there is merit to it, the mighty little 2002 was a sports car as good or better than most, but instead of a sleek curvaceous body it had a practical sedan shape that could comfortably seat four adults and carry luggage.
The story behind the conception of the BMW 2002 is the stuff of automotive legend, in a remarkable coincidence both BMW’s director of product planning, Helmut Werner Bönsch, and the designer of the M10 engine, Alex von Falkenhausen, had a 2 litre version of the M10 engine installed in their respective BMW 1602s. As the story goes they happened to be getting their cars serviced at the same time and same place, and realised they’d both made the same engine swap.
The two men put together a proposal for BMW’s board of directors and received a speedy approval. Likely because the highly-influential vehicle importer Max Hoffman had been asking BMW for just such a vehicle.
The name “2002” can be confusing as it looks like the year but it actually refers to the engine size and the number of doors – 2000cc and 2 doors, or 2002. There was also a BMW 1602, a 1600cc with 2 doors, which formed the foundation of what the BMW 2002 would become. In fact from a few paces it’s difficult to tell the two cars apart.
The BMW 2002 proved to be a winner for the German marque and helped set the company’s course for the future, much like the BMW 328 had done before WWII. In the decades since its introduction the 2002 has endeared itself to people around the world, from the United States to Australia, South Africa, and Argentina – there are very few countries on earth where a 2002 hasn’t turned a wheel.
The car you see here belongs to Glenn Manton, and Australian from Melbourne who’s always loved the 2002. Glenn was presented with the opportunity to buy an immaculately restored BMW 2002 from an owner in Sydney who had decided he was a little too portly to fit into the car. Once it was transported the 1,000 or so kilometres to Melbourne Glenn set to work on the factory stock vehicle, he wanted to give it a personality – a feature sadly left out of many restorations.
Glenn’s first port of call was Ireland Engineering. One of the world’s preeminent sources for performance parts for the BMW 2002. The full list of parts used on the car is too expansive to list here however it does include all new suspension, 15″ Wilwood disc brakes up front, Bilstein shock absorbers, a 250mm rear drum brake upgrade, new brake lines, and a slew of other parts.
As is usually the case, most of the money was spent under the hood. The M10 engine was comprehensively rebuilt with new pistons giving a 9.75:1 compression ratio, these are attached to H-beam forged connecting rods, all new bearings throughout, new intake and +1mm exhaust valves on dual valve springs, a Schrick 292 camshaft, twin 40 DCOE Weber side draught carburettors, and many other parts.
“I’ve owned some extraordinary vehicles from a genuine Myers Manx that was supercharged to an Australian delivered ‘passion red’ Tommi Makinen Evo but nothing comes close to the universal love that Heidi receives. The driving experience is sublime with great vision,agility and more than enough zip to compete in modern traffic – the Wilwood calipers help a little too!” – Glenn Manton
The completed car is one of the nicest restomod 2002s we’ve seen in recent memory, and it’s now for sale. If you’d like to enquire about the car you can contact Glenn by message here.
Images by Simon Shiff
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.