• This splendid Agave Green 1973 BMW 2002tii is currently up for auction on the Bring a Trailer website.
• This is the car that really made BMW in the United States, and it brings back fond memories, since I owned one in high school in the 1980s.
• Bidding on the 2002 is currently at $17,000, with five days to go until the June 8 auction end date.
The BMW 2002 sport coupe, particularly the fuel-injected version designated by the tii suffix, was the car that gave BMW its foothold in the United States, providing the foundational bona fides for the brand’s eventual Ultimate Driving Machine tagline. We choose this gorgeous ’73 tii as our pick of the day from Bring a Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of the Hearst Autos group. The car has a 2.0-liter inline-four with a five-speed manual transmission and features 13-inch wheels, front disc brakes, front bucket seats, and a sunroof. It has been repainted in its original color, Agave Green.
But my reasons for selecting this car go well beyond those details and the model’s key position in the Bavarian Motor Works canon. When I was just a young car fanatic, in high school in suburban Detroit in the 1980s, I bought a 1973 BMW 2002 as my first real vehicle. It was more than a bit ratty, with rusty fenders, rockers, and hood. It had 120,000 miles on it, though the 2.0-liter engine and four-speed manual transmission had both been rebuilt at around 75K, and it sported Bilstein shocks, an Ansa exhaust, a Weber carb, and Pirelli tires. The tan vinyl on the passenger seat was torn, and much of the stuffing had fallen away, exposing the internal springs.
I worked every weekend, about 25 hours a week, at a pizzeria and then a lovely local Italian restaurant to keep my Bimmer running, and it ate up every cent I earned. Eventually, however, I saved up enough to have all the rusty bits replaced with clean new sheetmetal, and the car repainted in a non-factory blue that was closer to the azure in the BMW roundel.
The summer after my senior year, within weeks of getting the car back from the shop, I was on my way to visit some old folks I’d met at a local home for senior citizens, as part of a community service program I’d helped found at my school. While stopped at a red light, some coked out a-hole rear ended me, spinning my beloved 02 into the intersection in a spray of gas, metal, and round taillight plastic lenses. The car was totaled. I was unhurt, physically. I was emotionally devastated. I loved that car. It taught me how to drive.
I’ve always wanted another 2002 but never pursued it, falling instead into a million other forms of weird car love. When I returned to my high school for my 25th reunion a decade ago, BMW was kind enough to loan me a perfect tii, in the same shade as my dearly departed 02, and I had a reverie. But since I own a green 1990 Range Rover and a green 1979 Fiat 124 Spider, were I to buy again, this one seems like an ideal choice.
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