We’ve all had the thought while browsing online auto classifieds: Arrive via alternate form of transportation, purchase whatever vehicle happens to be the focus of current inspiration, and hit the road, headed homeward. A few of us have even done it, like our very own Rob Siegel, who was inspired enough by the whole affair that he penned an impassioned recollection of how things played out when he bought a non-running 2002 some 1,000 miles from home last year.
I’ve been lucky enough to take part by proxy, when I assisted a college friend in purchasing a local, original-owner C5-generation Corvette Z06, which we then piloted up the coast from San Diego to Seattle over what was one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever experienced.
The opportunity to serve as a stopping point for friends who’ve recently made a car purchase and are headed back home has also come up, and my place has become a veritable oasis for the weary car-enthusiast traveler in need of some downtime, another set of hands on the wrenches, and maybe even a deep vacuuming of the interior to clean out any remnants of a previous owner. Naturally, when I caught wind of the Restoration Roadtrip in which two dudes embarked on a journey to purchase a running-and-driving 2002 for an impressive $2,500 price, I couldn’t resist a brief meeting with Patrick and Kent as they passed through San Diego in their 1970 Granada Red roundie.
Imperfect, with a fair bit of rust and character—like any good old BMW—it sounds like the mechanics of Kent and Patrick’s new-to-them 2002 are relatively sound (and largely original as well). The history of the chassis is mostly unknown, but as the map below will reveal, the car was purchased in Idaho, a place known for its unique high-altitude desert climate, which is less ravaging in terms of rust than the Midwest, for example. An original-looking Granada Red paint label remains in place within the engine bay, but the finish currently worn is a repaint that appears rather haphazard, with plenty of overspray. The interior is a bright spot; it appears to remain original in terms of upholstery. Carpeting is gone, and the dash is cracked, but the space still served to hold a healthy bit of gear that the fellows were carrying along for their trip—I have to assume the trunk was packed to the gills as well.
I noticed a fresh muffler beneath the rear end, installed to remedy a loud and presumably tiresome exhaust. The M10 responsible for motivation is assured to be in good shape and is said to pull to redline with enthusiasm, according to Kent. There’s some excess wiring up near the firewall, but the the single-carb setup is believed to be original, with the same feeling expressed for the exhaust heat shield visible below.
The car sounded good as it was slowly driven around the parking lot, and even better as it was put under load and taken through the revs as the guys drove off. I would later learn of a coil failure that led to a roadside repair, but a replacement part was luckily located just a mile away.
No strangers to cars and BMWs, Kent (left) said he was formerly a tech at a local BMW dealership in the Denver, Colorado, area. He said that he’d always been aware of the praise and hype surrounding the 2002, but that his experience with this car on the current trip had sold him on the model. Patrick (right) also has some goings-on related to the automotive world in the form of 11C Motorsports, which is promising some interesting feats for 2018.
When asked about future plans for the car and what would be happening with it when they returned home, Patrick offered pensive optimism. It sounds like a different power plant is in the works, the details of which were not divulged. Bodywork, the floors, and dialing in the appearance are also on the agenda.
Along the way, the two car guys have been scavenging different parts and stopping at local enthusiast shops, which explains the rather out-of-the-way route displayed above. It sounds like the journey has been fruitful so far, which makes sense, given the propensity of the West Coast to attract vintage-auto enthusiasts.
When it was time to part ways, the 2002 fired up without hesitation, and carried its occupants down the road towards their eventual destination. As I packed my camera away and fired up my own project E30 for the short drive back home, I couldn’t help but wonder when I’d next be embarking on a similar jaunt myself.