There’s something about the simplicity of a vintage BMW. While the 2002 may have started it all—especially for us here at the BMW CCA—the story of that model traces directly back to the 1602. Introduced in 1966, the 1602 (initially 1600-2) took the winning formula of the M10 four-cylinder engine and mated it with a sporty two-door version of the New Class. Not quite a coupe (that designation belongs to the 2000C and 2000CS), and not quite a sedan, the 1602 was BMW’s early attempt at something the company is now famous for producing, the sport sedan.
For Lisa Hong, BMW CCA member and Legends Of The Autobahn winner, there’s something about the simplicity of the 1602 that encapsulates a form of automotive perfection. You might recognize Hong from her previous Petrolicious feature, which focused on her other 02, a 1973 model year example named Tesoro that won Legends Of The Autobahn. Back in 2017, Hong also made an appearance on Jay Leno’s Garage, but instead of Tesoro, it was the 1600 we now know as Derby that was the topic of discussion.
While Hong’s 2002 (Tesoro) seems built for performance and making the best of a good backroad, her 1602 seems a bit more focused on originality. It’s got many rare, original bits and pieces that aren’t found on later models or the 2002, and the color, Derby Grey, for which the car is named, is a remnant of the period, and is not to be confused with Bristol Grey, another factory offering. Hong’s 1602 relies on a six-volt electrical system with a generator, a single-circuit European market braking system, and a mechanically actuated clutch. It may not be the fastest 02—it didn’t even have seatbelts before being registered in California—but it’s certainly among the most captivating.—Alex Tock
[Image and video courtesy Petrolicious.]