In November, we introduced Collector Chassis, a new online platform for enthusiasts, hobbyists, and collectors to showcase, spectate, buy, and sell vintage, classic and special-interest vehicles. Through our partnership with Collector Chassis, BMW CCA members may list vehicles for free, and benefit from reduced selling fees, in addition to managing their own virtual garages and exploring the virtual garages of others. This week our Collector Chassis Showcase features a 2002 Turbo, a car currently for sale on the Collector Chassis website.
Check out the Collector Chassis FAQ for more information about their site and auction terms and conditions. When signing in to the Collector Chassis website, choose “Sign in as BMW CCA user” and use your BMW CCA credentials. And watch for more CC Showcase features in coming issues.—Mike Bevels
1975 BMW 2002 Turbo
- Location: New York, 11222
- Miles: 53741
- Kilometers: 53,741
- Car Club: BMW CCA
- Year: 1975
- Make: BMW
- Model: 2002 Turbo
- Chassis No.: 4290730
- Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-Liter Four
- Exterior Color: Polaris Silver
- Interior Color: Black
- Horsepower: 170
- Units Produced: 1,672
- Transmission: Manual
This story begins in 1979. That’s when Joe bought his first BMW, a 1973 Malaga Red 2002 that he owned for the next 34 years. He daily-drove the 2002 for the first eight years of ownership, including to some BMW CCA club events at the legendary Bridgehampton, New York, race course.
Joe eventually took the 2002 “around the clock” twice, to over 200,000 miles. When he finally had the time and resources (and another car), he completed a ground-up restoration of this round-taillight classic. Joe considered this 2002 to be the collector car that he would keep and pass down to his son. It was a comfortable plan—that is, ironically, until the year 2002.
2002 was the year that Joe was getting his car inspected at the Little Garage in Queens, New York. Matt, the owner of the Little Garage, approached Joe and said, “Hey, there is something that I want you to see.” Joe could see a car hidden under a cover.
As Matt pulled the cover back, Joe could not believe his eyes: Matt had unveiled a gorgeous Polaris Silver 2002 Turbo. Joe remembers the event like it was yesterday. “It was just the way you see it now, but without the stripes,” he says. “The owner had brought it in and asked Matt to help him find a buyer.”
To most BMW 2002 owners, including Joe, the Turbo is the Holy Grail of 2002s. Joe had to have it. His mind was racing; how could he figure this one out?
It began with a nice conversation with his wife. Joe promised to sell the Malaga Red 2002 to defray the cost. He also was able to negotiate a lower price with the seller. With that, Joe closed the deal and bought the Turbo.
The new-to-Joe 2002 Turbo needed a new battery. When it started, it ran a bit rough. The previous owner said that he had bought the car in the early 1990s and had performed a mechanical and cosmetic restoration over a period of years before moving on to other projects in his collection, never putting the 2002 Turbo back on the road.
Since the Turbo had sat for a while, Joe set about completing a meticulous review of all systems and completed the restoration over a number of years until he was fully satisfied with the way the car looked and ran.
The car had Originally been sold to a buyer in Northern Italy. It’s believed to have been imported as a gray-market vehicle into Canada sometime in the late 1980s. It ended up with an owner in Connecticut in the early 1990s, and then it came to Joe.
It was a timeline that matched the mileage and condition. When Joe bought the Turbo it had 50,000 miles on the clock.
Joe completed projects that included many specific elements in the interior. This included remaking the wooden trunk floorboards, a task handled by a craftsman in Mississippi who specialized in molds for 2002 floorboards and finding the OEM “elephant skin” vinyl to wrap them in.
Joe fondly recounted a ride he took up to Lime Rock one weekend for a car show. When he drove in, the attendant asked, “Oh, are you here for the show?”
Joe replied, “No I’m really just here to take a look at the cars.”
“Oh, you’re not showing it?”
“Oh, you should show this car, you should show this car!” repeated the attendant.
Convinced, Joe paid the $20 show fee, drove the car into the corral, opened the hood, and sat next to it. And then they came, and they judged it. He laughs and says he literally did nothing to the car—he hadn’t even washed it—but incredibly, it scored 91 points!
Joe was shocked. “Wait,” he said to the judge, “91 points?”
“Yes, ” replied the judge. “It’s a good car. Do a little something here and there and clean this up, and you could’ve received the top prize.”
Joe thought that when he retired, which he is still attempting to do, he would get the Turbo out on weekends and attend car shows. But he said it just doesn’t seem to fit his lifestyle anymore; he is consolidating and trying to make things simpler. “It’s time,” he says. “I’d like to find a new owner who will appreciate the Turbo for the unique place it holds in history as the first factory production Turbo. There aren’t many in this color or condition. It is getting rarer and rarer. And the Turbo is becoming so valuable that the level of stress driving it is getting a bit too high for me.” He worries about little things like following a truck and getting a stone chip, or even something happening while it’s just sitting in his garage.
Getting the car ready for this process, Joe got the Turbo out to shoot some video and still marvels at the experience of driving it. “It’s a hell of a car,” he says. “In the low revs, it feels like a standard 2002, but get above 3,500 rpm and stomp on the gas, and it’s like a monster. When that turbo kicks in, it just releases like a rubber band—there’s nothing like it!”—Will Sellenraad
[Photos courtesy of Collector Chassis.]