Reader Submissions: 1976 BMW 2002 Helped Owner Get Into College

1976 BMW 2002 Helped Owner Get Into College

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
November 12, 2013

Owner: Carter Kelly Kramer

Location: Westchester, NY

Year, Make, and Model: 1976 BMW 2002

Photographers: Mike Bruno, Roger Garbow, Carter Kelly Kramer, AutoPhotos 2013

Identity. Forming your own is a big part of the teenage experience. For the 16-year-old Carter Kelly Kramer, expressing his own individuality required the right car. While his schoolmates gravitated toward the usual suspects – mainly Subarus and Mitsubishis – Carter knew an old-school European sport sedan would tell his story far better. Alfa GTVs were well beyond his budget, but BMW 2002s managed to squeeze in.

Carter found a blue ’76 on eBay, only to discover it not quite as advertised when it arrived on his driveway. It had a broken odometer which was stuck at 65,000 miles – the true condition of the little ’02 had clearly been lied about and was in need of some major TLC. Nevertheless, it ran, and Carter was on the road with an interesting car that looked like nothing else in the school parking lot.

A month into it, he stuffed the nose of the Bimmer while performing what he describes as “Colin McRae maneuvers” on a dirt road. Others may have written the car off, sold it for parts and simply settled for a different car, but Carter turned the unfortunate incident into an opportunity to build the car he had always envisioned it could be. He went to work taking it apart, burning the midnight oil for almost a year to get it ready. Enlisting the help of friends, he welded on a new nose and rebuilt the engine, brakes and suspension to near motorsport specification.

With a pair of downdraft Webers, forged pistons, custom cam and bigger valves, the little M10 engine screams. It’s not unheard of to see flames shooting from the custom side exhaust. Wide fender flares and a deep front spoiler give the 2002 a period-correct motorsports look, especially with the front bumper removed, while its matte-orange paint adds a slightly modern twist to the scheme. The finished project got Carter plenty of attention.

Enduring the year-long build offered him a new perspective on life, an experience he translated into a university entrance essay. Apparently it worked, as he was accepted for college, but in a twist of irony, he had to sell the BMW because he would have no place to store it at school and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving it parked on the street on a college campus. Realizing the mistake he had made, he saved his money once again and bought the car back a year later.

The 2002 managed to get him through high school and into college. Its next destination is the track, where it clearly belongs. Needless to say, the car won’t be leaving Carter’s sight anytime soon. After all, it’s now part of who he is.

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Meliambro001Cari JacksonDavid VelezCameron PrescottRick Dougan Recent comment authors
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Cari Jackson
Cari Jackson

this article and the photography make me want to do some fall roadtripping down in the Fingerlakes.


More likely, it’d be enough to make someone want to commit suicide….

David Velez
David Velez

Any pictures of the engine? I would love to see the downdraft carbs setup

Cameron Prescott
Cameron Prescott

I saw this car at the Greenwich Concours this year in the spectator lot. It was one of the coolest cars I saw all day.

Rick Dougan
Rick Dougan

I’m convinced rebuilding a 280Z from 1999 to 2002 got me into the Mechanical Engineering program at Berkeley also. In the end I’m not sure it was the right choice of program for me, but it sure was a killer entrance essay.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman

one of the best cars ever from bmw.
where’s the 21st century 2002 ?
current bmw’s are so meh !

Doug Churchill
Doug Churchill

A pair of downdrafts?? That’s a first. Great story and a great looking car. The ’02 is probably the most modified car ever to be altered/built/rebuilt/modified or rest-modded. I have seen or heard of engines from m3’s and m5’s, Chev 327’s, twin turbo’s and blowers being stuffed into or onto these cars. I even heard someone was grafting the ’02 body onto a Subie WRX which isn’t easy as the Subie is a uni-body necessitating a roll cage to join the two. They are such a brilliant example of taking something simple that becomes the canvas for such inspired backyard… Read more »

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

These are the automotive stories i love to hear. it just reaffirms why i love the hobby so much and yes i was i could have drove a BMW 2002 to highschool or anytime for that matter!