Featured: BMW 2002 Is A Dream Realized In The Pursuit Of Automotive Happiness

BMW 2002 Is A Dream Realized In The Pursuit Of Automotive Happiness

By Andrey Smazhilo
March 19, 2014

Photography by Maxim Gurianov for Petrolicious

Obviously, everyone has dreams. And in the case of Petrolisti, we all have dream cars. Success in achieving those dreams depends on how strong your ambition is and how far you can go in your pursuit of happiness.

Sometimes you may not know exactly which car you want. You might make up a ‘bucket list’ of cars you’d like to own during your life. Some people know exactly what model they want, taking into account the color and year of production. But what makes us dream and ultimately fall in love is the overall impression the car makes, it is combination of many elements. This is not how this 2002 was born. When Nodar, its owner, was looking for a vintage car, he did not have a 2002 or even BMW in mind. In fact, he had bad memories about BMWs due to a serious accident while driving one. Starting in 1975, BMW was already producing the new E21 3-series but production of E10s continued up until 1977 in Belgium. Looking for a pre-1980 auto, Nodar found this 1977 BMW 2002, which is a last-year Belgian-made car. It might not have been love at first sight, but it somehow caught his attention, he bought it, and the restoration process began.

It didn’t go as planned. As soon as he understood that there was too much rust and repairing the floor and body would cost a whole lot of money, Nodar decided that the car should become a track tool. He realized that it would take time to build one from the ground-up, but the desired result motivated him: an easy-to-drive and extremely fast eye-catcher.

Thankfully, road regulations are not that harsh in Russia and the police respect the age and rarity of the car, so the car remains completely road-usable and ‘legal’. Finding another body shell for such a car in good condition is an impossible task in Russia, so a space-frame was fabricated and body panels were simply welded to it. Sure, it is not necessarily how you restore a classic BMW, but if you want to race it and can’t find a perfect model, should you just throw it away?

The BMW M10 engine is a SOHC engine, but it is too old, despite the fact that it was the foundation for such great Formula 1 engines as the M12 and M13, putting out as much as 1200 horsepower in qualification spec. Hence, a 2.5L M50 straight-six was chosen that, strengthened and turbocharged, will make 400 wild, German horses conspiring to destroy the rear tires quickly. And while it might seem like too much for a car that weighs around 1000 kilos (2200 lbs), the grip is immense and you would have to try hard to spin the car.

The standard panels were not sporty enough so Alpina-styled fenders and front air dam were used to accommodate the classic, wide sixteen inch BBS RS rims. The interior is composed of OMP classic bucket seats, small 350 mm steering wheel and 4-point racing harness, while Stack gauges provide all necessary information to the driver about the engine’s performance.

The amount of work was enormous for a single man to handle in a timely fashion, so SportKB tuning shop handled the project. It took money, hard work, and many sleepless nights but the result is mind-blowing, especially compared to the broom-painted tin can the car was at the beginning. Would Nodar do it again? Well, it is just a matter of time until the right car appears on the horizon and a new pursuit begins…

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Amir Rahbar
Amir Rahbar
10 years ago

Nice car !!! check out mine !

David Walcott
David Walcott
10 years ago

My Dad had a 2002 series it was black. We were looking over old family pictures because my Dad wanted his degree put up next to me and my Sister’s. We came across an old picture of me him standing next to it at my old house when I was a kid. It makes me want to go out and buy a 2002 or a 80’s 3 series.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
10 years ago

very nice.
all i’d change would be to replace the prosaic toyo t1r’s with something better – and not run the silly stretched look.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
10 years ago

I have always been a big fan of these BMW 2002s. They just seem to have a timeless simple design and great performance capability in the right hands of course but it still practical enough to use everyday as well. The engine upgrade is sure gives this car a bit more horsepower then usual but if it can handle it things should be just fine.

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