GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1973 BMW 2002 Film Shoot
This week we’re a few hours north of the Petrolicious HQ in Los Angeles as we follow Lisa and her tastefully modified E10 through the forested curves and rolling highlands of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s her third 2002 so far, but this one was always defined as her lifetime car—a keeper—and the license plate tells you all you need to know in that regard: translated from Latin, tesoro means treasure, and after a restoration prompted by some unfortunately clumsy tow-truck maneuvering, that’s exactly what Lisa’s 2002 has become. It’s just as she pictured it in her head, and with a host of choice aftermarket parts from the likes of BBS, Weber, and Recaro, we imagine she’s not alone in her admiration for this classic German coupe.
The shape of the 2002 was love at first sight when she first caught sight of one on the road at a time when the E30 was surpassing its elder relative’s popularity, and when she was 17 she put all of her savings into making one her first car. More BMWs followed in its wake, but this 1973 E10 was planned for the long haul, not something to be taken into brief rotation and then sold on to the next steward. The car came with some choice pieces to start with, and Lisa’s done plenty of parts hunting to add to the list that now includes a vintage Hirschmann “jewel” antenna, a Neue Klasse-era steering wheel set against a euro dash (not cracked of course!), and a set of BBSes that rival jewelry. Today it’s kept in top condition by the talented team at Performance Technic, but it didn’t start out in such pristine form.
Shortly after taking ownership of the ’73, which was bought following an encounter at an 02 swap meet of all places, the the clutch master cylinder decided to call it a day as she was heading back home from a routine parts pickup. Getting stranded in an older car isn’t anyone’s idea of a pleasant afternoon, but when the tow-truck arrived in apparent rescue, the driver backed up a bit too far and put the edge of the ramp into the nose of the little black Bimmer instead. It was Lisa’s keeper though, and rather than justifiably giving up on what appeared to be a car with a minor curse attached to it she accelerated her plans to restore it and got to work on the rebuild sooner than originally planned.
It’s her third 2002 as we mentioned, and seeing as she was no stranger to the chassis at this point she was ready to build her dream car. When we modify it’s often the case that we’d do things differently given a second chance at it, but in this instance Lisa already had plenty of time to figure out what she wanted to go into this rendition of the 2002. The interior is a blend of Alcantara and leather, and the custom Recaros up front match nicely with the E24-sourced rear seats with their matching Alcantara inserts to give an updated feel to the still definitively vintage cockpit.
That’s just the middle of this three-box BMW though, and under the hood rests a modified M10 inline-four with a few choice upgrades like a 38/38 Weber carb and short headers from the 2002 gurus at Ireland Engineering. It’s paired up with a five-speed and the power is sent to the pavement through a stylish set of mildly customized BBS RM wheels, always a sound choice for an older Bimmer. The idea was never to go overboard and turn the car into something it never was, and while we can all appreciate a seriously souped-up E10 like this M3-swapped beast, it’s refreshing to find someone taking a modified route with some restraint—I believe the kids used to call this kind of thing “OEM plus.” Whatever you term it, it will always be Tesoro to Lisa.