Journal: Read the Greatest BMW Review of All Time

Read the Greatest BMW Review of All Time

By Adam Kaslikowski
June 13, 2013

BMW has not always been a member of the upper echelon. There was indeed a time when the thought of them being a the number one luxury brand—as they are now—was unthinkable. Once, they were a small German car manufacturer struggling to crack the all-important American car market with their new car. That once was 1968, and that new car was the 2002.

The car was good, better than good really, but what BMW needed was a local—an inside voice that could speak our peculiar interpretation of English and tell the unwashed masses about the values of the 2002. What BMW needed was an evangelist. They could not have possibly done better than David E. Davis Jr.

For those unfamiliar, Davis was one of the greatest automotive journalists of all time. Equal parts Walter Cronkite and Hunter S. Thompson, his authority and verse poured off the page and into the reader’s imagination every month in the pages of Car and Driver and Automobile. His April 1968 review of the 2002 was a landmark for BMW, and Davis peppered it with his usual distinctive wit with lines such as:

“I know about the BMW 2002, and I suspect enthusiasts will buy as many as those pink-cheeked Bavarians in their leather pants and mountain-climbing shoes would like to build and ship over here.”

This glowing review from one of our nation’s top critics introduced BMW to much of America. Davis’ piece truly put the Bavarian upstart on the enthusiast’s radar, and for good reason.

“To my way of thinking, the 2002 is one of modern civilization’s all-time best ways to get somewhere sitting down. It grabs you.”

I urge you to go read the original review yourself, as well as a modern re-telling here. Reading a road test for a car that is now 45 years old may sound more dull than watching your toenails grow, but you owe it to yourself as an automotive enthusiast to see what a real review is like. They sure don’t make cars, or journalists like they used to.

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Kevin Killacky
Kevin Killacky(@kkillacky)
8 years ago

In 1968 I was 22 and a naval cadet at Pensacola when I needed a new car (to replace my hand-me-down 1961 Chevy Impala hardtop). I test drove the 2002 (as well as a 68 Vette). I was impressed with everything about the 2002 except its looks. The salesman said to ignore its looks and look at performance but I said no and eventually bought a 1969 Camaro. Wish I had all four cars but we have all got our stories about cars, houses, stocks and girls that we passed on.

Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman(@derekj)
8 years ago

That is some great automotive journalism! I couldn’t imaging an editor at C/D writing that in a current issue:)

Balazs Barna
Balazs Barna(@bbarna77)
8 years ago

The only problem with old BMW cars is, you’d like to have more and more. I own a E30 M3, but I’d love to have a 2002 as well. After I got one, I’d love to have a ….. ( E9/E24/etc endless BMW cars and Alfas).. But in reality, I still have to pay for my Renault estate for a couple of years.

Thanks for the great articles and videos

8 years ago

Is this site biased toward BMW’s or do they just make more enthusiast attracting models than Merc/Audi/Lexus? 🙂 I’m a BMW guy (own a 80.000 miles E28) and love these sort of articles of old BMW’s.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago
Reply to  noekult

All the BMW stuff is related to our Bavarian Experience series that is happening this month .