This BMW 2002 Is The Culmination Of A 20 Year Love Affair
Photography by Courtney Cutchen
Think back to the first time you saw your car. This may not be a car you own now, or even owned in the past. You may never own it. Rather, this is a car that you saw for the first time, and said to yourself, “I will have one of those some day”. Whether it was the mesmerizing slope of body lines, the mechanical harmony that resonated from an engine bay, or simply a well thought out interior; this was a car that captivated you. This sensation is rather similar to what happened in Lisa’s mind when she saw her first BMW 2002.
Lisa’s love affair with the 02 dates back more than 20 years. “I got my first 02 with my own hard earned, part time money, working as a receptionist at a real estate office,” she explained. “At 17, I bought my first 2002 from an original owner.” Describing her experience as “love at first sight,” she makes it very clear that there was never a doubt in her mind that the BMW 2002 was her car. So much so, that early on she was dubbed the “02 Princess” by Michel Potheau, cofounder of the BMWCCA. Since her first car, she has owned BMWs that fall across the map, from an E30 M3, a Bavaria, an E36 M3, and even two other 2002s.
Tesoro, as she has lovingly named the Schwarz 02, is a one of a kind, truly timeless take on the chassis. Lisa credits much of her inspiration for the build to her desire to be different. To create a 2002 completely unique to anything else in the community was important in the car’s build process. However, before Tesoro became what he is today, Lisa had to start somewhere.
“I found Tesoro at the Brisbane 2002 swap and show in 2014,” she told us. She spoke of a classic BMW that appeared “tired,” but nevertheless, a car that she saw massive potential in. The 02, which back then was coated in factory Fjord, was her way to return to her roots in the chassis. After picking up the car to enjoy in its original state, Lisa had an unfortunate run in with a failed clutch master cylinder. As she waited for the tow truck, which would typically be a beacon of salvation, she was met with even more disappointment. Upon arrival, the truck actually reversed into the 02, damaging the front grilles and nose panel area. As one can imagine, this wasn’t a setback Lisa had planned for.
Taking to Facebook to write about her experience, Lisa was met with support from her community. Thanks to the sharing nature of social media, SoCal local Le Tran of 2002GarageWerks caught wind of Lisa’s mishap. This is the point at which Tesoro’s build began.
The saying goes: “Tesoro was not built in a day.” Or at least, we think it’s something like that. The 02 was in this restoration period for more than two and a half years. During this time, the true beauty of Lisa’s aspirations came to life.
Tesoro is just as wonderful on the inside as the outside. Outfitted with plush leather throughout, the interior sits as an incredible combination of classic and custom. With alcantara inserts on both the front Recaros and the rear E24 seats, a perfect hint of modernism lines the cabin. In vintage motorsport fashion, the seats are also dotted with stainless steel grommets, those of which are similar to the old competition seats. The seats are corralled by custom (and of course, matching) door panels, all of which were upholstered by Franzini Brothers in San Rafael.
Other unique accents can be found inside, such as a custom engraved, weighted shift knob, boasting Tesoro’s name below a BMW roundel. A Monterey Rolex Reunion plate is found on the center console, commemorating BMW’s 100th Birthday celebration this year. The Reunion was a debut of sorts for the car, so Lisa felt the plate to be a significant addition to her interior.
Seeing as it’s only getting more difficult to obtain parts for vintage BMWs, we were impressed to hear that Lisa was able to source many NOS / NLA pieces for Tesoro. Of these parts, she is most proud of the Hirschmann jewel tip antenna, the Italian turn signals, and a crack free, original Euro dash. All of these little yet important details are what make Tesoro as a whole such a well rounded build. Looking at the car, it’s obvious to see that not only was there extensive thought put into the planning, but also, a lot of love.
On the performance and mechanical side of things, the car maintains a signature 2002GarageWerks package. Its fresh M10 is topped by a 38/38 Weber carb setup. The polished valve cover shines prominently at the center of the engine bay, and plays nicely with CAD plated hood hinge joints. This CAD aesthetic follows the car all the way around, even ending up in the trunk. Additionally, Tesoro is supported by specially sorted Ireland Engineering coilovers, finished by beautiful, custom BBS RMs–to the credit of Paul Ehrlich.
All parts and numbers aside, the car as a whole is what makes Lisa happy. This is most evident when you listen to the way she talks about her beloved build. It’s one experience to read about it, but something even more to hear the elation in her voice when she explains the car’s story.
“Tesoro in Latin translates to ‘treasure,’” she noted. Quite honestly, no name could be more suiting for this build. During our shoot, Lisa talked about how the little 02 is her “forever car,” and that this is the first car she has ever undergone such an extensive restoration with. She continued, “Most people will say, ‘Your car is too nice to drive!’ I say, ‘It was meant to be driven.’”
Lisa is a great example of someone who is truly passionate about her hobbies. In fact, this hobby has transcended rather as a complete lifestyle for her. Tesoro is what her dreams look like, embodied in a classic BMW. The average relationship between a person and a vehicle is often seen as a “point A to point B” scenario, but for Lisa, Tesoro is a labor of love. The car is much more than just a car.
Now that Tesoro is finally out of his restorative slumber, you can be certain that Lisa will be seen all over the Bay Area; behind the wheel of her treasure.