Featured: This BMW 2002 Tii Stroker Is Prowling The Streets Of Los Angeles

This BMW 2002 Tii Stroker Is Prowling The Streets Of Los Angeles

By Ted Gushue
October 27, 2016

Photos By Hagop Kaladijan

I’ll admit I have a soft spot for 2002s. I think just about everyone does, especially orange ones. We featured Carter Kelly Kramer’s in the exceptionally well received film This BMW 2002 is a Carved Pumpkin, so when Los Angeles native John Robb dropped a line asking if we’d be interested in checking out his 2002 ‘stroker’, the answer was obvious.

Ted Gushue: Tell me the story of your 2002.

John Robb: Well I’d always been a Porsche guy. My first car was a 1968 911. I was 25 when I had that, that was the first car I ever bought that was my own. This was in England, then I had a ’68 911S, and then I sold that car at completely the wrong time and moved to New York. Lived there for five years and I still had the itch to get another classic.

Moved to Los Angeles, started looking at 911s, at which point the market had already gone absolutely nuts. So I thought, well I can buy a ratty 911T for $60-70k, so I started looking at 914-6s. I found one for sale, went round and saw it, shook on the sale, had it compression checked, there was a problem with cylinder 5, so that fell through. In a fit of disappointment I mistakenly went on Craigslist, saw this car and went up to the canyon where it lived to look at it. I had zero intention of buying it, and of course ended up buying it on the spot.

TG: So this is your first BMW?

JR: I’ve got two now, one is a project car that I’m building into an Alpina race car. Funny story, I actually ended up buying that 914-6 as well, as it turned out they screwed up the compression check and there was nothing wrong with it.

The Tii though, while I loved the car I found the engine to be a little underwhelming for whatever reason, so my intention was to sell it within a few months of buying it, but I met my now good friend Le Tran who runs the 2002 Garage Werks, which is out in Ontario, and I took the car to him and he started to talk me into a few things.

Next thing I know I’ve dropped a 5-speed conversion in, then we start talking about doing engine work. None of it really made sense financially. He didn’t talk me into it as much as I talked myself into it, and it kind of spiralled out of control from there.

I spend a hell of a lot of time over at 2002 Garage Werks, he’s teaching me stuff every time I go over there. When I’ve got this car I didn’t really know what I was getting into, and all of a sudden I’m stripping things down to bare metal and repainting it myself. Then I stripped the interior, took the whole thing down to bare metal, same with the bottom of the car. Welded up the holes, so it’s turned into a totally unintentional passion project.

So much of this has come out of my own childhood, my father and I never really shared a passion for cars. I always envied that because I never had that. In my mind I thought I might have missed the boat, you know, how am I ever gonna catch up to these people that have had a passion their entire lives. How am I going to learn? I would daydream at times where I would give up my job and offer to be an apprentice in a shop, and then I could go and learn, but I’d just love to do that.

TG: I think we’ve all had that feeling at some point, haven’t we?

JR: Absolutely.

TG: What’s it like to drive?

JR: It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s just a great-handling car. Out of the box, 2002s are great handling cars. I’ve got coilovers in the front, stiffer springs on the back, made it a little more squat, the subframe is reinforced, it handles really really well, corners on rails. Very similar feeling to my 914 for some reason, despite the engine being in a different place.

I know for a fact that I’ll never sell it.

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Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
5 years ago

The only BWM I would ever buy is an old BMW. They represent an era of focused cars before obsessive niche building and filling, and appealing to the ready-to-lease masses.

In my dream garage something like this would be parked next to an Autodelta Alfa Romeo GTv Bertone.

7 years ago

Beautiful 2002. Love the colour and it sits perfectly.

John Barlow
John Barlow
7 years ago

This looks to be a great car…. I hear there is a lot more to come on it. Le Tran is an enormously talented guy, with all the passion a vintage BMW guy could have!

I look forward to an update down the road!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Hey .. great car .. [ the only thing better in my less than humble opinion than a resto modded 2002 is a resto modded 356/911 ] .. great article … but errr .. them there technical gremlins is once again permeating the site … replacing letters with symbols [ e.g. £^itar&#inger ] etc. and making a general mess of things . Damn gremlins !

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