- Post is under moderationIt has been a long while since I last had an update on the E30 and to be honest, along with saving for a wedding and another non-BMW project I purchased at the end of last summer requiring unexpected attention, I have just been lacking motivation. Still, I did manage to fi t my new engine mount bushes. My two new bushes were ordered from Schmiedmann in Denmark, which is fantastic for BMW parts; I’m sure you could almost build a whole car from scratch with parts from its online catalogue.
/ #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #M10 / #BMW-M10
I ordered standard bushes and not uprated polyurethane or solid items for one main reason: the price. They cost me around £13 for the pair while poly or solid mounts would have set me back closer to £100, which I just couldn’t afford. Luckily after receiving my new mounts they appear to be slightly beefier from the original bushes currently on the car. Access to the mounts was easy on my #M10-engined model; once I had removed the air box and connected intake piping to access the passenger side mount, and put the steering rack on full lock to reach the bottom nut, a squirt of the always useful WD40 and the bolts were swiftly removed. To get the bushes out involved gently jacking up the engine to raise it away from the chassis, which was done with care as the risk of bending something or severing a pipe or wire was a possibility. As you can see from the side-by-side photos the old bushes were severely worn, probably the original items and much overdue a replacement. The new bushes have locating tabs so it was impossible to get them mounted incorrectly and the only stumbling block was having to jack the engine up further to fi t them in the same gap the compressed old ones came out of. Both sides in and tightened, it was time to fi re her up and see the difference and it was huge.
The lumpy idle from the Schrick cam is now supported much better and twist under load has been severely reduced. After taking her out for a short drive I can also confirm the issue I had last year whilst travelling to Le Mans of the exhaust hitting the floor has been cured, thanks to less movement from the engine mounts, so all in all a great bit of maintenance.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLife or Death in the Andes. We travel to Ecuador to discover how this #BMW-2002 was rescued from an ignominious fate and lovingly brought back to life. Words and photography: Robb Pritchard. A lovely 2002 that was saved from an ignominious end in Ecuador / #BMW-E10 / #BMW / #BMW-M10 / #1972 / #BMW-2002-E10 / #M10
The glacier-capped Cotopaxi volcano was obscured by clouds and the storm was coming in fast. “It was smoking this morning,” Alfredo smiled. This wasn’t some hardcore trekking expedition, though, but rather Alfredo Cevallos’ back garden. If I lived on the slopes of the biggest active volcano in the world I don’t think I would be so happy to see it so active! However, things in Ecuador are often a little different from what I am used to…
Alfredo is the owner of the stunning Schnitzer 3.0 CSi car we featured back in the March 2016 issue, but today I have come to see what he calls his little pride and joy: a pristine 1972 2002 which, considering he owns a Group 5 Batmobile, sounds a bit strange. This car has a personal story, though. Even though he knew it was not going to be an easy task he rescued this little beauty from the ignominious fate of being cut up and turned into a pick-up!
He came across it by accident while visiting a mechanic who was working on another car of his. While waiting for him one morning Alfredo wandered aimlessly around the back of the workshop and came across a very sad sight. Covered in graffiti, all the tyres flat, and grass and moss growing on it, it had clearly been abandoned for a long time. “He said that he was going to restore it, though, and I know he’s a great mechanic – which is why he was working on my car – so I assumed it would soon be joining us in the classic car club. I even suggested some places that he could get some new parts from. But then he said he was going to cut the roof off and make it into a pickup! Of course, I told him it would be crazy to destroy a beautiful classic car like that and I tried to convince him to keep it normal. He wouldn’t listen, though. I actually couldn’t sleep so well that night thinking about it, so in the morning I decided that I couldn’t let it happen and went back to buy it off him.”
At first he didn’t want to sell it and Alfredo had to go back a couple of times to persuade him. Eventually the mechanic let it go for $1000 and he went back with a winch truck to drag it onto a trailer to bring it home. But, as you might recall from the last feature, Ecuador is possibly the worst place in the world to restore a car. Bringing a dilapidated classic car up to scratch is definitely not something to do on a whim here. The unpopular government has had a decades old law forbidding all but brand-new cars and parts to be imported into the country so getting necessary pieces for a restoration across the border is about as easy as smuggling sausages into a vegetarian convention. Such projects are only taken on by people with serious amounts of disposable income and great connections with import officers.
Alfredo had never worked on a 2002 before so he had no idea how hard it would be to get parts but the first thing he did was to get the engine running because if the mechanical parts were in a bad condition it would be a very big and expensive job. It hadn’t run for at least six years so he filled the cylinders with diesel and rotated the crank slowly by hand. Amazingly, after just a few turns, everything looked to be turning freely. So he put a new battery on it, changed the oil, the filter, and the fuel and water pumps and then just turned the key. “When it fired up and ran it sounded like it was ready for 1000-mile trip so I knew that it wanted to live, that it was a survivor!” says Alfredo.
He put some plastic bags over the mouldy seats and drove it for a little while around the yard to see what the gearbox was like and, apart from an oil seal on the rear axle, it seemed mechanically fine. The brakes were beyond repair, though, so the whole system was replaced with parts he got from the BMW dealer in Quito. Those, it turned out, were the only parts he could get in Ecuador.
Over a few free evenings and weekends some friends came over to help strip the car down to a bare shell so it could be sandblasted and that’s where Alfredo had another pleasant surprise. The bodywork was in such good condition that only the floor panel on the driver’s side needed repairing. That was it. There was no rust, no filler anywhere, not even any places that had been repaired before. Unusually for Ecuador, it seemed that it had never been involved in an accident.
Despite the car being in such good condition on the outside, unfortunately there was no hope for the interior. This is where the main cost of the restoration came from as it all had to be imported from Germany. All the draconian import taxes and fees meant that the seats, carpet, headlining and door panels cost $6000. Another $1200 went on all the chromework as the previous owner had taken it all off and left it out to the elements which meant that everything was rusted and ruined. Fortunately Alfredo found some new parts in the USA that had been in stock for some 40 years just waiting for a needy 2002 to adorn. The chrome gleams like it is new because it is new.
Some of his friends tried to convince Alfredo to paint the car in a striking ‘sporty’ colour, such as bright yellow or orange, but he has the Schnitzer CSi to drive if he feels the need to be behind the wheel of something outrageous, so he wanted to go with something more classic. Agave green is the colour he chose, understated and dark so it shows off the chrome trim.
Something else that surprisingly withstood the test of time was the wiring. “I was ready to pull it all out and scrap it but it was much better than I imagined so I was careful to look after it during the rebuild,” Alfredo tells us. “The fuse box, most of the fuses, and all the loom is original.” Years of being exposed to the harsh Ecuadorian sun didn’t do much for the rubber so a new window trim and door seals also had to be ordered from Germany.
“For me this car is a real survivor and I saved it from being butchered with an angle grinder, so that gives me a really nice feeling of satisfaction when I drive it. It’s fast, manoeuvrable and easy to drive and although the CSi is the most fun to drive, I use that exclusively for shows and races. I drive the 2002, however, just for the joy of it.”
The wheels the car came with weren’t BMW ones so when Alfredo got a set of BBS for his 323i E21 he swapped the original Alpina ones over, which look great. The steering wheel is another slight personalisation. When he bought an original Italvolanti for the Schnitzer car he put the old Petri in the 2002, the one the previous owner of the CSi used in road races in the 1970s and 1980s.
Apart from the numerous incapable drivers and roads with some seriously impressive potholes there are a couple of other issues for running classic carburetted cars in Ecuador. As Quito is 3000 metres above sea level, when storms come the difference in atmospheric pressure is enough to have an effect on the running of engines. It was for this reason that there was a misfire. The car fires up with a bark of the glorious sounding exhaust note and we pull out of the yard. We look like flashback to simpler times.
Alfredo lives out in the distant suburbs and the road to his house hasn’t seen any maintenance crews for a long time yet the suspension copes with the bumps and holes – surprising considering that he didn’t change the springs or shocks. It seems that the car was very well looked after before it was abandoned. With the volcano hidden under the clouds and local buses hurtling past the ugly concrete church it perhaps wasn’t a great place for a photoshoot but then, looking across the deep valley, Alfredo points to the dark wall of water coming towards us, a few streaks of lightening ahead of it. “Nope,” he says, ushering me into the passenger seat. “We have to go back.” We speed back to the house, the thunder catching up with us, a few fat drops falling on the window as we turn into the driveway. We get under the porch roof just a moment before the rain really starts. This beautiful 2002 had many years of being left out in the elements so now it is looked after properly!
“It’s fast, manoeuvrable and easy to drive… I drive the 2002 just for the joy of it”
Above: The roads in this part of Ecuador aren’t up to all that but the restored 2002 copes with just about everything despite Alfredo not having renewed the shock absorbers and springs. Below: The 2002 was in a parlous state before Alfredo bought it and was going to be turned into a pick-up!
“He said he was going to cut the roof off and make it into a pick-up!”
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- Above: The roads in this part of Ecuador aren’t up to all that but the restored 2002 copes with just about everything despite Alfredo not having renewAbove: The roads in this part of Ecuador aren’t up to all that but the restored 2002 copes with just about everything despite Alfredo not having renewed the shock absorbers and springs. Below: The 2002 was in a parlous state before Alfredo bought it and was going to be turned into a pick-up! More ...
- Post is under moderationELECTRA IN BLUE
Tobias Guckel’s ’ #1973 2002 is a sublime retro road-racer with a keen focus on detail and a flawless finish. But it’s got rather more in the way of wheels than he’s used to… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photography: Ben Grna.
Electra Glide in Blue #BMW-2002
A glorious fast road 2002 with some choice upgrades.
Cliques and tribes have always characterised the car modifying scene. The always-on insta-connectivity of social media means that this behaviour has really been thrown into sharp focus of late, particularly given the ease with which clubs, groups, Facebook pages et al are able to corral their members into organising bustling club stands at car shows, but it’s really a behaviour that’s as old as the car itself. Ever since mankind first started nailing together automobiles as an alternative to horses, plucky young daredevils have been getting together to race them, and it’s this sort of tribe mentality that’s always fuelled automotive subcultures and, yes, counter-cultures too. Early hot rodders blew off steam in the wake of various wars and military tours by getting together to share their skills in the pursuit of going faster; NASCAR evolved from the criminal element’s enthusiasm for building super-fast sleepers for bootlegging purposes; boy racers in the 1990s glued fibreglass bumpers and neon lights to their mums’ hatchbacks for, er, some reason – whatever the motivation, petrolheads like to group together. Ask an Australian whether he’s a Ford man or a Holden guy, and watch how vitriolic he gets…
This behaviour is arguably most tangible in the biker world. Motorcyclists move in packs, and they’re fervently loyal to their crews. The poorly-punctuated Hells Angels are the obvious example, but there’s also the Bosozoku bikers of 1950s Japan, the Ton-Up Boys on the North Circular in the early days of the Ace Café, the mods vs. rockers scenario so keenly showcased in Quadrophenia… bikers play for keeps, and they stick to their own.
What, then, is the ultimate betrayal for a biker, the worst possible slap in the face for their gang, crew or brotherhood? Why, to expend their efforts on building a car, that’s what. Time that could be spent spannering a motorcycle, wasted on the pursuit of four-wheeled, tin-top treachery. Such behaviour is unforgivable… and that’s exactly what Tobias Guckel has done here, the outrageous gnarly rebel that he is.
This guy’s not just any common-or-garden weekend biker either, but the mastermind and powerhouse behind revered German custom bike shop TGS Motorcycles – a place that hand-crafts Harleys, choppers, bobbers, and retro café racers of such delectable physical beauty that even people with no interest in bikes can’t help but drool a little. So what does such a vehicular traitor create, then?
What manner of motor car can present sufficient lure and promise to pull an ardent biker from his leathers? Well, the pictures have probably already given you a clue. It’s a 1973 BMW 2002ti (ignore the tii badge on the boot, that’s more an artful affectation than anything. The slurp and gurgle of a pair of juicy Weber 45s is enough to reinforce this fact for you). So why this one, why now?
“When I was a kid, my grandma and grandpa had a gas station where I used to hang out,” Tobias reminisces, “and in the Seventies and early-Eighties there were always souped-up 2002s coming in to refuel, and they left a lasting impression on me. I was usually leafing through rally magazines too, and they always had Alpina ’02s inside. Fast-forward to the Nineties and I was looking for a sporty car; there were three specific ones that I was considering – the 2002, the 105-Series Alfa Romeo, or the NSU TT. I bought plenty of 2002 books and so on for research, but after visiting a number of mountain races I decided that the NSU was the car for me – it was the most extraordinary of the three, so I bought and restored one, and that was that.” Ah. Okay, that wasn’t quite the outcome we were expecting, but nil desperandum – the vision in blue and white that’s splayed before our lens today suggests in obvious manner that the NSU wasn’t the end of the story.
“The ’02 always remained in the back of my mind,” Tobias confirms. “I just had a nagging sense that I’d missed out on something. So a few years ago I started looking for a 1970s sports car; the general criteria being that it needed to have at least a 2.0-litre displacement and be rear-wheel drive – of course, I was looking for a 2002 all along.”
Having set himself a rough budget of around €4000-6000, Tobias soon discovered that what this price-point would buy him was, at best, an example with a few question marks hanging over it. But this wasn’t necessarily an impediment; as the skill and craftsmanship displayed throughout the online gallery of TGS Motocycles’ website suggests, tearing down old metal and building it up into a fabulous new sheen is what Tobias does best. So without too much procrastination, he set about rolling up his sleeves, exorcising a few demons of the past, and making that childhood dream finally come true.
“I found this car in the Franconian region,” he says. “In all honesty the car wasn’t that bad as a base, but it was never going to be good enough, whatever it was like – my plan was always to make it perfect. What followed was a case of disassembly, partial restoration, modification, and fresh new paint!” It looks splendid too. The Chamonix white paint really helps the crisp lines of the 2002 pop, making it look somehow oddly contemporary, while the custom graphics neatly evoke the content of those rally magazines that were so central to Tobias’s youth.
“Cars of the 1960s and ’70s are just right up my street,” he grins. “Purity of engineering, with none of those electronic distractions.” And it’s this quest for purity that informed the direction of the build; while it’s by no means an overt concours pursuit, this ’02 has certainly taken a different direction from the extravagant builds of the TGS bike workshop. It’s very much a case of evolution, not revolution. Look under the bonnet, for example, and you’ll find the correct 2.0-litre M10 motor in situ, cheerfully guzzling through its brace of Weber 45DCOEs, while inside lurks a hot 304° cam beneath a ported and polished head; electronic ignition sits in deference to his keenness for old-school ways – hey, it just makes sense. All of which allows him to enjoy this steerfrom- the-rear mischief in the classic way.
“The driving emotion is pure 1970s,” he laughs. “There’s a faint smell of oil and gasoline in the interior, which is just the way it should be, the sound insulation’s gone so you can hear everything that’s going on – the driving dynamics are very satisfactory, you feel like a lead-foot driver from the Seventies!” We certainly don’t doubt the engagement levels, as there’s all sorts of classic box-ticking in the chassis to ensure a hedonistic thrill-ride at every turn of the key.
Hiding behind those oh-so-period 14-inch BBS rims you’ll find proper adjustable Bilsteins and ti-spec brakes – none of your modern, new-fangled accoutrements here. This car’s underbelly has been Xeroxed in from a period race track adventure, and the interior backs this up with alacrity: huggy buckets, a cute three-spoke wheel, the battery relocated to the boot – all fit-for-purpose stuff, pleasing to the eye as well as the sense of historical correctness.
Aha, but it’s not all as period-perfect as it seems. Tobias is, after all, a fervent and unstoppable modifier at heart, and you’ll find custom touches appearing throughout the ’02. The most obvious is the stereo install – featuring heavily within the interior, perhaps as a sort of noisy riposte to his everyday biker creds. Motorbikes don’t tend to have stereos, unless you’re wafting about on a Honda GoldWing, so he’s grasped the opportunity with both hands, fitting a classicallystyled (but ultra-modern) Caliber head unit and stuffing the car with Pioneer speakers. Because Tobias likes to ruffle a few feathers. It’s the biker in him. His kidney grilles are aggressively blacked out, his racing stripe is deliberately wonky and his bumpers are absent because who needs ’em?
Will the bikers forgive him then, do you think? This whole exercise is a waved pair of fingers to his twowheeled brethren, surely? Ah, but life’s too short to worry about that. Tobias knows which side his bread is buttered. “The bikes are my business, they’ve always been my focus,” he says. “But would I build a car like this for a customer? Yes… I probably would if I had time, and if it was interesting enough…” This car, then, is an olive branch. A bridge between two disparate worlds. The fact that it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful is something we can just take as a bonus.
“The driving dynamics are very satisfactory, you feel like a lead-foot driver from the Seventies!”
“It was never going to be good enough, whatever it was like – my plan was always to make it perfect”
TECHNICAL DATA: #BMW-2002 / #BMW / #M10 / #BMW-M10 / #BBS /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: M10 2.0-litre fourcylinder, twin- #Weber-45-DCOE carbs, 304° cams, ported and polished head, Turbo exhaust system, electronic ignition, five-speed manual
CHASSIS: 6x14-inch BBS with 185/60 Dunlop SP Sports, adjustable Bilsteins / , ti-spec brakes, front strut brace
EXTERIOR: Chamonix white, custom graphics by #TGS-Motorcycles , debumpered
INTERIOR: Sparco bucket seats, three-spoke steering wheel, Caliber retro-style stereo, Pioneer speakers, battery relocated to boot
Tii badge is a misnomer as this ’02 drinks through a pair of Weber carbs; period BBS wheels with gold centres look superb.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationULTIMATE MODIFIED BMW
Stunning 800whp turbo M10-powered 2002 is like a gift from the gods…
With an astonishing 800whp from its turbo’d M10, this wild 2002 is about as quick as any sane person would want to travel. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Christos Karagiorgakis.
2002: A PACE ODYSSEY
Think of Greece and you will no doubt think of crisp, white houses sitting before the bluest sea you’ve ever seen, beautiful beaches, and delicious food. Perhaps what you won’t think of is modified BMWs. However, having been to Greece on many previous BMW-based visits, we can tell you that there are some serious machines scattered across the country. And this right here might just be the most serious piece of German modified machinery that Greece has to offer. It belongs to Stavros Panagopoulos, who has owned it for ten years. This was, in fact, his very first #BMW : a humble 1602 that he found for sale near his house. As you can probably tell, it’s changed a bit since then…
Stavros says he entered into ’02 ownership with plans to make the diminutive classic just a little bit faster. And while he’s certainly achieved his end goal, and then some, he didn’t embark on a journey of turbocharged madness from the off; there were at least two slightly more sensible stages prior to what you see here. Things started off normally enough, with the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine enhanced with twin side draft 40 carbs. And that was fine, but not quite enough for Stavros’s liking. So Stage two was a bit more dramatic. The original engine was deemed not quite large enough so it was removed and in its place went a more powerful 2.0, its potency ramped-up considerably with the addition of a 300-degree camshaft, Weber 48 DCOE carbs, MSD Ignition components, and a selection of other sexy engine enhancements. That’s pretty solid and we wager the car (that was now by definition a 2002) must have been a whole load of fun to drive and a massive step up over how it felt originally. And then something happened: Stavros decided that what he really wanted was an 800whp turbo conversion. Because, sometimes, that’s just what you need in your life…
As you might imagine, making that sort of underbonnet magic happen takes more than a little bit of work and the engine spec list reads like a who’s who of the performance tuning scene. It’s thorough and it’s glorious. It’s the modified BMW enthusiast’s equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey…
Step one, you’ve got to get your engine choice down. Stavros opted for the sturdy M10, which served as the basis for BMW’s insane turbocharged M12 motorsport engine as well as the S14, so it’s certainly up to the task of coping with a spot of turbocharging.
But the example nestling under this ’02’s bonnet is very far removed from your common-or-garden M10, as you might have guessed. There’s a lot in the engine bay, so much so that you can barely even see the engine, but if it looks impressive from the outside, there’s plenty to get excited about on the inside, too. 89mm CP forged pistons have been fitted, along with Carrillo forged rods, a custom reprofiled camshaft from Boubis Cams, and #VAC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs. Somewhere within the engine bay (you’ll have to take our word for it because it’s buried deep beneath seemingly endless pipework) sits the very core of all that power: an absolutely gigantic #Garrett-GTX4202R-turbo . This beast of a snail is rated up to 1150hp so Stavros has plenty of headroom, running as he is at around the 900hp mark, should he ever decide that’s not quite enough. This is useful, actually, as his next goal is to hit 1000hp…
When it came to getting everything squeezed into the engine bay, custom is most definitely the word of the day: the turbo feeds a HPS custom intake manifold via a suitably massive front-mounted intercooler and sits on a custom exhaust manifold that connects up to a custom exhaust with an external wastegate that exits through the sill just behind the passenger side front wheel.
The exhaust manifold and the turbo housing itself have both been treated to a Zircotec ceramic coating. Stavros has also had massive Bosch Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors fitted to supply enough fuel to keep the engine happy, along with a custom HPS oil pan. The whole lot is looked after by an Autronic SM4 stand-alone ECU.
Seeing as no one involved in the designing and construction of the ’02 family could ever have imagined that someone in the distant future would attempt to pass somewhere in the region of 900hp through the compact runabout, Stavaros has had to go to town on the transmission and chassis to ensure it didn’t tear itself to pieces. The gearbox is a five-speed manual Getrag unit from the E28 535i mated to a custom twin-plate clutch that can handle the immense amount of power and torque being developed by the engine, with an E34 M5 rear axle tasked with transferring everything to the rear tyres. On the suspension front, this 2002 has been fitted with E36 M3 underpinnings, including subframes and wishbones, with #KW coilovers up front and Bilstein dampers at the back. While it doesn’t take much to stop a car as small and light as a 2002, stopping one that’s travelling at close to the speed of sound does require something a little more substantial, and this example certainly doesn’t mess about. Up front sit AP Racing Galfer four-pot calipers clamping 305mm vented discs. The rear setup is no less substantial, with another set of AP Racing four-pot calipers wrapped around slightly smaller 255mm vented discs.
When it came to the exterior Stavros decided to keep things relatively subtle in as much that a casual observer might not be aware of what’s been changed but, at the same time, it’s clear that this 2002 is far from standard. It’s actually about as aggressive as a 2002 can really get. The biggest difference are those pumped-up arches, complete with sill extensions that fill out the flanks. They give the normally unassuming classic some real road presence. Having the wastegate exiting through the sill certainly doesn’t hurt, and neither does that fat, single-tipped exhaust pipe. Of course, fitting wide arches is one thing, having suitable wheels that are substantial enough to fill them is another matter entirely but Stavros’ choice definitely doesn’t disappoint, though it might raise a few eyebrows. He’s taken the classic cross-spoke look that sits so well with the 2002 and turned it on its head with a set of decidedly modern Work VS-XXs.
The 17” wheels are positively huge on the compact classic but they look fantastic, really filling out those big arches, especially with the car dropped low over the fat rubber. Even parts of the body that may look stock aren’t. For example, the bonnet and boot might appear to be relatively standard, bar the pins and catches, but they are both carbon fibre items, with twin fuel fillers on the rear deck for the bootmounted alloy fuel cell. The one thing the 2002 isn’t is heavy, so adding carbon panels and reducing the already low weight further still means that, with 800whp on tap, this car is absolutely insane – just in case you hadn’t gathered that already!
With a build like this the interior could go a number of ways: hardcore, stripped-out; stock and subtle; or, option three, custom, luxurious but still decidedly sporty – which is exactly what Stavros has gone for. The interior is dominated by those gorgeous Recaro A8 seats and both they, the rear seats, the doorcards, the steering wheel centre section, the gear gaiter and the handbrake have all been covered in the same delicious shade of caramel leather.
Something that’s easier to miss is the custom alloy roll-cage; it’s so well-integrated that, while you can clearly see the rear diagonal support, the sections that penetrate the dashboard (down into the footwell) and the rear parcel shelf are much more discreet.
Up front, the gauge cluster has been replaced with an AIM MXL digital racing dash while the centre console now resembles the flight deck of an aircraft rather than a car. Where the central air vents would have once been there now sits a quartet of custom-mounted GReddy exhaust temperature gauges and below that another custom panel that houses a Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer and fuel gauge and, finally, down in front of the illuminated gear lever, you’ll find a pair of GReddy pressure gauges.
We’ve featured some pretty wild 2002s over the years but this example might just ‘take the cake’. It’s an utterly incredible machine and we’re a little bit in love with it. We love how the custom wide-arches give the little 2002 a broad, square stance. We love the interior, with its blend of modern tech, race components and gorgeous leather. And we really love the engine; we doubt you’ll see a more complicated engine bay, there’s just so much stuffed under the bonnet. And to come away with 800whp from such a small engine and to have it at your disposal in such a small, lightweight car is utterly insane and, well, we love that too.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-2002-Turbo / #Garrett-GTX4202 R / #Garrett / #BMW-2002 / #M10-Turbo / #Getrag / #BMW / #BMW-2002-800bhp /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / , CP forged pistons, #Carrillo forged rods, #Boubis-Cams custom reprofiled camshaft, #AC-Motorsports valves, rocker arms, valve guides and valve springs, Garrett GTX4202R turbo with Zircotec ceramic-coated housing, #Zircotec ceramiccoated custom exhaust manifold, external wastegate, custom exhaust system, #HPS custom intake manifold, #Bosch-Motorsport 1600cc/min injectors, #HPS custom oil pan, #Autronic #Autronic-SM4 stand-alone ECU, Autronic ignition, #Getrag fivespeed manual E28 535i gearbox, custom twin disc clutch kit
CHASSIS 7.5x17” (front and rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 205/40 (front) Yokohama AVS Sport and 245/45 (rear) Dunlop SP Sport MAXX tyres, E36 M3 subframe, wishbones etc, #KW coilover kit (front), #Bilstein dampers (rear), E34 M5 rear axle, #AP-Racing Galfer four-pot calipers with 305mm vented discs (front) and AP Racing four-pot calipers with 255mm vented discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre boot, custom wide-arch conversion
INTERIOR Custom alloy roll-cage by Ilias Makropoulos, #Recaro A8 seats, rear seats, doorcards, steering wheel centre section, gear gaiter and handbrake finished in caramel leather, illuminated M gear knob, AIM MXL digital racing dash, custom-mounted #GReddy exhaust temperature gauges, pressure gauges, Daemon boost gauge, A’Pexi turbo timer, alloy fuel cell
Engine looks monstrously complicated, and it is, with a huge amount of custom work at every turn and a gigantic #Garrett-GTX402R turbo buried deep within.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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Wonderful 1800 Ti/SA race car.
The Phoenix BMW 1800 Ti/SA. When BMW wanted to go Touring Car racing in the ‘60s it chose to use the wonderful Neue Klasse. When campaigning a car as obscure as the 1800 Ti/SA, you can’t let something as trivial as a massive, terrifying accident set you back. Especially when your whole racing career is founded on a bedrock of dreams… Words: Dan Bevis. Photography: Chris Frosin and BMW Classic.
The world of historic racing has never been as rich, vibrant, and downright popular as it is right now. Cheerful, cherry-cheeked crowds descend upon Goodwood en masse for the annual Revival, clad in tweed and chiffon (not generally at the same time, but don’t rule anything out), their engorged numbers comfortably eclipsing anything you’ll find at any contemporary race meet – Formula One included. And the Revival is just one event; there’s also the Masters Historic series, the Silverstone Classic, and all manner of others. You can see more 1960s and ’70s race cars haring about now than you could back when they were current. The spectating public just can’t get enough.
One of the highlights of the Revival for us is the classic Touring Cars; in particular the BMW 1800 Ti/SA racers. These are unusual and befuddling little poppets, generally erroneously identified as 2002s until people spot the extra doors and squared-off tails, whereupon much headscratching ensues. The reason for this is pretty simple: the 1800 Ti/SA is sufficiently rare to make a chicken’s bridgework seem comparatively abundant.
These were fancy-pants models campaigned in the mid-1960s, using the 1800 Ti road car as a base – ‘SA’ stands for ‘Sonder Ausführung’, or ‘special version’. And it is just that. The revvy M10 motor produced an extra 20hp over stock – a heady total of 130hp – thanks to its juicy twin- #Weber-45DCOE carbs, counter-weighted crankshaft, big valves, 10.5:1 compression ratio, and competition cams. The chassis was beefed up with quicker steering, thicker anti-roll bars, bigger front discs and hubs, and an over-arching frisson of good times and mischief. Hubert Hahne won the German National Championship in one in #1964 , and then came second in the Spa 24-Hours with Rauno Aaltonen co-driving. These were serious cars and just 200 of them were ever built, only being sold to licensed racers and bona fide teams.
This particular one has been catching our collective BMW Car eye with its alluring chequerboard stripes for some time, and we caught up with it at Goodwood to capture a few images in its native habitat without either hordes of admiring fans or a gaggle of oily mechanics swarming around it. Scrubs up pretty well, doesn’t it? And you may be interested to note that its owner and driver is the author Peter James. That’s right, he of the Roy Grace detective novels; winner of copious awards and relentless smasher of bestseller lists the world over. This old BMW, it seems, is rather a refreshing way to unwind.
“Ever since the first Goodwood Revival, I dreamed of racing in this event,” Peter reminisces, a whimsical smile playing about the lips, “but first I needed to get a race licence and an eligible car. I read years ago that Paul Newman got his race licence at the age of 50, so I decided that when I hit 50, if I didn’t already have a licence by then I would damned well get one!”
Admirable sentiment indeed. So with the half-century milestone achieved, Peter duly received a call from a mate offering a drive in a Citroën 2CV in a 24-hour race at Snetterton – a cosmic act of serendipity. The catch was that it was just eight weeks away and neither he nor his pal, Peter Rigg, had race licences.
“We got them just in time, and I remember my terror the first time I drove out on to the circuit!” he laughs. “We raced 2CVs for the next six years, during which period Peter had less and less time due to business commitments and other demands on him, and I began racing with another very experienced 2CV and Renault Clio driver, Andre Severs.” This proved to be another turning point, as Peter and Andre set their sights on entering the Le Mans 24- Hour as privateers. Quite a step up, right? But you’ve probably spotted that Mr James enjoys a challenge…
“We realised we needed to build up experience with faster cars, so we campaigned a Honda Accord Touring Car, and then the ex-Jason Plato SEAT Toledo in the BritCar series,” Peter explains. “In 2012 while I was away in the US, Andre had a massive accident at Oulton Park, breaking his neck and his back in two places. He’s fine now, fortunately, and back racing – but at the time was told he must never race again!” A definite a setback all-round, of course, and while all this was going on, Peter had been receiving tuition from former Mini and Metro champion Paul Taft, who suggested that historic racing might be more fun and less high-pressured than the modern tin-tops. This struck a chord with Peter, resonating with his longstanding aspirations for Goodwood glory, and so in January 2013 Paul introduced Peter to a chap named Richard Shaw at Laranca Engineering, the Solihullbased historic ‘commission to completion’ outfit. Richard races a Ti/SA himself, and just so happened to have a couple of similar cars for sale, and this – in combination with a successful introduction for Peter to Lord March, who was delighted by the idea of a James/BMW/Revival combo – is what sparked the tinderbox.
“When I saw this white car, with black and white chequering on it, I was smitten!” says Peter. “Not only did it look gorgeous in this livery, it was virtually a ‘new’ car, having had a nut-and-bolt rebuild at Laranca, as well as having some competition history – it won a number of races back in the late 1960s and ’70s. It also had a massively robust roll-cage which, apart from making the car really stiff and tight, was a big safety bonus – something for which I was to be very grateful just a few months later…”
Followers of Peter’s career will no doubt be aware of what he’s alluding to here – there was, ahem, an incident at Brands Hatch which resulted in the straight-as-an-arrow Ti/SA finishing the day in rather a different shape. Grit your teeth, as Peter painfully casts his mind back: “My co-driver for the race was Paul Taft. In qualifying, he put the car on P1 and we then had a long discussion about which of us would start the race. He felt that I should as it was my car, and that to start on pole would give me experience. I told him that with my lack of experience it would be hard, if not impossible, to maintain a lead. We then finally agreed on a strategy: I would start the race, do my best to defend our position, but knowing I would be letting some quicker drivers through – Paul would then jump in at the driver change and do his best to make up any ground I had lost.
“I made a good start, but the car seemed a little down on power; as I came around towards Paddock Hill bend at the end of the first lap, at around 120mph I noticed a Lotus Cortina gaining on me and aiming to go inside. I moved over, closing the corner, but he didn’t back off and tapped the right rear wing as I turned in. With the rear being unweighted as I was braking, the car spun sideways – the front wheels caught the apex kerb and the car launched into the air at around 90mph, flipping over and then bouncing on its roof, finally rolling into the gravel on the far side of the circuit quite a way down the hill, and righting itself. I ended up with three broken ribs, a bruised spleen, three slipped discs, and a damaged right wrist carpal tunnel, which required surgery. Very fortunately I was wearing a HANS – something Paul had insisted on a couple of years earlier. Without it, I’m not sure I would be here.” Harrowing stuff indeed, and if you’re not too squeamish you can see the crash in its full horror on Peter’s YouTube channel, at www.peterjames.com/youtube The damage, as you can probably imagine, was extensive. £37,000-worth of extensive, in fact, with the car requiring an improbable amount of fresh steel and straightening. It’s testament to Laranca’s skills and fastidiousness that the car is as flawless as you see it today; this was no remedial patch-up job, but rather an opportunity to take the Ti/SA back to first principles and build it back up as a perfect example of the breed. Classic, as original as possible, but better than new.
Before long, much to Peter’s unfettered joy, his dream of driving at the Revival was realised – with Steve Soper sharing the drive, no less. “That was very special, he’s a true hero to so many,” beams Peter with his trademark infectious smile. “We got a terrific reception, and an amazing reaction from the crowd. Steve finished fifth in the St Mary’s Trophy Part 1 and I, having spun whilst lying in 12th, managed 20th – we got tenth place overall. One nice bonus is that Steve and his wife Louise have become good friends of mine. I’ve subsequently raced each year at Donington, Brands, Silverstone, and the Revival again last year, 2015, where I co-drove with Amanda Stretton – we got 15th overall.”
From what must have been a savage low point, a dream car reduced to a battered tangle of despair, such successes come as rare and refreshing fruit to Peter. The Ti/SA, rich in competition history, continues to amuse and delight, all in-keeping with its history and character – and the frightening wreckage has, in a sense, further forged the bond: “I love this car, and have a particular affection for it as it really did look after me in what was a pretty massive accident,” Peter enthuses. “My wife, Lara, has recently got her ARDS race licence – currently she’s racing our Fiat Abarth Evocation and Austin A35, but once she’s built up enough points to get her International licence, I hope to take the BMW to races in continental Europe; Spa, Dijon, Monza, and Paul Ricard are among the circuits I hope to be racing at in the future. Closer to home, I’ll be racing at Thruxton, Castle Combe and Donington this year.” And so it goes, in a relentless cycle of oldtimey entertainment and halcyon thrills. Proof indeed that when your dreams come true, there’s little that can hold you back…
“I love this car, it really did look after me in what was a pretty massive accident…”
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-1800Ti-SA / #BMW-1800Ti / #BMW / #M10 / #BMW-M10 / #M10B18 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 1.8-litre M10 four-cylinder, twin- #Weber 45DCOE carbs, counter-weighted crankshaft, big valves, 10.5:1 compression ratio, competition cams, five-speed #Getrag dog-leg ’box, LSD
CHASSIS: 14-inch Minilites with Dunlop CR65 5.50M-14 crossply control tyres, front discs and rear drums, lowered and uprated suspension
EXTERIOR: All-steel, debumpered, chequerboard graphics
INTERIOR: Stripped, FIA weld-in roll-cage, gauge/switch panel with Stack dials mounted ahead of original gauges, OMP steering wheel on snap-off boss, Sparco driver seat and Recaro passenger seat with race harnesses
THANKS: Huge thanks to Richard Shaw and Vic Ingram at Laranca Engineering. They and their whole team are brilliant – highly efficient and always supportive and fun to be with
“When I saw this white car, with black and white chequering on it, I was smitten!”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFULL-ON ’02 Classic beauty boasts race-spec M10 power
SITTING PRETTY Race-spec M10-powered ’02
It’s easy to get carried away with getting your car’s stance spot-on, with achieving that perfect look but, as this flawless ’02 demonstrates, sometimes form just follows function… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Seb Mol.
Stance. That’s a tricky word, isn’t it? A loaded buzzword that, in recent times, has become an allencompassing way of life for some and anathema to others. Vast swathes of modifiers devote every waking hour to calculating with millimetric precision how the lips of their new rims will kiss their arches just-so, while others merely look on appalled, using words like ‘ruined’ and ‘pointless’. This game wouldn’t be any fun if everyone was playing by the same rules, though, would it? Diversity is what motivates us and we’re sure that’s the case for you too. And today we’re taking it old-school.
We thumbed through our dog-eared and crumbling copy of the Oxford English Dictionary to help determine the embodiment of stance and came up with two timeless definitions: first, ‘the position or bearing of the body while standing; posture’. And second, there were no words, just a photo of this silver ’02. Really, there was. It’s a pretty strange dictionary, to be honest, but a handy one to have kicking about the office.
Now, language evolves by virtue of how it’s used, that’s obvious – this is why you can use the phrase ‘totes amaze’ in Facebook comments without the enraged spirit of Shakespeare rising up and jabbing you in the eye with his quivering quill – but today we’re looking back to a time when ‘stance’ was synonymous with race car aggression and purposeful squat. Not pan-scraping lows but the sort of taut gait that suggests a peppy up-and-at-’em attitude and a no-nonsense approach to clipping apexes and dominating straights. This 1502 is effectively a 1970s race car with numberplates.
It’s the brainchild of a shadowy German figure going only by the name of Patrick. (We suspect that he’s like Shakira or Voltaire, an enigmatic entity in and of himself. We’re reticent to ask, he’s just so focused on the car that he’s positively exuding waves of Bavarian eagerness.) “I modify all cars,” Patrick tells us, matter-of- factly, with that economy of words that’s so peculiarly Teutonic. “My first was a Fiesta XR2i, followed by a #BMW E30 Cabriolet, a Toyota MR2, another E30 Cab, an E36 Cab, an E46 M3, and now a Porsche 964.” Pretty strong list there, we can see a clear path of stepping stones from zero to hero (not saying that the XR2i is a zero per se, but… y’know) with each step appearing stronger than the last. So where does this shiny silver ’02 fit in?
“Well, it was about ten years ago and I was looking for an old, small, rear-wheel drive car,” Patrick explains. And then he unexpectedly breaks character, his face cracking into a broad smile. “I wanted to have some fun. An NSU TT? No. But a BMW ’02? Most definitely yes!”
There you go, there doesn’t really need to be any greater motivation than that. Fans of retro saloons will always effusively wax lyrical about the merits of the ’02-series over its contemporary rivals – it has proper suspension instead of cart springs, for starters – so there’s no better base for an old-school project. And the mononymous Patrick was planning to keep it old-school through-and-through. “I was looking for a car just like this,” he grins. “The body was okay, the engine was… well, it was too small, but I had a vision in my head for something better. The suspension? That was pretty horrible but two days after buying it I’d replaced it all!” This is a man who gets things done. So let’s dive in and see just what he was up to.
Under the bonnet, replacing the car’s original 1500 motor is a spankingly refreshed 2.0-litre M10, tuned the oldfashioned way. Regular readers will have enjoyed ’02s in these pages in the recent past sporting Honda S2000 motors or E30 S14s, but this right here is the archetypal traditional racer approach: twin-Weber 45s for maximum juiciness, forged Mahle pistons, spiky cams, lightened and polished internals, trick valve gear – the works. It rocks an uprated radiator and oil cooler, and there’s also an Alpina fuelling system comprising long-range tank and twin pumps. Hanging off the back of all of this retro splendour is the bullish five-speed cogswapper from an E30 M3 Sport Evo, along with a short-shifter and a lightweight flywheel to keep Patrick constantly and firmly believing that he’s nailing it around Monza in 1975. Which he might as well be. This thing’s a little time warp.
“I built up the engine over the winter season,” he says. “I also fitted the rear axle and braking setup from a 2002 Turbo. There’s a 4.11 diff with 75% locking and a diff cooler with an additional tank. And the front axle’s been fully reinforced in the style of the period Works rally cars.” All very fit for purpose, and you’ll have no doubt noted that all of this mechanical excellence is neatly wrapped up in a gloriously straight-and- true shell. “Every modification on the car was carried out by me,” says Patrick, rightly proud, “aside from the paintwork, which was done by a friend of mine. Like I say, the body was in pretty good condition, and now it’s all flawlessly finished in silver, including the underside.” It’s the sort of finish that you sometimes happen across on showgrounds, where effusive owners have placed mirrors around the car to give you a cheeky ‘upskirt’ view of the car’s shiny underbelly. And while Patrick was cleaning up the bowels of the build he took the time to galvanise and powdercoat the axles, too.
Belt and braces, and so on. But don’t go thinking he’s one of these showground concours buffers – he built this car to be used, and used hard. Just check out the interior for evidence of this…
“It’s fully stripped-out. There’s no carpet or sound deadening or anything like that,” he points out. It’s impressive to note, however, that this isn’t just some functional track build, all rough edges and sticky patches: the interior is just as clean as the underside, every inch of it looks freshly stamped and exquisitely clean, like being in the belly of some vast robot. The Heigo roll-cage is a statement of fortitude, squeezing in around the race seats and harnesses and joined by a few oh-so-period accoutrements – the Alpina steering wheel, for example, and supplementary Alpina gauges. It’s a riot of retro race intent.
And so we must return to that issue of stance. How has Patrick managed to get this car sitting so perfectly? The answer, somewhat unsurprisingly, is that form follows function; it looks good because it is good. “The original suspension was in a pretty horrible state. I really have no words for how bad it was,” Patrick shudders. “But now it’s wearing custom Bilstein coilovers with uniball camber plates.” The wheels are the classic BBS RS design – chosen here not because it’s a scene-darling rim but simply because it makes sense for a retro BMW to have retro BBS wheels – staggered in fitment and running just enough sidewall to hint at formidableness on the track while also slightly irking the classic car purists.
Wherever you look on, in or around this 1502, you find aesthetics that just make sense – everything about it bristles with quintessential rightness. The engine bay is resplendent in snaking silver hoses, fruity carbs and boisterous blue cam cover; the interior shimmies to the rhythm of 1970s testosterone battles at Spa and Zandvoort; the exterior, while unadorned, exudes just the right amount of purpose to suggest that you’re only a set of race number decals away from the grid. It all adds up to a thing of greatness.
“When I drive this car, everybody seems to like it,” says Patrick, entirely understandably. “Wherever I look, I see smiling people. There’s only one problem, though… you can’t drive the car slowly, and the police don’t smile!” We don’t doubt it. But with a car this good-looking, we’re sure they can find it in their hearts to forgive. Patrick may have adopted one or two of the trappings of that modern, ethereal notion of ‘stance’, but it’s all simply an offshoot from his pursuit of vintage road-racer perfection. Everything here is exactly as it should be. It is race car stance. It is its own entity. And that commands a lot of respect.
Race-spec M10 boasts forged Mahle pistons, 316 cams, lightened and polished rods and Weber 45 carbs.
Interior has been fully stripped-out and fitted with Bimarco seats and Heigo roll-cage while the boot houses the Alpina race fuel tank, catch tank and twin pumps
TECHNICAL DATA FILE 2.0-swapped #BMW-1502 / #BMW / #BMW-M10 / #M10 / #BMW / #BMW-Typ-114 / #BMW-1502-Typ-114 / #BBS-RS / #BBS / #Weber
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION Race-spec 2.0-litre M10, forged #Mahle pistons, 316 cams, #Weber-45 carburettors, lightened and polished rods, titanium valve seats, polished rocker arms, 47mm inlet valves; 38mm exhaust valves, highperformance oil cooler, aluminium race radiator, E30 M3 sump, Alpina race fuel tank, catch tank and twin fuel pumps, E30 M3 Sport Evo five-speed gearbox with short-shift, lightweight flywheel, E30 M3 clutch
CHASSIS 7x15” ET16 (front) and 8x15” ET18 (rear) #BBS RS wheels with 195/45 tyres (front and rear), custom #Bilstein coilovers with uniball camber plates, 2002 Turbo rear axle and brakes, 4.11 diff with 75% lock, diff cooler with additional pump, reinforced rallystyle front axle, Alpina anti-roll bar
EXTERIOR De-bumpered front, full respray in silver including underside, axles galvanised and powdercoated
INTERIOR Stripped, #Bimarco race seats, Sabelt harnesses, #Alpina steering wheel, Heigo aluminium roll-cage, battery relocated to interior, Alpina gaugesStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLITTLE MONSTER TURBO’D E21 320i
With a turbo strapped to its 2.0-litre M10, this E21 makes a healthy 190hp and looks great with it. This little E21 looks fairly unassuming, but that bonnet scoop suggests something a bit tasty underneath. Oh yes, we’ve got a turbo! Words: Iain Curry. Photos: Max Earey.
What is it with BMW and not turbocharging its petrol models? The company basically pioneered turbos on production cars with the beautiful 2002 Turbo in 1974, but what since? Well, there was the rather strange 1980s E23 7 Series with 3.2-litre or 3.5-litre KKK turbo’d engine available (badged 745i for some reason), and er, that’s it. So, is it any wonder we’re seeing more and more private tuners and modifiers producing the forced induction vehicles BMW didn’t?
From our many visits to Scandinavia it has become apparent that the older BMW engines are the easier ones to strap a turbo to. Less electronic nonsense to fuss around with it seems, and these old blocks appear to be practically bulletproof. Seeing E30s with turbocharged M20 or transplanted S38 M5 engines is not uncommon in these Nordic lands, but it is still a rarity to see an E21 with its original M10 or M60 engine boosted.
For that we have had to travel a little further afield than Sweden or Norway, to a dusty mountain road high above Los Angeles. Here I meet a young modding enthusiast named Attila Acs and his 1978 320i. “I never really saw too many E21s that had been turbocharged,” the Californian said, “and I thought it would be different. And also because I want a fast car.”
Okay, so this little E21 isn’t pumping out the sort of crazy horsepower figures we’ve witnessed in Sweden of late, but Attila’s car is a genuine everyday driver. Besides, an estimated 190bhp and 200lb ft of torque at the flywheel is certainly a healthy performance leap over the standard E21 320i. “It’s very hard to pull those kind of performance numbers from such an old car,” Attila continued. “Especially from one with mechanical (K-Jet), and not electronic fuel injection.”
With the help of his father, a mechanic, Attila has stayed pretty true to BMW’s original spec for the 320i. The 2.0-litre fourcylinder M10 engine remains – it just now has a Garrett T3 turbocharger in place that was never offered from the factory. And we all like a bit of forced induction.
You could consider this turbo evolution as a natural progression for Attila’s E21. It was owned from new by a family friend in Hungary, they had it shipped to the US, and then Attila’s parents bought it from them in 1994. On turning 16 Attila was given the car, and he openly admits it wasn’t really his thing at first. “I had contemplated selling it,” he said, “but before long I fell in love with her and started to make small modifications.”
As with most young men, the draw of owning a fast car was irresistible for Attila. Respect to the guy though – instead of selling out and buying a tacky Japanese car for a bit of extra straight-line speed, he stayed true to his much-loved E21 and started talking with his dad about a turbo conversion. A basically brand new T3 turbo had been sitting around at his dad’s garage for some time, and it was just too tempting not to.
“The car was shut down for about nine months,” Attila explained. “Me and my dad would work on the car after work until late, and even come in on Saturdays sometimes. The whole process was not easy by any means, and even after the likes of the turbo and intercooler had been fitted, we found the motor was not getting enough fuel and the timing was way off.”
Once a few problems had been ironed out, and by impressively retaining the almost antique K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection, the now boosted E21 was a whole new weapon. “We had it running like a bat out of hell,” Attila said. After having a thrill ride along the twisty mountain blacktop I was pretty convinced there was enough power on tap in this little E21 to keep most people honest. It is at that magical point of being a lot of fun without being dangerous. On these roads, it’s a long way down if you lose it.
As well as the T3 turbo (running 14-15psi) and Starion intercooler, a turbo cam, HKS blow-off valve, bigger fuel injectors and high flow fuel pump have all necessarily been added. A custom intake and exhaust have had to be fabricated, while the whole package is that bit sportier with a transplanted five-speed gearbox from another E21, a custom short-shift and 228mm sports clutch.
There’s no sense having all this engine and drivetrain work without considering the chassis as well, and it’s good to report Attila’s E21 had no problems sticking like a limpet through the corners. Eibach Pro Kit springs lower the car suitably, while Bilstein shocks, front strut brace and rear anti-roll bars tighten it all up. Lovely stuff.
It’s pointless trying to stuff mighty wheels under the arches of such a car, and it’s great to see Attila has stayed true to an original #BMW style by fitting 7x15” BBS RA rims. The body sits low enough so the car doesn’t look under-wheeled, while a 15” size ensures there will be no arch rubbing or a loss in handling characteristics.
The standard E21 body is a very attractive shape already, but as Attila has proved, a few upgrades here and there truly make the difference. Notice the BBS front spoiler, Zender skirts, Zender rear apron and nice custom boot spoiler, all working well with the European front and rear bumpers. Some clear lights and headlight eyebrows to work with the gleaming bodywork truly finish things off nicely.
So you may think Attila’s E21 is just a well-looked- after, tastefully modified classic at first glance. Then you notice the bonnet scoop. This is an original Subaru WRX item cut down and moulded to fit into the 320i’s bonnet, allowing cool air to reach the turbo, and let its hot air escape. Not a bad plan, as the temperature coming out of this vent after a quick play would easily melt anything remotely close to that T3 turbo.
So there are certainly enough performance hints to suggest this fine example of BMW’s first 3 Series is a handy little toy. Strapped into the Corbeau CR1 race seat with threepoint harness, staring at Autometer gauges and operating the push-button start, the driver knows this is something special too. The car is a true gem from head to toe, but it’s the fact it is turbocharged that deserves the most respect. Attila stayed faithful to the car he was given, and when the teenage lust for pure performance came knocking, he did what he could with what he had. The rewards he’s reaping from such a quick, tight and beautiful car are rightfully justified.
A twisty mountain road thrill ride convinces you this E21 has power and traction in bucketloads.
DATA FILE #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #Garrett / #BMW-320i-E21 / #BMW-320i / #BBS / #BMW-320i-Turbo-E21 / #BMW-320i-Turbo /
ENGINE: 2.0-litre fuel injected four-cylinder #BMW-M10 / #M10 / #M10-Turbo engine with #Garrett-T3 turbocharger running 14-15psi, turbo cam, Starion front-mounted intercooler, #HKS SSQV blow-off valve, custom intake, custom exhaust, bigger fuel injectors, high flow fuel pump, 1.8-litre intake manifold on a 2.0-litre block. E21 five-speed transmission conversion, custom shortshift, 228mm sports clutch setup. Standard CIS engine management system upgraded, #MSD #Boost-Timing-Master
PERFORMANCE: 190bhp and 200lb ft torque at the flywheel
CHASSIS: 7x15” #BBS-RA wheels shod in 205/55 Kumho 711 tyres. #Eibach Pro Kit springs, #Bilstein shocks, front strut brace, rear anti-roll bar, vented front brakes
EXTERIOR: BBS front spoiler, #Zender side skirts, Zender rear apron, custom boot spoiler, European bumpers, European indicators, custom headlight eyebrows, H4 headlights, custom bonnet scoop modified from Subaru WRX item
INTERIOR: Corbeau CR1 race seats, Corbeau three-point harnesses, Autometer shift light, Autometer gauges, push-button starter
THANKS: My dad – without him this car would not be at the stage it is. Also my family and Katie for their support, Lee at BMWPlanet.com and the E21 Legion!
An estimated 190bhp and 200lb ft of torque at the flywheel with the turbocharger is certainly a healthy performance leap over the standard E21 320i.
Above: Original E21 M10 engine remains, but benefits from Garrett T3 turbocharger. Result is 190bhp and 200lb ft torque in this little monster.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNIGHTCRAWLER UK 1600 Classic beauty on BBSs
With a few simple mods this classic and extremely clean 1600 has been given a fresh new look.
A classic is not a project to be undertaken lightly but with a bit of love, care and attention the results can be spectacular, as this 1600 demonstrates. Words: Elizabeth de La tour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Owning an older car takes dedication. Anything from the mid-’80s is okay, a little fragile now, perhaps, mainly due to age and/or mileage but could most definitely be daily driven with little or no problems to hamper ownership and enjoyment. I’m speaking from personal experience with a 1987 E28 518i. And with a bit of work and upkeep an ’80s car will most definitely bring you many years of motoring pleasure. Then there are the cars from the ’70s, or even earlier, that require a bit more dedication to look after properly. More things are likely to go wrong. There’s going to be more rust to worry about and owning a car of that vintage is not a decision to be made lightly as ownership will require commitment. Fortunately, Laurence Turner is very committed and both he and his carloving dad have the skills and hands-on approach that makes owning a car like this 1600 that much less painful.
“I’ve always been into cars,” Laurence begins. “It’s dad’s fault! I’ve owned and modified a lot of cars over the years. I had a Corsa B that I wrote off, a Mk2 Golf that I did up and sold, then a Polo GTI but that was too ‘boy racer’. Then I had another Mk2 for four years which I turned into a show car on air. I decided that the next car I was going to build was something like a 2002; my dad had bought a VW split-screen camper and we started going to more retro shows, which were more fun and chilled. I wanted something that would crossover between the modified shows I was used to going to and the retro shows, so two days later I put the Mk2 up for sale and started looking for a car to buy.
“This 1600 popped up and looked really tidy. It had just been imported from Ireland and was over in Leamington Spa. It was only running on three cylinders and needed some work but it was the best example I’d seen so I bought it. Going from a new car to one that’s 45 years old was a big change and I knew nothing about BMs before this! “The car was completely stock and the springs were pretty shot so my original plan was to change the springs and wheels. A lot of the US forums were very helpful and I bought the parts I needed from Jaymic, along with its restoration guide.
I’d already bought a Haynes guide for the car but the Jaymic book is fantastic and was my bible for the project. The biggest problem was actually getting hold of parts. It was a real nightmare. I mainly found what I needed in the US and Germany but even then it took a long time to find bits. It took me six months to get a steering wheel boss, for example.”
Of course, it was worth the wait when it came to all the parts for this 1600 and it took Laurence and his dad less than a year to get the car to where it is now, working on it every weekend and building it on the drive. Laurence’s friend, Luke from Decked Metals (hence the stickers), also helped with the project. The plan of changing the suspension and the wheels was accomplished but, as you can probably tell from looking at the photos, Laurence took his 1600 that little bit further…
The wheels, 8x15” BBS RMs, were purchased from Racing Team Hofmann in Germany and the classic cross-spokes have been fully chrome powdercoated making them ridiculously shiny, which harmonises perfectly with the chrome brightwork that can be found around the car.
While the original plan had been to change the springs for a fresh set, the opportunity to give the suspension a bit of an overhaul was too great to resist, and the 1600 now sits on a set of custom Gaz coilovers, with extended threaded bodies at the front. This means Laurence has been able to really drop the little 1600 on its belly and it looks awesome for it, those 15s sitting perfectly up in the arches.
At the back there’s a window louvre and, you won’t be surprised to learn, these are rarer than rare. “I got lucky. It was listed on a forum as a plastic window vent.” explains Laurence with a wide grin. “The seller did not know what he was in possession of!” The window louvre adds the finishing touch and is the perfect period addition to a car that, stance aside, looks very original with those exceedingly cool foglights mounted on the front bumper and that vintage AA badge attached to the extremely shiny front grille.
The interior is pretty standard, which we reckon is a good thing. Those mustardcoloured doorcards and the classic threedial dash design make it a wonderfully retro place to spend some time. There are a pair of Lux Tii seats and Laurence fitted a Grip Royal steering wheel – with the deep-dish design and light wood trim being the perfect choice to complement the overall interior ambience.
You’d have to have a heart of stone to look at this 1600 and not fall in love with it. The BBS RMs are the perfect size and style for the car, the way it sits is spot-on. The fact that Laurence hasn’t messed around with the styling, bar the addition of the period-correct louvre, means you get to enjoy those classic lines uninterrupted.
“I’ve taken it to as many shows as I possibly can,” says Laurence, “including one in Germany. I’m pleased to say the car was fine on the drive over. I really loved the experience and the car received a lot of attention.” But the ownership experience hasn’t been all smiles and sunshine, unfortunately, and it’s actually other owners that have soured the experience, sadly. “The 02 community isn’t about stanced cars and the US really hates the sort of car that I’ve built, so it’s been hard finding people who can help me,” explains Laurence. “I prefer a more chilled scene and, really, I’m not about the scene, I just want to hang out with my car friends, play with cars and have fun.” We think that is a great philosophy to have. It’s such a shame that purist elitists are ruining the classic BMW ownership experience for the younger crowd who want to do things their way; why can’t we all just get along?
Ultimately, Laurence is looking to sell the 1600 but, thankfully, not because of some small-minded idiots; it’s purely due to a change in circumstances. And with a Polo as a daily and a history of modified VWs behind him, it’s no surprise to learn that he’s looking at a Jetta for his next project.
Still, at least he explored the world of modified Bavarian machinery and his very first foray is one that neither he nor anyone else will forget in a hurry.
DATA FILE #BMW-1600 / #BMW / BBS / #BMW-Typ-114 / #BBS / #BBS-RM
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 1.6-litre four-cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / #M10B16 , four-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 7x15” (front) and 8x15” (rear) #BBS-RM002 wheels with Brilliant Silver powdercoated baskets, chrome coated bolts and genuine BBS centre caps with 165/50 (front) and 185/45 (rear) tyres, #GAZ-Gold custom coilovers, #GAZ billet adjustable camber top mounts
EXTERIOR Zender-type fibreglass splitter, genuine Autoplas rear window louvre
INTERIOR Lux Tii seats, Grip Royal ‘Woodie’ steering wheel
THANKS Special thanks to dad, Luke and Alex for their help with the build, all the Decked Metals crew, Auto Finesse for its amazing products, Jaymic for all its knowledge and help, Mark Ikeda for building these amazing wheels, Heidi for letting me fill the house with car partsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSWEET AS
A mighty fine 2.1-swapped E21 hailing from New Zealand. Foregoing full-on flair for subtle style with a breathed-on M10 under the bonnet, this E21 from the other side of the world is a mighty fine machine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Richard Opie.
New Zealand is most definitely a nation of car enthusiasts though, like their neighbours across the water, its inhabitants tend to lean towards utes, Japanese imports and V8 muscle. But the reach of BMW knows no bounds and its appeal no limits, which means there are plenty of BMW enthusiasts on the other side of the world and plenty of BMWs to get excited about, like this hot rod of an E21, for example.
Sparkle Horgan is the happy owner of this particular car. Unlike many of his fellow countrymen, going by Sparkle’s motoring past it looks like he’s never really strayed away from BMWs, having fallen for the marque at the tender age of 16. He began collecting issues of PBMW when he was 18 and dreamt of getting a car featured. It’s been a bit of a wait for him but hopefully a worthwhile one. “My uncle worked at #BMW in the early ’80s and suggested one as my first car. It was an E21 318i and over the following years I’ve owned six more of Bavaria’s finest offerings – all of them from the gloriously boxy 1980s.
“After that I always wanted another E21, particularly a single headlight version after seeing one in a magazine when I was a teenager. I used to see my current 315 driving round in my home city, and often tried to flag it down to pass on my number in case the owner ever wanted to sell.
Unfortunately for the original owner (who imported it from Germany in the early ’80s), it was crashed, and written off by his insurance company. Shoot forward to me trawling Trade Me (NZ’s version of eBay) for old BMWs and, lo and behold, there was the very same E21 I’d chased… although it was in quite a sorry state sitting at a scrap yard! Luckily I have the most supportive wife in the world; we had just returned from our honeymoon by a matter of days but we cobbled together the relatively small purchase price from a bank account that was still recovering from paying for a wedding and honeymoon and a couple of days later I drove it straight home from the wrecker’s yard (fortunately only cosmetic damage), and parked it in my shed for a couple of years.”
There it sat until one fateful day when Sparkle’s daily at the time, a 1976 Datsun 620, failed a ‘warrant’ (a NZ road-worthiness test) for what Sparkle describes as “a list as long as my arm!” Due to this it made sense to get the E21 on the road and use as a daily instead. “It was probably cheaper to get it on the road than to fix my Datsun’s rust,” says Sparkle, “but things definitely snowballed!” He drove it pretty much standard for a few months in 2013 but then decided to get a set of custom Fortune 500 coilovers on (by Barry from Manon Racing Products).
“I was dead set on having a set of widened steels for my first wheels and, originally, had a set of stock 14” E30 steels destined for it,” I thought they’d be a perfect diameter for the car. I was particularly set on having eight-inch-wide wheels at all corners, but I couldn’t find any suitable tyres readily available in New Zealand that would give me a beefy sidewall without looking like balloons or without too much stretch. I finally decided on 15s as I liked the smooth centre of the Mini steels that didn’t have brake clearance grooves, and there was plenty of tyre options that would give me the look I was after for the steels. I settled for a set of 205/50 Falken ZE912s as they were rated for eight inches and therefore also legal to run.”
Sparkle’s decision to go with steels was definitely a good one as they give the car a completely different, much more purposeful look and the bronze/beige/silver finish looks really smart, while the way it sits thanks to those coilovers is absolutely awesome. The wheels tuck perfectly under the E21’s arches. In fact, aside from the wheels, that’s as far as Sparkle’s taken the visual aspect of the car, preferring factory-looking cars lowered on nice wheels. “It’s a simple and clean look that never goes out of style. I probably wouldn’t turn down a set of window louvres or a motorsport rear rubber spoiler, though,” he adds, but with the E21 being such a simple, attractive shape, it’s nice to see it in its purest form. The interior has had a little more work carried out and looks like an exceedingly nice place to be, with a smattering of interesting additions, none of which look out of place or spoil the look and feel of the cabin. “I’ve tried to go for a ‘weekend racer’ type look for the interior,” explains Sparkle. “One New Zealand-made, ’80s era Autosport, fixed-back racing seat for the driver, a Momo Prototipo wheel (given to me by my wife for my 30th birthday), a couple of VDO gauges, and a tacho on the A-pillar; there’s no way I could get rid of the hilarious, giant standard clock in the dash – it’s always a conversation starter!” Indeed, having started out life as a humble 315 meant that this E21 never received a rev counter, BMW clearly feeling that owners of the lower-powered models would be more interested in knowing what time it is rather than whereabouts they might be in relation to the redline. We love the steering wheel and that beautiful wooden gear knob and the period-correct seat, too.
Of course, as nice to look at or sit in as this E21 might be, it would all count for nothing if it wasn’t any fun to drive, and that’s where the engine swap comes in. “The car didn’t see a huge amount of changes for a number of years until I picked up a twolitre M10 out of a wrecked E21 about two years ago,” Sparkle tells us.
We stripped it down to check the condition, although we did consider just chucking it in as is. I’m glad we did strip it as it was in fairly poor condition, even though had been rebuilt in the past. The original plan was just a standard freshen-up with a bit of porting, maybe adding a mild cam and the downdraft Weber that I ran on my standard 1600. This isn’t what happened.
After trawling eBay, I came across a cheap set of ‘piano top’ pistons to suit a 2002 M10 for a cheap price. This would’ve bumped the compression up slightly from the awfully low standard of 8:1. Unfortunately, when they got here we realised that they wouldn’t work due to the E21’s valves mirroring the 2002 head, so they would have smacked right into the ‘piano’. There was no way I was going back down to standard compression ratio so, after spending countless hours discussing it with Ian from Eurotech we decided to do it properly and do it once. I promptly emailed Steve from Top End Performance in Hollywood, California and started putting together a wish-list after I bought and sold a couple cars to put a bit more money towards the build. After countless emails, phone calls, and waiting for the exchange rate to be acceptable, I hit the ‘go’ button, and a huge amount of parts left Hollywood on their way to Palmerston North, New Zealand.
“Ian from Eurotech Services put countless hours into making the head and inlet manifold match up perfectly with the smooth ports and flow into the created hemi combustion chambers. Ian also assembled the engine and placed it in the bay after the lads and I took the trusty standard 1600 out and scrubbed the bay clean. The back trumpet on the Weber unfortunately had clearance issues with the standard brake booster, so the choice was made to bin the booster, and run the brakes unboosted for now.
“At this time, Rodney and Ari from Roskilda Autos spent a great amount of time finishing off bits. One night, after some fish and chips and a couple of beers we had a great night setting up the initial tune. The best power run of the night pulled out just over 150hp at the wheels – pretty much exactly 190hp at the crank! The first drive was an exciting, happy and scary time. My wife and I went for a decent strop down some back roads out of town and there was a fair few excited giggles! Two months later we went back to Rodney’s garage for the second tune and another feed of fish and chips. We didn’t get much more in regards to top power figures but got a healthy 11-14hp increase across most of the mid-range. The result is an incredibly torquey mid-range, and a punchy engine that pulls hard from down low and starts running out of steam just under 6500rpm… the perfect road-going M10!” he grins.
The end result is a seriously feisty E21 with a very healthy engine and more than enough power to keep Sparkle happy. “The new engine has turned this quiet 315 into a rip snorter; it’s easily my favourite modification,” he says with a smile. “My plans now are to drive the balls off it, fit some slightly beefier brakes, an electric fan and I need to put the 7x14” BBS Mahle fivestuds on some non-dodgy-looking adaptors!” Well done Sparkle, it’s an immensely fun build that you can’t help but love. Sweet as…
The result is a punchy engine that pulls hard from down low… the perfect road-going M10!
M10 now up to 2.1-litres and fed by twin 45mm Webers, making a healthy 154whp.
DATA FILE #BMW-E21 / #BMW-321 / #BMW-321-E21 / #BMW / #BMW-320-E21 /
ENGINE Four cylinder #M10 / #BMW-M10 / #M10B21 bored to 2.1-litres, #JE-Pistons , #Total-Seal gapless rings, 11:1 compression ratio, twin 45mm DCOE Webers mounted on port-matched Redline manifold, Eurotech ported head with hemi combustion chambers, T.E.P 294 cam and rocker arm locks, Cometic steel head gasket, #ARP head bolts, winged and baffled sump, TEP exhaust manifolds, 2.5” custom exhaust, 123Ignition tuneable distributor. Standard four-speed E21 gearbox. 154whp
CHASSIS 8x15” ET0 (front and rear) modified new shape Mini steels painted in bronze-silver with 205/50 (front and rear) Falken ZE912 tyres, Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers
INTERIOR 1980s’ New Zealand-made ‘Autosport’ fixed back bucket seat, Momo Prototipo steering wheel, Vee Three tacho, VDO oil pressure and water temp gauges, wooden gear knob turned from NZ rimu and pine woods
THANKS My wonderful, understanding and supportive wife Jo, Ian at Eurotech Services for putting countless hours into the car and building an engine to an impeccable standard, Rodney and Ari from Roskila Auto for tuning and the late nights, Graeme and the team at B&H Engine Services, Steve Neilsen from Top End Performance USA, Cam, Blake, Jim, P Dubs, Jim, Waggy, Jim, Graeme, Jim, and all the team from Jimmy Motorsport for their lubrication support network and engine related antics, Richy for his highly talented photography, Geoff the Pom, Graham and Julie for all the spare bits and engine base, Greg Mather at Midnight Upholstery, Mike from Manawatu Woodworkers Guild, and Craig from Windsor Industries for the rad gear knob, all of the many people at Club ’33, Sparkle Tees NZ, Oldschool.co.nzStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #1968 / #BMW-1600-2 FEATURE The #BMW that Set the Ball Rolling / #BMW-1600 / #BMW / #Neue-Klasse / #BMW-E20 / #BMW-1600-Coupe / #BMW-1600-2-E20 / #BMW-M10 / #M10
Donn drives the first BMW sold in New Zealand 46 years ago, while recalling a test he carried out on its sister car in 1968. Words: Donn Anderson. Photos: Adam Croy. On busy Auckland roads, an immaculate-looking ’60s BMW 1600-2 bearing the plates DE2610 attracts attention wherever it goes. Yet scarcely anyone appreciates the real significance of this compact two-door sedan.
The 1600 marked the turning point for the Munich-based carmaker, and this particular vehicle was the very first BMW to be officially sold in New Zealand — one of three 1600-2s ordered by Ross Jensen in 1967 soon after he had secured the BMW franchise in July that year.
Ross’s motor-racing skills were well known, and his small motor business on Auckland’s Remuera Road dabbled in several European car distributorships, including Austin-Healey, Jensen, the Daimler SP250, Renault, and Alfa Romeo. However, apart from a few privately imported BMW Isetta microcars, 501 sedans, and 700 sedans, the German marque was relatively unknown in New Zealand, but Ross could see the potential. Indeed, he would hold the franchise for 16 years until BMW New Zealand was formed in 1983.
Rewind to 1959, a time when Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) was almost broke, and German industrialist Herbert Quandt acquired a 30-per cent stake in the company. The Isetta bubble car may have been an ideal city car, but tiny vehicles usually mean tiny profits and, to add to the company’s financial miseries, an unsuccessful line of expensive eight-cylinder luxury cars did little to improve BMW’s fortunes. Quandt was about to sell his share of BMW to Daimler-Benz in 1961, at considerable financial risk, but changed his mind at the last moment and increased his stake to 50 per cent. Committed to making it work, Quandt would be responsible for reversing the company fortunes and, a year later, the BMW 1500 sedan was launched.
Introduced in 1961, the 1500 was the first of the ‘neue klasse’ (new class), followed by the 1600 in 1964 — both models being four-door sedans. The two-door E10 1600-2 series, built between 1966 and 1977, was a natural progression from the 1500/1600, with the new model sharing the latter car’s 1573cc four-cylinder engine. The 1600-2 was joined by the visually similar 2002, and both were eventually replaced by the E21, the first of BMW’s highly popular 3 Series models.
The total 1600-2 and 2002 production of 861,940 over a 10-year period included about half a million of the smaller-engined model. In addition, there were 4210 Baur cabriolets and 1672 of 2002 turbos. The 1600-2, however, is regarded as the first post-war sports BMW sedan — the name being simplified to 1602 in 1971, with the ‘2’ referring to the model’s two-door body configuration.
THE QUEST FOR EFFICIENCY
The 1600-2 shared the same running gear as the earlier, more conservative-looking, 1600 sedan, and was initially slammed by some observers for being rear-wheel driven when the trend was towards frontwheel drive, especially with smaller cars.
High points included a frisky, single–overhead-cam five-bearing engine with a single Solex carburettor, and independent rear suspension with semi-trailing arms and coil springs. The semi-trailing wishbones pivoted from a strong cross-beam that also supported the differential housing. The 1500/1600 cars were the first BMWs to feature MacPherson-strut front suspension, and the new 1600-2 followed suit. The car’s high standard of finish and appointments was already winning accolades nearly half a century ago at a time when the Bavarian company’s focus was on quality rather than quantity.
In the quest for efficiency, BMW implemented clever design and manufacturing that allowed the production of more than 20 models from two basic engines and four main body structures. And, since Munich is the centre of the German brewing industry, it seemed logical for bottles of beer to be trollied around the production lines for the workers.
The neue-klasse cars would be a key factor in pushing German home-market BMW sales up by 30 per cent in 1966, placing the marque second to Daimler-Benz in luxury car sales. Additionally, the new cars gained rave reviews in the US, with Car & Driver magazine calling the 1600-2 the best small sedan it had driven, noting it was just like driving an Alfa Romeo that had been built by Germans. Others said it was the best economy car ever offered to an undeserving American public, many of whom still thought the letters ‘BMW’ stood for ‘British Motor Works’!
When Royal New Zealand Air Force Air Vice Marshal Richard Bolt visited the 1967 Earls Court Motor Show, he was impressed by the new 1600-2, and ordered one through Jensen Motors under the personal export scheme. The car arrived in Auckland in December 1967 and was registered to Bolt in January 1968. Many years later, BMW technical and service manager John Leggett, who had carried out the first service on the car, tracked down the owner and acquired it. It was then fully restored by Motorsport Services in Parnell. John passed away in the late ’90s, and this 1600-2 was gifted to BMW New Zealand by his estate in 1997.
Alas, the BMW lost its original Kiwi number plates after being deregistered when it was off the road but, in 2012, a set of personalized plates almost put the record right since the ‘O’ on the plate is actually a letter rather than the digit ‘0’. Sadly, because the NZ Transport Agency destroys a vehicle’s history on deregistration, there is now no record of the number of owners the car has had, or the actual mileage, which is currently showing a likely fictitious figure of less than 36,000.
There was a sense of déjà vu when I drove DE2610 recently because, 45 years earlier, I had road-tested DE2179, the sister car to this 1600, the Bolt vehicle. Fledgling BMW distributor Ross Jensen was a solid supporter of Motorman magazine, right back to my schoolboy days when he regularly advertised in my publication, and he was keen to get me behind the wheel of his new demonstrator. Like DE2610, the Jensen Motors’ car was painted in Polaris Silver and I headlined my story “From Bubble Cars to Aristocrats.” It was a significant road test as, for a number of reasons and unlike today, our shores weren’t exactly bursting with BMWs during that era.
Indeed, devaluation of the New Zealand dollar in 1967 bumped the price of the new BMW 1600-2 up from $3500 to $4300, or more than twice its cost in Germany. A rival Triumph 2000 was $3500 and a Rover 2000 about $100 dearer than the Munich newcomer. There was a mere $400 between the price of the compact BMW and a new Jaguar 240.
However, almost all new cars were in short supply, and British cars were still enjoying a lower tariff rate than the Continental or Japanese brands. Tight import licensing meant local sales of new BMWs did not reflect demand — just 115 were sold in the first five years until 1971. A mere four BMWs were registered in 1967, with 10 sales the following year and 16 in 1969.
The 1600-2 is a symbolic car, with distinctive, clean lines; an upright stance; and huge greenhouse, all of which makes for amazing all-round visibility, further aided by skinny A, B, and C pillars that would surely struggle to meet modern-day safety crash tests. With this commanding driving position, it is rather like being in an open car, which is a blessing since there is an absence of door mirrors on the Bolt car. Jensen fitted a driver’s door mirror to DE2179 but these were, of course, rare in the ’60s.
At 4242mm, the 1600-2 is almost 400mm shorter than the current F30 BMW 3 Series and weighs only half as much. Although the 1600- 2 appears tall, it is almost 33mm lower and, at 1575mm, a remarkable 236mm narrower than the latest 3 Series.
While the bodywork on the Bolt BMW has been restored to new, and the interior is almost as original as you can get, a glance under the front-hinged bonnet reveals the car is not in concours condition.
Yet everything is original, including the shapeless front seats that, perhaps, have lost some of their body over the years since only a short distance is required to find they are lacking lateral support. My 1968 test, however, applauded the seats as being comfortable. I was also impressed by the fore-and-aft adjustment, the knurled knobs that allow partial rake adjustment (with only three positions), and an excellent driving position.
A narrow ring on the skinny plastic steering wheel activates the horn, and padding is used to good effect on the fascia. Quarter windows are opened via knurled knobs, but at cruising speeds the wind noise around the frameless glass doors is only partly a consequence of the passage of time. Ventilation was never a 1600/2002 strong point, but at least the rear side windows hinge open to increase air flow — and wind noise.
Headlight dip and flash are controlled by the left-hand stalk, with the indicator stalk on the right side of the steering column. Pull-out switches for lighting and the two-speed wipers are mounted on the fascia.
The British liked to label the 1600 a ‘coupé’, as this advertisement from UK Motor magazine in June 1967 relates.
Drive DE2610 today and the car comes with a list of instructions: “Drive with choke on until warm, be gentle with the clutch, temperature gauge not accurate when electrics are in use.” The test car in 1968 was reluctant to start once warm, and so too is DE2610 today. Once on the move, the 920kg 1600-2 is responsive, in spite of the modest 64kW (86bhp) engine. It produces peak power at 5700rpm, but is happy enough revving far higher than this.
BMW later introduced a 1600TI version with a 9.5 to 1 compression ratio instead of 8.6 to 1, and 77kW of power at 6000rpm. The lower-powered 1600-2 has a top speed just shy of 160kph and gets to 100kph in just over 13 seconds, while its average fuel consumption of 11.7 litres/100km (24 mpg) is typical of the day.
The four-speed gearbox has a positive if somewhat spongy change, but the lack of a fifth speed means engine noise becomes intrusive at 100kph with the motor spinning at 3800 revs. Reverse gear, next door to first, can easily be wrong-slotted and needs the greater protection of a stronger spring, while the tricky clutch requires learning, especially from a standstill. The maximum gear-change speedometer markings of 26, 48, and 73 miles an hour (42, 77, and 114kph) equate to 6000rpm and can easily be exceeded, even beyond the recommended 6200rpm limit. My test notes from the ’60s said, “It is easy to spin the wheels during rapid take-offs, and both passenger and driver watch wide-eyed as the speedo swings around the dial.” I reckoned it was fortunate the speedo was highly optimistic, reading 9.6kph fast at 96kph.
There’s no tacho — this would come later with the sports versions like the 2002 — and the unassisted ZF Gemmer worm-and-roller steering, with three and a half turns of the wheel from lock to lock, is only heavy at parking speeds. The vagueness of the steering in the straight-ahead position is something we accept with many older cars. Continental tyres were fitted to the 13-inch diameter, 4.5J steel wheels on the 1968 test car, but today’s Bolt 1600-2 has Michelins.
The ride is firm and hard on small bumps with some pitch and bounce, but better on undulating surfaces. My original test said, “Stability is excellent at high speeds and the steering is reasonably sensitive. When pushed hard, the BMW has high cornering powers, with a little understeer and practically no body roll. On slow corners the inside rear wheel can be spun and lifted. The car is completely controllable on loose metal surfaces, when opposite lock motoring gives the driver not the slightest worry.”
ATE/Dunlop discs are fitted up front with drums at the rear, but the braking system is somewhat unprogressive and feels more like an all-drum set-up. Still, here I go again, confusing ’60s technology with 21st-century advancement. Well-preserved 1600-2s, 1602s, and 2002s are thin on the ground, especially in New Zealand, where fewer than 300 were sold in eight years. Internationally, it is difficult to find a good condition E10 1600-2 for less than $10,000. Naturally, from a classic-car standpoint, the 2002 presents a more powerful argument, with its two-litre engine and Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, beefed-up suspension, reshaped front seats, and extra instrumentation.
However, there is only one car which set BMW on the road to success in New Zealand, and that’s this ex–Richard Bolt 1600-2 — a genuine classic that will thankfully always be lovingly cared for by the local distributor. That’s called preserving your history and your heritage.
Donn road-testing the Bolt 1600-2’s sister car for Motorman magazine.
1968 BMW 1600-2
ENGINE In-line four-cylinder M10
MAX. POWER 63kW at 5700rpm
MAX. TORQUE 124Nm at 3000rpm
FUEL SYSTEM Solex carburettor
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual
FRONT SUSPENSION MacPherson struts
REAR SUSPENSION Semi-trailing arms, coil springs
BRAKES F/R Disc/Drum
OVERALL LENGTH 4242mm
KERB WEIGHT 920kg
MAX SPEED 156kph
STANDING ¼-MILE 18.7s
ECONOMY 11.6l/100kmStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.