In the universe, there are certain undeniable truths. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. There is no going faster than the speed of light. The BMW 2002 Turbo is fantastic, and the price for one is only getting steeper. Evidence for that last one was on display at the RM Sotheby’s auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a 1974 2002 Turbo in #2 condition commanded a lofty $145,600 price tag.
The 2002 has a passionate and expansive community of enthusiasts around it, among whom the rare Turbo model is highly revered. Using the 2002tii Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection engine as its base, the Turbo version kicks 40 horses than the stock 2002 tii for a total of 170 hp. The car had something of a bad-boy personality from the outset in 1973, with its riveted-on wheel arches that covered wider 13-inch wheels, racing graphics, and boost-at-your-own-risk turbo lag. Not only was it the first-ever BMW to sport a turbocharger, but the oil crises lead BMW to halt production at a rare 1672 cars.
The RM Sotheby’s car was imported from Japan to British Columbia by a collector in early 2016, where it was subject to an extensive restoration. It was then purchased by Silver Arrow Cars out of Victoria, where the dealership’s sales and marketing consultant Robert Dening noticed it caused quite the stir. “Everyone who is into the 2002 dreams about a Turbo, so it drew plenty of attention from the local BMW guys,” he said. “It’s the holy grail for lots of them.”
Once at Silver Arrow, the car got a little extra TLC courtesy of GAIN restorer Mark Root, who put on the finishing touches. In addition to some paint work, the car had its engine bay cleaned and rear insulation refreshed, while the correct caps were added to the shock towers and a more correct-looking steering wheel was put in place. Seeing the car in person at RM’s auction was a reminder of how a car can be simultaneously understated and bursting with personality. Despite all of the exotic Italian metal out in the lot, there was a small crowd (including myself) huddled around this butch, hotted-up German sedan.
Even in #2 condition (Excellent) according to our Valuation experts, this car still brought well north of the current #1 (Concours) value of $132,000. At $145,600, the car sold for almost $3000 north of the ’74 Turbo at the 2017 Gooding auction at Pebble Beach, despite the Gooding example having an all-around higher-quality restoration. “That the RM car sold for a similar but higher price, despite its lesser condition, tells me that this sale wasn't a fluke,” notes Hagerty auctions editor Andrew Newton. They're still on the way up if more good ones come to market.”
Newton reports that 2002 Turbo values are up an average of 17 percent since last year, 51 percent over the last three years, and 201 percent over the last five. “They’re not exactly just bursting on the scene, but it’s only over the past year or so that they’ve really solidified as six-figure cars.”
Hopefully this one landed in a good home, in the hands of an owner who will drive it with the gusto and reckless abandon it deserves.