1973 BMW 2002 tii: Efficient Beauty
South Hampton Service, once located in the small town of Hampton, Illinois (which has since moved to nearby Silvis with a new name), was an actual service station. Just like the ones that used to work on cars, do tune-ups, install tires, and the like. Oh sure, you could get fuel, a doughnut, and a cup of coffee just like any other gas station, but believe it or not, they actually serviced and repaired cars–rare in this day and age. For that reason, they frequently had interesting cars on hand—as evidenced by the 1977 Cutlass Supreme Brougham I wrote about last year.
That GM personal-lux coupe was about the polar opposite when compared to one of these tidy little classic BMWs. While a ’77 Cutlass Brougham was an isolation chamber conveying its occupants in silent V-8 comfort and pillow-topped velour seats, the BMW 2002 was a completely different kind of car. A driver’s car, for sure. And for those that hung on to theirs over the years, a blue chip collectible today.
The tii—the hot rod of the 2002 line (well, except for the 2002 Turbo) debuted in 1972, making this one a sophomore model. Kugelfischer fuel injection was just one of the highlights of the tii’s sporting intent. While mint examples are getting more valuable seemingly by the day, any 2002 is a ball to drive—or so I’ve heard (with a shrug while jingling the Town Car keys in his coat pocket).
I first saw this car parked nose-in with several other cars at Mark’s shop in September 2014. I was going to stop, but I drove on. This has cost me in the past, but I was luckier this time, for later that week it appeared right out front with a “For Sale” sign on its red flanks.
One day my folks and I were driving back from a trip out of town and the red 2002 tii came up. I commented that the car was quite a find, and I needed to stop by and check it out. Dad mentioned that it wasn’t quite as nice as it looked. While it ran like a Swiss watch, it was full of filler and restoring it back to original splendor would take an arm and a leg—and a fat wallet.
I was disappointed, even though I had no intent of purchasing it. We always want cool classic cars to be healthy, I guess! But I still wanted to check it out, as the only other 2002 I had seen at that time was a gunmetal gray ’76 model with the gigantic Federal 5-mph bumpers, owned by a salesman at a friend’s car lot in Bettendorf.
Up close, and with the October sun sparkling off the shiny paint and chrome, I was surprised that it looked so good. It looked excellent, as a matter of fact. Other than the ’80s-style front buckets, it appeared to be in very original condition—no aftermarket rickrack. But she was full of Bondo. A shame.
My dad once had a 1969 Porsche 912 Targa that was much the same. It was owned by a friend, and Dan cautioned him before he bought it: “Don’t restore it. It runs great and is a ball to drive, but don’t restore it—it would be a money pit. Just enjoy it as-is, you’ll be happier.” And so Dad was. Later he sold it to my uncle (Mom was thrilled), and my uncle later sold it to a guy in Europe. That car’s current whereabouts and condition are not known.
These cars do not exactly grow on trees, particularly in the Midwest, so hopefully whoever got it will just maintain it, love it, and enjoy taking it for rides in nice weather. I took these pictures in autumn 2014 and, with the ever-increasing value of these cars, wonder where it is today. I haven’t seen it since then, though I have seen some nice examples at the Des Moines Concours.