This BMW 2002 is a B-sedan inspired canyon carver

Jay Leno's Garage

Die hard muscle car fans know the story of the Pontiac GTO well, so it becomes quite interesting when another car has basically the same origin story. Two engineers plopped the new M10 two-liter inline-four into the 1602 chassis and before long it became one of te most loved BMWs of all time. It is also a perfect base for building a little canyon carver, as Jay Leno showed in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

The bright orange coupe grabbed Jay’s attention one day and he liked the car so much he decided he wanted to share it on an episode of the show. Dorian Hicklin was happy to oblige. He spent years just trying to acquire the car from a friend who had it “stored ” in his backyard. By the time he finally won him over and got the car home it was in pretty rough shape. Luckily that made it the perfect starting point for a mild custom.

All the suspension is warmed over, from adjustable camber plates and strut bar up front to Koni shocks and new springs in the rear. The engine was bored .020 over for a small bump in displacement but the addition of other speed parts like bigger Weber carbs, a 292 camshaft, and bigger valves add up to a sizeable bump in power. Factory output would have been 100hp but Hicklin’s butt dyno says it’s probably more in the 150hp range now. That power flows through a five-speed transmission sourced from a newer BMW 320 which also gave up its rear differential to this project.

The interior is nicely appointed too, but looking at and living with are two different things. Jay’s first comment as he slides into the driver’s seat is that the roll cage is not nearly as intrusive as he expected. He makes it look fairly easy sneaking into the car, but we think egress might be a little tougher. The blend of track-focused parts makes for a car that is clearly stiffer and sharper than a stock 2002 but not so much that it beats the driver or passenger up. Surely it would be a blast on track even with meager horsepower on tap, as a good driver could put on a corner speed clinic with the sticky Toyo R888 tires on all four corners.

Restomods like this ’02 are nothing new, and when done this well will probably age nicely. This car was built for the enjoyment of driving and for that you get a tip of our hat, Dorian. Enjoy the drive and hope that the miles only get more fun as the odometer rolls on.




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