THE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE
In the early 1970s, Mercedes and BMWS were notoriously easy cars to steal, and, once that fact was combined with the BMW 2002’s especially sporting characteristics, it became an obvious choice for any German gangster.
Now, maybe Germany didn’t have too many gangsters in that era, but it did, unfortunately for BMW, have the coincidentally similarly initialled Baader-meinhof Gang, and these people were not so much gangsters as they were terrorists.
It does seem to be fact that Andreas Baader, who gave his name to this infamous group and one of its leaders, was also a motorhead. He enjoyed driving fast and recklessly, and BMW 2002s were his chosen steed. When the forces of the law caught up with this group after their bank robberies, bombings, and assassinations, they were often using BMW 2002s, usually stolen ones.
The gang even employed two mechanics whose job it was to ‘adapt’ these cars for use after they had been stolen.
Such was the popularity of the 2002 within this group that it was at times referred to in the media as a ‘Baader-meinhof Wagen’. The German police were so convinced of this that they would set up roadblocks and only stop passing 2002s. It was such a widely attached connection that some law-abiding German BMW 2002 owners took to using a bumper sticker that read Ich gehöre nicht zur Baader-meinhof Gruppe (‘I do not belong to the Baader-meinhof Group’). This would not have been an association the directors of Bayerische Motoren Werke would ideally have sought, but for others, especially the younger members of society, it was almost seen as hip to own a 2002. Eventually, this did no harm at all to BMW’S reputation or sales, and, therefore, its rising ability to make a desirable car.
An instant classic
Today, 50 years after its introduction, the BMW 2002 has entered the charts as a classic car. Just try buying one now; even more surprising, try buying a nice one that won’t break the bank. It does happen, though it’s rare that one’s mechanic wants to buy one’s car. That’s what happened when Nick Williamson, general manager of International Motorsport in Auckland, finished a full restoration on a client’s 1975 BMW 2002.
Quite possibly — as is often the case with cars we feature — it’s a return to an old love. Nick’s first car was a 2002, and it was time to find another one. Understandably, he simply couldn’t resist the temptation of this plain and simple, bog-standard 1975 2002 — our feature car.
By 1975, BMW had not only sorted out the beautiful 2002, which is as desirable today as it ever was, but it had also sorted itself out