BMW 2002


New Zealand Classic Car - - CONTENTS - Words: Terry Cob­ham Pho­tos: Adam Croy

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

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