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my recent learning experience on "mods versus value"

Here's the recent post which discussed "effect of mods on value" which got me to thinking over the past few days ......


So I've been collecting a few thoughts and reflections and ruminations based on the past few weeks of doing something I've never done in 40 years: drive two very different 2002's which have: a) performance goodies; and B) carburetors.

In mid-January I started driving the "silver loaner" 2002 when my '74tii went back into the shop for some 500-miles-on-a-new-engine tunes and tweaks and fixits. I had the silver loaner for 3-1/2 weeks and became very attached. It had "super duper" suspension and big tires and handled like no 2002 I've ever ridden in or driven. Performance when adding more throttle was "right now" which was/is something my tii doesn't do. Zooming through Carbon Canyon was a very new & different experience.

Then I got my '74tii back and sadly had to give up the silver loaner. Le and I were chatting about it, I drooled a lot, and he just kept giving me the smirky smile one gives to a total newbie when trying to describe what cannot be described, only experienced.

For me, it was a true life lesson in what can be done to a 2002 when some mods/changes/upgrades are done ..... I had no idea. I've certainly read about such things, but have no personal experience since I'm a dedicated "keep it stock" kinda guy.

SO .... a couple of days later the '74tii's alternator crapped out. So back to the shop, and I was then given the "black loaner" 2002 for the 4 days it took to sort out the alternator.

Le told me, again with the smirky smile, that I would find this loaner to be "slightly different" than the silver loaner. As I discovered, that was to be a bit of massive understatement.

The black 2002 loaner spoiled me rotten. I found myself not wanting to give it back. Le said it has similar tires but less suspension stuff, bigger carburetor, other engine goodies, and a 5-speed. He estimated the horsepower was the same as my '74tii (~130), but the big difference to me was the amazing torque-y-ness of the loaner. It seemed as if you could loaf along in 5th gear at 30mph, then step on the gas and all of a sudden without hesitation you're at 70mph without breaking a sweat, and still in 5th gear.

Zooming through Carbon Canyon with all that torque-y was a whole new exhilarating experience in an "ultimate driving machine." Those of you who have driven that road know of the two very tight 180-degree climbing turns when heading west from Chino Hills. The black loaner just loafed along as if we were going downhill, not steeply uphill. Simply amazing to me.

This past Sunday morning I drove to Ontario to retrieve my '74tii and had to give up the black loaner ...... and that hurt. First thing I said to Le was, "I want to buy this thing !!" and got the eye-rolling smirky smile that me as a carburetor newbie deserved to get.

So on that Sunday morning with the black loaner experience fresh in my mind, I jumped into my now-fixed '74tii and headed for the 60 Fwy East. A completely different and much more "sedate" driving experience as I headed for Galleano Winery.

Le had explained to me that his carbureted versions were set-up to have a much more steep "on it right now" powerband which started at a lower rpm. Different from a tii KF response which is very linear, hence a more steady, even, and smooth pull when one steps on the throttle.

And with that new knowledge I then experienced the tii KF response on the 60 East. Without pushing it I was easily up to 65mph, a nice steady acceleration, and was now more into the KF powerband. I eased over a lane and stepped on it hard .... and there I was, smooth as silk, very suddenly at 80mph and continuing to accelerate. No "jump" like the black loaner, but I was there "instantly" without knowing I was there. I was quite surprised to be going that fast so quickly and so smoothly. I had of course been doing that for years, but I had no basis for comparison, no experience to understand the difference between a KF and a carburetor.

Later, when using the on-ramp going West, I hit the gas hard in 3rd gear to 5,500+rpm and the tii just pulled and pulled and pulled. Strong and steady, I was past 85mph and didn't realize it .... not a torque-y "right now" pull, but steady and strong and linear. Very different from either loaner.

So to close this out, and hearken back to the thread about "mods versus value" ...... I discovered an entirely new side to the carbureted 2002. We know how well 2002's perform when in stock trim: incredible handling, good power, amazingly fun to drive. But I'm thinking it's not about "value" ..... it's about adding a few mods/upgrades and then discovering a whole new world of driving experience. I certainly did.



p.s. the silver loaner, followed by the black loaner .....



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I recently sold my carbed 02 and purchased a tii. The carbed car had a weber, tii exhaust manifold and was in tune. Stock other wise. It had great low end power, no need to down shift to pass or go up a hill.... And i live at altitude.

The tii has nothing under 3500 rpm. I had never driven a tii before this one so I have nothing to compare it too other than the carbed car. I know the engine has a different cam and pistons, so I attributed this lack of low end performance to that. Above 3500 the power comes on fast and pulls hard to 6000rpm. The engine runs great, idles well, no other issues.

Is this low end lack of power a tii characteristic?

Is the stock torque curve steep on the low end?


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The yin and the yang indeed. We need each other, mod guys and stock guys. We need everybody in between. Do you want to drive it? Look at it? Sell it? How much of each?


Even I, posterboy for the "you only live once" end of the spectrum, also enjoy restraint and elegance from time to time. Might even teach me a thing or two. 


At any rate it's a comparatively easy canvas (to a Porsche) to play with. Do what makes you happy and screw everyone else! : ) 


Pura vida,



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Sure, you can paint over a Picasso, if you want.  Go ahead. It's yours, right?  


However, if you think these '02's have intrinsic value because of when, where, why and how they were produced, marketed, driven, and that they have had a far reaching implication for motorsports and BMW and the automobile industry in general...then...I would suggest you leave these cars stock.  They're only original once.  And they're becoming collectable which is to say their worth rises concomitantly.  The majority of the 02s have been modded out.  Its the rare car that is now stock.  

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My two cents:  In 1974 I bought a 74tii, fiord blue, tan interior.  I drove that thing like it was stolen.  Didn't take me a month to put Konis on all for corners, twist down the front ones, flip the tower plates, and put the best rubber I could find on it.  There were a lot of cars that were fast back then, but the tii was just FAST.  Everywhere, all the time.  It met a sad end: let a woman talk me out of it, and then she abandoned it in North Carolina.  Never saw it again.

Fast forward thirty years: saw this stock looking green tii on Roadfly.  Belonged to a stock broker in Del Mar, used to be the kicker for the Pats.  Took one look and rolled out the cash.  It was a local car that he had "restomoded", complete with dual throttle bodies, Stahl header, Schrick cam, Mahle pistons, big valves, the whole nine yards.  This one goes like hell, looks stock, and the paint is even good on it.  Would I like to have my old one back?  Of course.  Do I miss it when I have my foot in the green monster?  Nope.

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I think original appeals more for the collector or the person who just wants to drive one for nostalgic purposes. But it's different for a person who enjoy's the driving experience and tuning like me. I'm more on the progressive side so I do enjoy the updated parts new technology has to offer to make the car even better than it was original. It enhances my driving experience. But I value keeping the car looking as classic as possible with a few modern touches. My .02 cents. =)

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Interesting comments all. Everyone has their goals and reasons for owning a 2002.  All of my car projects represent cars that I like. The FFR Cobra was my first big car project some 10 years ago. The kit was purchased to keep me busy and check off a bucket list item that was to build a car.  I wanted the experience and a car that was "different" and engaging to drive.  the other option at the time was to pick up a Austin-Healey3000 but a full resto was too ambitious.  Heck, I wasn't even a roadster/cabrio guy.  In the end the FFR was a tremendous learning experience that continues to pay dividends today. 


Now I'm about to embark on my next car project: the Chamonix 2002 purchased some 6 years ago from a neighbor. It was a tired, old, neglected, automatic. I immediately invested the time and effort to get it on the road again. It was OK at best, but not the legendary drive I expected the 2002 to be.  This reality was made more evident as I got the opportunity to drive some other 2002 - both stockish and modded.  And boy do we have some very nice 2002s in the D.C. area; Marshall, JGerock, Marc Caden, to name a few.


Fast forward to now with a rekindled desire to renew my efforts to "reimagine" the 2002.  Like the Cobra, it's slated to become another great learning experience. A restoration with comprehensive interior and exterior work, engine (EFI, dizzy-less ignition, turbo, etc.), suspension, and tech is on tap.  Don't worry, it'll maintain most of its "period-correctness".  The goal is to have a fun, reliable, engaging, daily-driver-esk car to sate my desire for an older 911.


In the end, life is too short to worry if you're ruining a classic 2002. As mentioned before, it's a great canvas for which to paint your rolling "masterpiece".  Go for it!



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some great stuff here, it really is a massive chalk and chesse/different strokes for different folks! in my opinion we are all very lucky to own/have owned these cars, im still such a newbie with only 6 months under my belt of ownership but i can safely say this car has been the most satisfying car to own, in terms of driving experience and with regards to how this car can be modified to allow each other to have an induvidual style!


the problem over here in the UK is we do not have many of these left and its getting harder and harder to get parts for them and therefore a nut and bolt resto would be near impossible so we are left with one option really which is to enjoy them for what they are.


ive learnt more about mechanics and tuning in the last 6 months than i have in the last 10years or owning cars, this bmw really has opened my eyes to see that anything is possible with one of these things

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