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BMW 02 Series Rear Panel Badging

BMW 02 Series Rear Panel Badging

A History of BMW 02 Series Rear Panel Badging, Including Changes and Placement of Numbers, Letters, Script, Badges, Roundels, and Emblems for the Rear Panels of 1502, 1600-2, 1602, 1800, 1802, & 2002 BMW Sedans, & Touring Cars 1600, 2000, 2000tii, 1800, 1802, 2002, 2002tii, along with Baur Cabriolets and Other 02 Variants, 1966-77



The authors researched the design and placement of rear panel (tail panel) identification letters and numbers, script, roundels, and other emblems fitted to all factory-produced BMW 02 cars. We intend to document the chronology of placement, emblem details, and position of various rear panel badging equipped on 02 cars. The presence of original or properly restored rear panel badges can assist in identifying 02 models and car options. The authors also try to address the timing and reasoning behind the evolution of the BMW 02 rear panel badging. We did reach out to the BMW Group Archives for this article and welcome any other input or insights into our presentations and findings. Photographs were either taken from open source sites on the web, or permission to publish was given by various car owners. We also give some extensive treatment to badging of Alpina-tuned cars and badging unique to Baur-modified cars, as well as tail panel badging for rare 02 factory models and owner preference 02 cars such as tribute cars, clones, and restomods..


BMW 1600 Emblems by tjones02


Rear panel badging on various cars is often a primary source for recognition of the marque, year model information, and/or the options these cars possess. The roughly 10-12 years of production of the BMW 02 Series is no exception, with rear panel badging often as iconic as the kidney grilles. With rear badging in mind, this article attempts to have a source for “one-stop shopping” of the details surrounding rear panel ornaments on all 02 factory models, including variants, plus common owner preference/modified cars. The authors welcome additions and critique associated with our intent to document rear panel emblems for these 02 cars, as we understand some differing points of view related to everyone’s knowledge of and passion for these BMW 02 cars. Please PM with comments.


BMW 2002 Emblems and Roundels


We’ll start with the “platform” for this rear panel emblem article—the actual sheet metal rear panel parts. Three separate tail panels were produced for BMW 02 production cars, not counting unique panels associated with the 1600 GT, GT4 Frua Coupe, and several Baur prototypes. The first panel, with part number 41 34 5 434 100, had badge mounting sites in several different locations, the first exclusive to 1966-1968 1600-2 cars and prototypes. A second location was used for the Baur cars, later 1600-2, 1602, and all other 2002 sedans and variants through September 1973.


The second tail panel for BMW 02 cars was stamped beginning in 1971 for the hatchback Touring cars, and the rear panel part number for all these Touring cars (1971-1974) is 41 34 1 808 735. (The Touring car was never made with square taillights).  The third and final 02 tail panel was stamped to accommodate the so-called “square taillight” cars. This part number is 41 34 1 828 988. The calendar year 1973 utilized both the round and square taillight rear panels, as the model year changed in September 1973. The square taillight tail panel was also used on all BMW Turbo 02 models. 

The Early BMW 1600 Cars

No serious study of the early 02 Series cars should go without mention of early archivists and history writers. This article explores the rear panel emblems on the first 1966 production cars and significant tail panel emblem changes surrounding the 1967 and 1968 cars. A more complete treatment of the early 1600-2 cars can be found in “The ’66 Bible” by Anders Bilidt. Many books and articles have been written on these older BMW cars, not to mention the wonderful information available through BMW Group Classic and their BMW Group Archive. We also relied on certain information from The Alpina Book, by Paolo Tumminelli. We could not consult all references, but we tried our best.


As noted above, for purposes of this article, we did not attempt to thoroughly address the 1600 GT cars, 1967-1968, as the emblems were all mounted on the trunk lid, not the rear panel. To our knowledge, the trunk lid badging never changed on these GT cars, and there was never factory badging on the rear panel as seen on a rare 1967 BMW 1600 GT convertible and the BMW 1600 GT coupe.


BMW 1600 GT Convertible


BMW 1600 GT Coupe


The first BMW 02, the 1600-2, was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1966. The rear panel badging consisted of a single BMW letter/number script with no roundel emblem. The three photos below illustrate a typical, early 1600-2 rear badging in the rear panel's top right corner. Note the zeros in the 16oo script were in an odd “lowercase.” 1600 stands for the cc displacement of the engine, and the “-02” moniker means two doors.


Early BMW 1600-2


Early BMW 1600-2 Emblem Location


BMW 1600-2


Beginning in December 1966, the tail panel emblem changed. The BMW letter script went away entirely, and the 1600 numbers changed to all same-sized numbers, all at about VIN 1510977. For the first time on the tail panel of 02 cars, a Roundel emblem was added to the rear panel just before the 1600 number. The BMW Roundel insignia has been around on company stationery since the early 20th century and on many motorcycles and cars before the production of the 02 Series, but this is the first time the iconic roundel would appear on the rear panel of an 02 car.


The upper right-hand portion of the rear panel, between the beltline and the top of the panel, is relatively narrow and has a peculiar surface shape. This area is about 70 mm in height, from the beltline to the top of the panel. Small, convex reveals in the sheet metal at the top and bottom of this portion of the rear panel combine to form a distinctly concave center shape to the mounting surface. In other words, above the beltline, this “upper” portion of the rear panel does not lend itself to absolute flush mounting of any script badging or emblems. 


BMW 1600-2 Insignia with Roundel


This uneven mounting surface was manageable when the rear badging was simply the BMW16oo part. So it seems that all rear panel emblems mounted in this “upper zone,” whether scripted letters or numbers, badges, or other emblems, are mounted to this slightly concave surface.


Such a mounting surface for the single-part letter/number script of early 1600-2 cars was inconvenient for the added, new roundel badge. The mounting surface of the roundel, and indeed the roundel itself, had to be designed and machined to accommodate a proper fit for the mounting to negotiate both the concave center of the mounting surface and the convex reveals in the tail panel sheet metal at the top and bottom of the fitment surface.


Approximate mounting spot

Part 51 14 5 480 182 shows these small roundels' intricate mounting surface machining. In this case of this part, the word "Roundel" is a bit of a misnomer, as these smaller roundels are not perfectly round. The width of the roundels, as measured along the axis of the mounting studs, is 63 mm, whereas the height of the roundel is 60 mm. These roundels are no longer available, but an NOS part was acquired for some of the photos in this article and an ongoing 1600 restoration.


Early BMW 1600-2 Roundel


Not all of these smaller roundels were embossed with the part number on the back side of the badge. As shown above, the outer, top surface has embossed "BMW" letters, raised concentric rings, and raised crosshatching separating the blue and white colors. Some owners have reported their roundels came entirely silver, but that's highly unlikely and presumed to be caused by years of weather wear on the paint or other assaults to the emblem. The underside view shows the distinct oval shape of this roundel.


Back of Early BMW 1600-2 Roundel


The thickening of the longitudinal edges of the roundel can be compared to the relative thinness of the top and bottom. There is also a distinct machined bevel at the mounting surface. These features combine to make the emblem appear flat when mounted on an undulating sheet metal surface. These tricky little roundels and their "top spot" for rear panel mounting were used only with BMW 1600-2 sedans, December 1966-January 1968, and in some early BMW 1600-2 Baur prototypes. For BMW 1600-2 sedans, the upper mounting position for tail panel emblems and the small roundel was phased out between January 1 and January 15, 1968, between VIN numbers 1562248 and 1562310. There are reports of later 1600-2 sedans having the small roundel and upper badge mounting location, although unconfirmed as factory mountings. Many experts think no definitive cut-off date or VIN is known for the cessation of use of these small roundels.


BMW 1600-2 Roundel - Side View


Not to belabor the point, but note the thinner top and bottom edges to roundel, thicker sides at the center of the emblem, but a constant width to the final beveling surrounding the badge at the mounting surface. This machine work allows the roundel to "nest" within the concave and convex mounting rear panel surfaces between the beltline and panel top, yet outwardly appear to be mounted flush. The result was an attractive look, which included having the roundel's outer surface stand out "proud" of the panel stampings and trim. 


BMW 1600-2 Roundel - Top View


In September 1967, BMW introduced a new 02 model, the BMW 1600ti. For purposes of this article, the most exciting bit of information about this new performance car is the design of the new roundel and the location of the emblem and number script. We could find only one promotional video of the new 1600ti in which the prototype badging was at the top location, and this badge had no “ti” at the end—just the roundel and 1600 number. The front grille badge of this same car did have the full 1600ti script badge.


During production of the 1600ti, BMW used a larger roundel (about 70 mm in diameter, and this one is round) and with the emblem/badging fixed to a flat mounting surface--the sheet metal portion of the tail panel next to the rear license plate bracket. Later, in January 1968, all 02 Series cars and all subsequent variants of the 02 cars, including the Baur cabriolets, were badged in this same position until the 1974 model year. The earliest 1600ti that we can confirm had this lower badge mounting location, and larger roundel is VIN 1580144, September 1967, and the newest 1600ti we have recorded is VIN 1588015, with a build date in August 1968. 


Lower Location of Rear Panel Badging Array Shown in Owner's Handbook


Ironically, "ti" stands for "Touring International" but the 1600ti was never sold in the USA due to emissions standards.


BMW 1600ti


BMW 1600ti



The correct roundel for the lower mounting position for the 1600ti and many other lower badged 02 Series cars is still widely available, either NOS or as a reproduction. An authentic roundel will be metal with BMW letters and silver rings raised around painted surfaces. The BMW part number is 51 14 1 801 560. The rear panel “1600ti” script is available as a reproduction or, if you're lucky, as a NOS part. The BMW part number is 51 14 1 802 112. Plastic roundels of this 70 mm size, with smooth exterior surfaces, are also sold (sometimes under the same part number), but finding an authentic example or repainting an original is best. Many restoration tips can get you started here.


New, Larger Roundel for the Lower Badging of the 1600ti and Many Other Future 02 Series Cars


Rear Badging in the Lower Position, 1968-1973

Early in 1968, the iconic BMW 2002 hit the market. As with the 1600ti, all badging for the 2002 and its pre-1974 variants were with the badge array to the right of the license plate bracket, with the larger roundel above. The appropriate script number/lettering that identified the model was mounted below the roundel. This badging location, with the same roundel and differing script depending on the model, continued through the change in model years 1973-1974. 


This was also true for the 2002, 2002ti, 2002tii, 1600, 1602, and 1802  sedans, and the Baur 1600 and 2002 full cabriolets, as well as all Baur 2002 “Top Cabriolet” variants, until the 1974 model year. 

In a phrase, this lower right spot was a tail panel badging location and roundel/script badge array system that lasted almost seven years, over half of the BMW 02 production lifespan. This rear panel emblem system originated from the scrappy 1600ti badging array location in September 1967. Most of the 02 Series rear panel badge arrays, including the Baur convertibles and cabriolets and all 2002 variants up until model year 1974, utilized this lower position for the roundel and number/script location. Touring cars had a letter/number script below the Touring emblem and a roundel on the hatchback lid.


European BMW 2002 Showing 1968 Lower Badging Array


Later BMW 1602 Badging


The 1802 was available in Europe as a sedan in April, 1971. The 1802 had 2002 pistons and a 1600 crank shaft. An automatic version was available in Israel in limited numbers. 


BMW 1802


The tail panel badging on the first 1968 BMW 2002 sedans was always in the lower right position on the rear panel, until the advent of the "square taillight" body styles in the 1974 model year. Then, all 02 cars took on badging at the top right of the rear panel again, in sort of a "back to the future” move.


Early BMW 2002 Badging


In May 1969 BMW offered an automatic transmission 2002 option with VIN 2530001. The "Automatic" script was mounted above the beltline trim in the upper right corner, as shown below. Interestingly, automatic transmissions were not offered in the BMW 1602, and only in about 100 1802 cars were produced for the Israeli market. 


Automatic Badging on an Early BMW 2002


The dual carburetor 2002ti was rear-badged in the same place as its 1600ti predecessor and other 02 Series variants of the day.


BMW 2002ti Badge


After the ti, along came the 2002tii, below, with "tii" roughly translated as Touring International (fuel) Injected. This may have been the most sought after BMW “cult” model in 02 Series history. Enough of them were around to be available and affordable. 


BMW 2002tii

Baur Coachworks and Early Cabriolets

The BMW cabriolets came in several models, and the tail panel badging of the early prototypes is interesting. BMW challenged the Karmann Factory and Baur Coachworks to build an open car prototype suitable for production. Karmann built one type, the red car shown below—BMW rejected that design. Note the upper 1600 script location and small roundel badge on this Karmann Cabriolet prototype. 


Karmann Cabriolet prototype


Baur Coachworks actually built three prototypes to try to satisfy BMW request for an open car. One was a coupe with a sunroof, which was rejected by BMW (the 2000 C coupe series, already on the market, had an electric sunroof option at the time of this Baur coupe prototype).  This low-slung coupe was limousine-like! Note the 1600 script with a small roundel badge in a high position, a location similar to many late 1967 cars.


Baur Coachworks Coupe Prototype


Baur Coachworks Coupe with Sunroof Prototype


While we are not sure of the order of these prototypes, a second Baur prototype was known as the 1600-2 “student’s car” roadster. There are two pictures below, one side view and one rear view next to the above Baur sunroof coupe. Note that the tail badging on the “student’s car” is mounted on the top left of the rear panel, and on close inspection, this is the BMW 1600 emblem from the early 1966 1600-2 cars, with an unknown badge to the right. Placing the badge in the upper left location on this car is unusual. The older 1966 version of the BMW 1600 script badge adds uniqueness. It is intriguing to find the meaning of the rectangular emblem positioned to the right of the BMW 1600 badge!


Baur BMW 1600-2 Cabriolet "Student's Car" Prototype


Baur BMW 1600-2 Cabriolet "Student's Car" Prototype


The last, early 1600-2 cabriolet prototype, the one accepted by BMW, had tail panel badging in the "top" position with the small roundel, as shown on the early sales brochure car below. We believe BMW used the same prototype for their early ad campaign. 


Accepted BMW 1600-2 Cabriolet Prototype


Baur BMW 1600-2 Cabriolet Prototype


For production Baur convertibles, VINs 1557001-1557007 were the first six production cars, and we cannot verify that any of these cars were “top badged” like the prototype convertibles, even though these six production cars were built in calendar year 1967.  Baur Cabriolets, made after January 1968 apparently, consistently had the badging in the bottom right position location, next to the license plate bracket. While it is possible that some buyers could have ordered “top position” badging later in January 1968, it appears the lower right position was the normal production badging for all Baur cabriolets, 1968-1973. We understand supplier shortages or other circumstances could have caused some “high-badged” cabriolets to enter the production stream, but we did not find evidence of such factory anomalies.


Production Baur BMW 1600-2 Cabriolet


Baur BMW 2002 Cabriolet at BMW Museum



Baur BMW 2002 Targa


Baur Coachworks never used a rear badge for their company designation, marketed by BMW, but rather different fender badges for the full cabriolet (long, rectangular red badge below) and the smaller, more square badge (blue emblem below) for the “Top Cabriolet” or Targa-type top with the built-in roll-bar.


Baur BMW 1602 Full Cabriolet Badge


Baur BMW 2002 Targa Badge



The early 1970s was to bring a treasure trove of new 02 models, in addition to the 2002 and its variants. As in earlier years, several new models were only available in Europe.


Variations of BMW 2002 in the Early 1970s

The Touring Cars

In 1971, BMW began producing an entirely new model known as the BMW Touring. This was a three-door hatchback and only sold new in Europe. The first of these Touring cars appeared in three engine variants, the 1600, 2000, and 2000tii, but what was to follow was a dizzying array of choices, including the Touring  1800, 1802, 2002, and 2002tii. The tail panel number script badging was attached near the bottom of the rear panel, under the Touring script. The tail panels reflected all these changes and offerings in the Touring car.


BMW 1600 Touring


BMW 2000 Touring


BMW 1802 Touring


BMW 2002 Touring


BMW 2002tii Touring


The Automatic versions of the Touring car were given transmission identity below the model badging and above the bumper. This appears to be the same script badge used in the 1969 2002 sedan.


BMW 2000 Touring Automatic 

Square Taillight Rear Panels, 1974 and Beyond

September of 1973 marked the model change month for 1974 cars, and there were big changes. Not just automotive facelifts, but to be true to the metaphor, also some "butt tucks." Rear panels completely changed the badging array on almost every previous 02 Series model except the Touring car. 


The new square taillight rear panels had big changes in tail panel badging. To begin, please look at the new rear look of the basic BMW 1602 sedan. BMW moved the number script tail panel emblem up to the top right of the rear panel, in about the same spot as the 1966-1968 cars. The roundel was now missing from the tail panel and mounted only on the trunk lid.


1974 BMW 1602


The BMW 1802 was also available in Europe in 1974. Only manual transmission, no automatic option.


1974 BMW 1802


The iconic standard BMW 2002 was available, with a four or five-speed manual transmission. No special tail panel badging was offered to distinguish which manual gearbox was in the car. 


Late BMW 2002 Badge


In 1974, you could get an automatic transmission with your standard 2002, and the automatic was badged on the left side, top tail panel position, a relatively rare spot for badging among 02 Series cars.


Late BMW 2002 Automatic


In 1974, the Baur “Top Cabriolet” car also maintained the new tail panel look from the factory. Baur “Top Cabriolets” were available in the 2002 platforms only. There were no Baur ti or tii cars ever produced by Baur Coachworks or sold through BMW.


1974 Baur "Top Cabriolet" Targa



In 1975, BMW introduced a new 02 model, marketed as an economy car that would burn low-octane gasoline. The tail panel reflected this new economy model, the 1502.


BMW 1502


The 2002 was still available in 1975 in 4 speed or five speed, and this European model has small bumpers. The rear badging is the same as in 1974. 


European BMW 2002


The 1975 BMW 2002 was also available and badged as an automatic transmission-equipped car.  However, from VIN 2391461 a factory car may have been originally equipped with an automatic transmission but had no “Automatic” rear panel badge.


BarneyT’s Turkis 1975 automatic


Still around in 1975 was the 2002tii, with tail panel badging exactly like what appeared in 1974, as in the European model. 1975 was the last year of production for the 2002tii.


European 1975 BMW 2002tii


The Baur Top Cabriolet was still available in 1975, with typical square taillight badging. This would be the last year for the Baur 02 cabriolets, as none were produced in 1976 or 1977.


1975 BMW 2002 Targa



In 1976, the “economy model” BMW 1502 was still available, with tail badging exactly like the debut model in 1975.


1976 BMW 1502


In 1976, the last of the iconic 2002 cars were produced, with rear panel badging, fittingly, in the same spot as with the first 1600-2.


1976 BMW 2002 Badge


In 1977, BMW ended production of its 02 Series. The only model left to buy was in Europe, the BMW 1502, rear panel badge and roundel still mounted on the trunk lid.


1977 BMW 15002

Limited BMW 02 Cars

BMW 2002 Turbo

1974 through 1975, BMW offered its ultimate 02 Series muscle car, the BMW Turbo. This car had special tail panel badging, with the 2002 number script at the top right corner and Turbo at the left top. A roundel appeared at the bottom right, likely the same 70 mm roundel featured in the rear panel badging 1968-1973.


1974 BMW 2002 Turbo


1975 BMW 2002 Turbo

The 02 Series Lux Sedans, 1974-1975

The authors felt it was worth bringing up the rear badges of BMW Lux cars, in that during two years of production, and these models seemed to represent a trend. BMW seems to return to its wildly successful Neue Klasse roots of the 1960s by adding a luxury component to the 02 Series. In 1974, the rear panel badging moved back to the upper right of the rear panel, similar to the first 1600-2 cars. This seems like an important company turning point, as the Neue Klasse theme will be a part of BMW's product line in 2026. The now famous Tilux Neue Klasse 2-liter saloons, introduced in 1966, offered sports car performance with a nicely appointed, luxury interior. Wood trim and velour upholstery were among the interior niceties. Simultaneously, the Karmann Factory produced the 2000 C series cars, including a 2000 CS coupe with a manual transmission and a 2000 CA with automatic shift. These new coupes were equally well appointed with interior upgrades. During the waning years of 02 production, BMW pursued luxury with other models, such as the NK 2000, and the “New Six” 2800—both models produced contemporaneously with the last of the 02 cars.


1967 BMW 2000 CA, with typical “Lux” appointments of the day, velour upholstery, wood trim items, electric windows, and plush carpeting. Photo: Robert P. Smith

In 1974, BMW added the Lux package to spruce up the aging 02 Series, ostensibly until the first 3 Series could replace it. As the name implies, BMW designers focused on more luxurious interior features, adding a wooden ashtray surround, door trim capping, gear shift knob, and instrument binnacle. The steering wheel was padded, while the seats were covered in velour, similar to that used in the Neue Klasse cars of the 1960s. Similarly, there were door pockets, a rear-seat armrest, and velour carpets. From the outside, only a lockable fuel cap and the distinctive “L” accompanying the rear panel badge let the onlooker know this was a Lux model. 


BMW 1602 Lux Badging


BMW 1600 Lux Interior

The rear panel badging was not only in the upper right position, but also designed on a black plaque. The background plaque was black, no matter what color car was chosen, and the sweeping “L” for Lux, and script numbers, were always silver. Over these years of production, the Lux models were only available in Europe, and the Lux option was available in 1602, 2002, and 2002tii models. 


1975 BMW Tii Lux Badgeing



  BMW 2002Tii Lux velour upholstery inserts and the wood trim accents


BMW 2002 Lux Badging


BMW 1600 Lux Badging


BMW went on to offer a Lux option in models produced after the 02 Series, and apparently will feature a return to “Neue Klasse” in future models thus continuing a drift towards luxury that was revived within the 02 Lux-option years.


There may have been more than one Special 02 variant; cars produced in limited numbers, not available to the public at large, and with the cooperation of BMW. The only one we could find with good photo documentation was the “Diana.” Hubert Hahne, a BMW racing driver and agent, created twelve BMW Dianas. He gave one to his new wife, the German actress Diana Korner, as a wedding present.


BMW Diana Badge


Powered by Hubert Hahne on BMW Diana


BMW 2002 GT4

Also known at the BMW GT4 Frua Coupe, this car was produced in even smaller numbers than the Diana, only two cars in 1969 and 1970. The GT4 had 2002 tii running gear, and was designed by the famous Italian auto stylist Pietro Frua. The rear panel badging was truly unique, even if it did occur twice on both cars! However, the rear panel array does occupy the upper right position on the rear panel, and the roundel appears to be the 70 mm roundel used from 1968. The 2002 GT4 script badging is definitely something different on this beautiful and rare coupe


BMW 2002 GT4


BMW 1602 Elektro-Antrieb

BMW produced two electric cars, the Elektro-Antrieb (Electric Drive), apparently specifically for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The two experimental cars were built on the 1602 platform and are sometimes referred to as the "1602e." The cars were built not only for Olympic duties but also to investigate whether an electric drive unit would suit passenger vehicles. The engine bay contained a bank of 12 Varta 12V lead-acid batteries, while a Bosch DC shunt-wound electric motor replaced the gearbox with an output of 32kW (43hp), which sent a drive to the rear wheels. The car completed the Marathon course at the Munich games, serving as the Course Car. It also carried out other duties at the Olympics, such as camera cars for other events. Above, rear panel badging was the same as in any 1972 BMW 1602 production car.


BMW 1602 Elektro-Antrieb


Alpina entered their partnership with BMW in the early 1960s. Burkhard Bovensiepen, son of an industrialist who made Alpina Typewriters, began dabbling with tuning improvements on the 1961 Neue Klasse 1500 sedan. The first shop was in a small Bavarian town called Kaufbeuren, and at the suggestion of his Mother, Bovensiepen used the name ALPINA for his auto tuning business. 


Alpina Industrial Logo. Courtesy alpina-automobiles.com


With this 1500 BMW car, Bovensiepen had an underpowered vehicle with lots of room in the engine bay. The first performance improvements included twin Weber side draft carburetors and a 264-degree duration camshaft. The twin Webers and more aggressive camshaft brought about a huge performance improvement. By the time the 02 Series was in production in 1966, Alpina was ready with special performance parts and kits. And, on the subject of emblems, ALPINA used two script badges of note in the early days. The first was a script badge that took on a ‘typewriter” type font, as seen on the valve cover.


Alpina “Typeset” Emblem on Early 1600 Valve Cover

During these times, BMW certainly noticed this small tuning shop's success and considered their work to be the highest quality among many other tuners. Before updating the “typewriter” script badge, Bovensiepen decided ALPINA needed a logo, and his notion was of a round logo, not dissimilar in basic design from the BMW Roundel. So, the early ALPNA logo (1967-1971) was designed to show a “coat of arms” insignia, with the Weber carburetor body and velocity stacks in the red sector and the upgraded camshaft in the blue section, stylized images, of course.


Early Alpina Emblem from a Momo Steering Wheel


By 1965, BMW and ALPINA had a cooperating agreement, and perhaps the most significant part of that agreement was BMW’s willingness to extend their factory warranty to cars that had been fitted with ALPINA components. So when the 02 series was brought to market in the spring of 1966, AL-PINA was ready to upgrade these early 1600-2 cars.


Many thanks to Michael Compensis in Germany @Alpina-A0 for sharing precious photos and context for this article on ALPINA badging. The very first rear panel script badging (in Michael’s records) can be seen in a German magazine called ”Auto, Motor, und Sport,” with the article dated October 1, 1966. 


1966 1600-2, driven by Burkard Bovensiepen, with the “typewriter” font rear panel script badge at the taillight. Credit: Michael McCullers

Just one month later, the same rear panel badge appears in a Swiss magazine called “Automobile Illustrierte” dated November 4, 1966, and titled “BMW 1600-2 Alpina, Heißer Ren-ner in bürgerlichem Anzug.” The article title roughly translates to “hot racer in a mannerly suit,” but German sports car fanciers would interpret it as “Looks like a well-behaved civil car, but is actually a hot track car!” The car below bears the license plate is KF-N-7.


Rear panel Alpina “typewriter” script badge. Photo credit: Michael McCullers. German translation: Michael Compensis


A closer look at this early “typewriter” or “archaic” font rear panel script badge is provided below courtesy of the BMW 2002 Car Club of Great Britain, Alpina 02 Section. Note the mounting position in relation to the taillight surround and the belt trim oval cutouts. This may be the same badges were made of aluminum in fine detail. 


Early Typeset Alpina Rear Panel Badge

The “typewriter” or “archaic” script badge was also available in early Alpina performance kits. We are assuming the DIY owner of the kit could put the script badge on the rear panel as with the above cars, or on the valve cover, etc.


Early Alpina performance kits


Typeset Alpina Rear Panel Badge on BMW 1600 KF-N 7. Courtesy: Michael Compensis


We can document a second version of the Alpina script badge from April 1967; this version first showed up on the valve cover of a BMW engine on a test bench. The article “Auto, Motor und Sport” was published in the magazine on April 7, 1967. 


“Auto, Motor und Sport.” Courtesy Michael Compensis

This new style of script badge seems to suggest the “typewriter” script had been abandoned, so the early “archaic” font only lasted a little over two years and was shared by Neue Klasse and 02 Series cars from late 1964 to 1967.  The date of this photo is 1967. It should be noted that these early script badges were mounted in various places on the 1600-2 cars. 


Valve cover script. CourtesyALPINA at al-pina-automobiles.com.

On May 17, 1967, this “new” version of the script badge appeared on the hood of a 1600-2 car, a photo on the cover of “Hobby” magazine


Hobby Magazine from 1967

Another magazine ad for ALPINA wheels shows the same badge in the same front fender mounting location but with no Talbot mirrors this time. We believe this advertisement to be associated with an Alpina wheel advertisement, as the red car continues to sport MiniLites, the go-to light wheel standard for early ALPINA. Unlike the “typewriter” or “archaic” font script badges, which we believe were predominantly installed by ALPINA at the Kaufbeuren shop (except for DIY installation of script emblems provided in parts kits), this new design of Alpina script badge could be purchased as a separate item. It was not sold specifically for rear panel installation, so the buyer could install the badge wherever they pleased, on the valve cover, fenders, rear panels, etc. 


Magazine with Alpina Wheel Ad

The 01/1968 photo is of an early Alpina catalog/price list, from January 1968. See the fourth item from the top in teal color from the top, “ALPINA-Schriftzug. 180 mm lang…”


Early Alpina Catalog Pricing. Courtesy Michael Compensis


Alpina Lettering Catalog Translation



Alpina Lettering that you receive from the Catalog


Note the way the silver “underline” travels slightly past the two “A’s” in ALPINA, and the ends of the underline are cut at the same angle, sort of a “julienne cut,” if you will. We know these badges were used from 1967 through 1969, and it’s simply not clear when these second version script badges were discontinued, but perhaps before 1972. What is clear is that stickers and decals took the place of metal ALPINA ornaments sometime after 1972. Above badge was 180 mm long.


1968/1967 Alpina Badge


As noted above, the first examples of the second variation of the ALPINA script badges are evident in magazine article photos. Michael Compensis notes that at least one photo of KF-N 999 is from the Swiss magazine “Powerslide” in 1969. The photo is clearly showing a rear panel mounting spot in the “upper right” position above the belt line. It should be recognized that these were magazine publicity photographs, so the script badging would be expected. It may not have been a normal ornament on all early Alpina prepared cars or in all ALPINA performance kits. But script badges shown in auto magazine photos made some readers want script badges, too! Best guess: Some ALPINA performance parts equipped cars had script badges, and some did not.


Alpina "KF-N 999" , Credit Michael McCullers


This photo from the magazine “Auto Italiana’, June 1969, appears to show our friend KF-N 999 rebadged as a BMW 2002, flying Italian license plates and having a minor “pig cheek” job done to the rear fenders. The Alpina “second version” script badge is still there, top right position.


ALPINA BMW 2002 "KF-N 999." Credit Michael Compensis

In November 1968, the German magazine “Auto, Motor und Sport” featured a Polaris BMW 2002, license plate number KF-R-11, which shows the new version of the Alpina script badge mounted in the upper position above the beltline.


New version of the Alpina script badge

The calendar year 1973 was a transition year in many ways for the BMW 02 Series. The square taillight rear panel had slightly different opportunities for mounting badges in the “upper position” on either side, as the rear silver beltline was eliminated in favor of a more prominent, convex sheet metal re-veal in the stamping. So, for 1974, Alpina offered a significantly smaller script letter part, with a black background incorporated into the part. The background was plastic, and the letters chrome.


ALPINA Badge 1974 Version Credit Michael Compensis


The price list from August, 1974, shows this black plastic and chrome letter part as the very first line of the “BMW ALPINA” price list: “Alpina Markenzeichen (120 x 20 mm) sum Aufkleben auf die Karosserie seitlich oder hinten” with the literal translation being “Alpina Signet, to be stuck on the body, on the sides, or on the rear.” This is the first instruction we can find in BMW/ALPINA publications for the ALPINA script badge to be “stuck… on the rear!”  Eight items down from the top on the price list: "Schriftzuge “ALPINA”, seitlich auf die Motor-haube aufzukleben" translates as “ALPINA lettering stuck on the side of the Bonnet/Hood.” So, it appears now BMW and ALPINA are giving some guidance as to where these script badges should be mounted on the cars.


1974 Invoice. Courtesy Michael Compensis



Between 1974 and 1976, with complete BMW ALPINA automobiles coming from the new Buchloe Alpina Factory, much of the body badging was done using decals or stickers. Above please see the product and price list. The actual ALPINA sticker for the rear panel was relatively large, approximately 300 mm long, and came with Mounting Material and Alpina Cleaner Fluid.


Photos and PriceList for Alpina Stickers. Credit Michael Compensis.


A larger Alpina decal in a square light BMW 2002 in the upper right location is overpoweringly large when compared with the earlier “typewriter” font rear panel script badges or second version chrome badges! This is also where the BMW “2002” number script badge should be located.


BMW 2002 with large Alpina Decal. Credit @markmac


In the later days of 02 Series production, the ALPINA badging seemed to go much more in the direction of owner preference than any standard application. The car below does not only have a full decal kit but also an ALPINA  metal badge mounted on the left top position of the tail panel and the BMW factory number script badge in its proper position on the right top side of the rear panel.


Typical Alpina Decal Set As Installed at Buchloe Factory


BMW-ALPINA Roundel Badges have a complicated history. In the very early years, perhaps as early as 1966-1967, ALPINA developed a roundel that looked a lot like the official BMW roundel, but had the word “ALPINA” along the bottom curve of the roundel. By our eyes, the ALPINA part of the badge above seems to have a slightly larger font than the BMW lettering!


Early Alpina roundels

There were other versions of the ALPINA roundel, one that only said “ALPINA” with some white and blue shapes as background and some colors of the BMW Bavarian roundel. 


Alpina Roundel on a wheel. Credit Michael Compensis.


As the story goes, one or more ALPINA roundels were eventually seen in magazines, particularly the “Auto, Motor und Sport” issue in September 1967. After BMW saw the joint billing (top photo of car hood nose, above) and single billing ALPINA roundels (wire wheel center above), it was mutually agreed that these emblems would not be used due to too much similarity to the official BMW roundel. If you go to Alpina’s current official website, under the heading “Emblems,” you will see the following warning: "Incidentally, you should be suspicious if you see an Alpina emblem on the front or rear of a car. A genuine BMW ALPINA automobile never denies its roots and proudly bears the BMW emblem. You will only find the ALPINA emblem on the exterior on genuine ALPINA wheel sets and in the engine compartment.” Sellers use official BMW roundel part numbers for these emblems, so caveat emptor when viewing these items, which are not sanctioned by either BMW or ALPINA. Such roundels are not thought to be often emblems used on rear panels of 02 Series cars, but it appears they are made to possibly fit the hood or trunk lid. Just be aware they are not thought of highly of by the automakers. It’s also generally considered not correct to place an ALPINA badge of any sort on a car that has no Alpina performance heritage.


Modern “emblems” referred to in ALPINA’s warning.


The ALPINA “warning” statement specifically approves ALPINA lettering and badging associated with genuine ALPINA wheels as on this older steel wheel center with the “newer” coat of arms, adopted in 1971, with the crankshaft replacing the camshaft in the blue field.


Steel Wheel Center Cap with the “newer” Alpina coat of arms


 Alpina Coat of Arms Evolution. Camshaft to Crankshaft. Credit Michael Compensis


 While the authors did not specifically focus on race cars in this article, this Alpina historical account was too good to pass up, given the gentlemanly discussions about Alpina roundels. We quote from The Alpina Book, edited by Paulo Tumminelli: “Without the permission of BMW, a white-red-blue sticker was used for the 1968 season racing cars.” Note the rear panel placement of the sticker! The authors appreciate the courtesy and highly recommend The Alpina Book for more information


White-red-blue sticker as used for the 1968 season racing cars.


As I final remark in our Alpina section, we remember Burkhard Bovensiepen, 1936 to 2023. Alpina published a statement on the occasion of his October 2023 passing, which reads as follows: “Burkard Bovensiepen was a visionary, a perfectionist, and a man of clear ideas. When he had an idea in mind, he never tired of refining it until it matched his vision and expectations 100 percent.”

Owner Preferences

Tribute 02 Cars

Typically, tribute cars within the 02 Series are someone’s best attempt to build and restore a car to a fine condition on an appropriate platform but to the near exact specifications of a factory original or variant. In other words, creating a car that did once exist, but on a different platform and obviously at a later point in time, and not in a factory setting, but to near exact specifications of the original car.

There are many 02 tribute cars out there, but we found one worth showing for discussion purposes, nuances, and with permission of the owner. In the Alpina Tribute Car below, Michael McCullers of BMW2002FAQ took a very nice 1967 1600-2 and made it into an Alpina Tribute Car. Many folks make 1600ti Tribute Cars out of early 1600-2 sedans, but Michael took his tribute more directly to an original Alpina platform lookalike. 


Michael McCuller's BMW 1600 Alpina Tribute


Early Alpina cars, fitted at the Kaufbeuren shop in Germany or outfitted with an ALPINA performance kit, were never identical. So, the challenge for this Alpina Tribute build is to produce a car in modern times that would have utilized parts of the period and have period aesthetics.


Michael McCuller's Alpina Tribute BMW 1600


Alpina Wheels on a BMW 1600



Most of Michael McCuller's work is under the hood with an original (and rare) Alpina performance kit, correct and period engine work, and period suspension components with Alpina wheels. Michael kept the original rear panel roundel and script location, true to his 1600-2 donor car, as would have been correct back in the day. So this Alpina tribute, correctly, has no Alpina rear panel emblem. The only exterior giveaway that this car may be an Alpina performance 1600-2 are the Alpina period wheels. All the rest are Alpina items that you can’t see from outside. 



Seats and interior trappings much like the kit.


"ALPINA-Anlage" (ALPINA Kit System) was used in the build. Michael nailed this ALPINA tribute car, even down to the beautiful interior features. 


"ALPINA-Anlage" (ALPINA Kit System)

In his pre-build research, Michael McCullers also discovered a "Car and Driver" magazine ALPINA Works Specification Sheet, including a Check List, for a 1967 1600-2. Note the only rear panel emblem on the car below is the factory "upper location" 1600 number script, preceded by the small roundel. While many of the engine specifications in the Car and Driver guidance was for a 1,990 cc engine, Michael applied other applicable information to assure that his 1600-2 Alpina tribute was as conforming to general Alpina features of the period.


"Car and Driver" magazine ALPINA Works Specification Sheet


This is an interesting specifications sheet that calls out specifications for a 1990 cc engine. Thus, an ALPINA-sanctioned engine swap was used to obtain maximum performance. Michael's car above maintains it's 1600 cc engine, but this spec sheet circumstance illustrates the ability to build a correct ALPINA tribute car with an engine swap, just as Alpina did back in the day. No holds were barred in these early days of Alpina, and performance was the top ALPINA goal.

As a fitting end to this section on Tribute Cars, note the photo below, which should seem familiar: our KF-N 999 Alpina discussed in the ALPINA section.


Alpina Tribute Car for KF N 999. Photo Courtesy Michael Compensis



For this article, we will call “clones” 02 cars that people thought would be a good idea or even constructed to feign as being rare or unusually valuable, but were never produced by any BMW facility nor condoned by BMW as a “Special.” Clones are claimed to be genuine BMW cars, hence the connotation. Below, please see the tail panel treatment on a “1600ti” Touring car, of which BMW has never offered any. In other words, it can’t be a tribute car if the vehicle was never produced or condoned as an official BMW product, or as a Special. If it’s being represented as original, it’s clearly a clone. But if the owner is openly representing the car as modified significantly from any BMW-affiliated version, represented as “should have been one but never was”, then it may fall in the next group of non-original 02 cars, restomods. See the 1600ti clone below. We are assuming it’s a clone, the language in the sales ad reading the car is “the rarest of the E10 Series.”


BMW 1600ti Touring that was never built by BMW


BMW 1600ti Touring that was never built by BMW

Restomod Cars and Tail Badges

Restomod cars come in a wide variety within the BMW 02 Series. Most 02 restomods were originally 1600 cc cars modified by “updating” the engine with a 2-liter motor and updated running gear. Genuine Alpina cars or Tributes are not considered restomods, as they conform to a build by Alpina, a company that was officially approved by BMW. An example of a restomod is an early VIN 1600-2 full cabriolet that has been fitted with a 2002 engine and then re-badged to indicate the new status.  Body, VIN, and badging say “It’s a restomod.”


Restomod BMW 1602 Cabriolet with 2.0L engine and 2002 badge


In most cases, tribute cars, clones, and restomods turn out to be less valuable and less desirable than if they had been restored to original, but there are definitely some exceptions.


The old car hobby has many facets! We hope this article has added to your general knowledge of BMW 02 Series cars, and perhaps caused you to “check your rear panel badging!”

About the Authors 

Robert P. Smith @BritshIron is a long-time sports car fancier who retired in Hawaii. He has collected and maintained antique sports cars as a hobby for over fifty years.


Les Cartwright @02Les is a retired BMW hobbyist living in Tennessee. He's kept extensive records of 02 VINs, sales, and BMW build records for many years. 


Steve Kupper @steve k. is the owner and operator of 2002FAQ

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That' some fantastically detailed nerdage, well done! Not in your remit, but probably worthy of a reminder that the '66 cars were the only ones to get an extra badge on the dashboard.




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In the not too distant past, an owner of a 1602 with the enameled rear panel blau mit weiss was trying to scare up a replacement after his was pried off and stolen.    These items are getting rare are they not. 

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It is finally here. It took several months from the idea to the "print." I even accidentally published it once before it was completed. I hid the comments that were placed at that time as they are irrelevant anymore. If you still want your comment unhidden, please let me know.


Thank you, @BritshIron and @02Les , for most of the work here. I was just an editor.


Steve K.

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This article started for me with a multiple year restoration project for my first BMW, a 1600-2 built in September 1967. What I discovered was not only an interesting machine, but also an incredibly welcoming BMW community, especially through BMW2002FAQ. The kidney grilles are iconic, but the tail panels have stories to tell too. Many thanks to Steve Kupper for his editorial patience, and Les Cartwright for his understated depth of 02 Series knowledge. Finally, in carrying out this article and another several years ago, I have met people from all over the world who have donated their time and knowledge to a complete stranger, and in the process contributed to a collective knowledge about these wonderful, legendary vehicles. Mahalo! Robert P. Smith, BMW Hobbyist 

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Just WOW!  As someone pretty new to the 02's and now living in Portugal, and looking at several 1600's at the moment, this is quite timely in my learning curve, so a big Obrigado to all!

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OMG. Fabulous. This is truly a great article!


And the photos! Perfect!


What subject will you guys take on next?




Best regards,


Steve C.

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9 minutes ago, jimk said:

Great Article!


I beg your pardon, I spotted a duplicate paragraph, if you are accepting editorial comments.


Thank you!  I think I found it and fixed it.  Was it after the Touring section?

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1 hour ago, steve k. said:


Thank you!  I think I found it and fixed it.  Was it after the Touring section?

That was it.


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