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Hello Again Old Friend



On August 1, 1969 My mom bought this 1600 from Hafkemeyer BMW Motors in Kansas City, Missouri.  It was her first car and it was my uncle who convinced her to buy the BMW over a Volvo at the time.  She paid $2,700.   It was sold as a demonstrator and appears to have been slightly discounted.  The black and white picture is of it in Nebraska shortly after purchase.  She named it Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse and it brought her on her move from Nebraska to Connecticut and served as her daily driver for years.  When I was born in 1977 it was the car that transported me around.  This is the car I cut my knee on climbing out of the back seat as a kid, leaving a scar I can see faintly to this day.  The car I watched my Dad grind stuck lug nuts off in our driveway after I hammered tacks into one of the tires, something I’m sure seemed like a good idea at the time.  Records from the 70’s and 80’s show the usual maintenance for a car in everyday use.  Tune-ups, brake jobs, u-joint replacements, exhaust work, cooling system service, suspension parts, and in 1976 and 1981 it received transmission replacements.  Both used.  I know the story of driver error behind 1 transmission failure.  I assume the second was just a result of an already used part wearing out.  In 1986 my parents bought a Mazda and parked the BMW in the back corner of their garage where it was little-used each year.  My Dad’s records for insurance show exactly how many miles it was driven in the years between 1986 and 1995.  In 1995 I turned 18 and the keys were turned over to me and on my birthday I took it for its first drive.  When I was almost back to the house a radiator hose split creating a cloud of steam and teenage moodiness.  I limped it back to the house and soon began the job of putting the car back into daily use.  In the years between 1995 and 1998 I cleaned it up, took care of a few things like replacing cracked hoses, having the radiator recored, some body work to the doors and fenders, a new clutch when it started to slip, and a timing chain when that started to slap. I have receipts for a few things that now I have no memory of and are not specific enough to know what I bought parts for.  I had my senior high school picture taken with it in 1996.  When I moved to a place with street only parking in college I bought a Honda and again parked the BMW in the back of my parents’ garage, never meaning to leave it for that long as I did.  Life happened, times were busy, and again the car sat.  Every once in a while when visiting I would sit in the driver’s seat remembering and think about getting it back on the road. With other irons in the fire and other vehicles to work on it was always easy to put it off until later.  3 years ago my wife and I bought our first house, and for the first time had a garage of our own to store the car in.  A tow truck pulled it back into the light of day for the first time in over 20 years and moved from one garage to another.  There it sat for the last 3 years, patiently waiting for me to give it the attention it deserves.  I have my dad to thank for the records kept, years of free storage, and the fact that in all those years, even though it wasn’t being driven, insurance and registration never lapsed.   The car has always been ready for the day when I could get back to it.  A few weekends ago I cleaned the garage and got into it for the first time since it had been moved.  The time sitting has taken its toll.  It’s dirty and the interior is in need of a lot of elbow grease.  The first step is going to be to get it out in the sun and cleaned up.  After that I’ll start the process of assessing needs and picking away at things.  The plan is to return it to drivable condition, more or less picking up where I left off in 1998.  Once I get that far I’ll gradually work on everything not directly related to getting it to drive up the street safely under its own power.  My vehicle working season runs mostly from the end of July to late August due to my work schedule. Between now and then I’ll do some armchair research on what I expect to need and generally familiarize myself again with the mechanical side of things. It feels good to be at the beginning of the next chapter in the 43 year relationship I’ve had with it. It’s time to give it the place it deserves in my small stable of vehicles. 














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Yes!  Fantastic story.  I'm excited for you.  This is what is so relatable about 2002's.  Best of luck with the refresh, note that plenty of people here love helping out, especially when the owner obviously gets it!

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Great story! You and your parents really took care of this 02. Daily driver status in New England and it still looks pretty solid.

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That's really nice to hear, as it is part of  your family history. Never sell the car.


Your car is very solid with a perfect or near perfect interior. It's almost ready for the road. Before taking it out change out those rotted strut bearings.



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