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What year to buy?


pjo33us
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Alright, so I am planning on getting a non-tii 2002 within the next 6 months or so. I have not owned one in 20 years (a 69 wide body boy racer). Currently running an e46 330xi as DD which I have owned for about a year.

I am looking for fairly sound car in need of an engine rebuild and/or a respray with minimal rust. I figure I should be able to find something fairly close as I am in Colorado. Cheap and rust free are the key words!

My questions are as follows:

What year car should I be looking for? I know there are 3 generations with the 74 to 76 cars being the most structurally sound? Correct me if I am wrong.

What about the smog equipment? In Colorado there is no emission testing so I would like to lose all of that stuff. How hard is this to do? Is there a DIY somewhere?

Finally, I find my E46 ridiculously easy to work on for as complex as the car is. Will I have any issues with anything on a 2002? I do recall the window regulators on the 2002 are harder to change out!

Thanks guys.

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When it comes to cheap & rust-free, it's easier to find a squaretail that is cheap and (mostly) rust-free. You can find a roundie that is cheap, but probably not free of rust. Roundies command higher prices. There is nothing wrong with the '74-'76 cars except the massive bumpers. If you hate them enough, they can be swapped for the earlier style bumpers. As to removing the dreaded smog equipment, the FAQ search is your friend. So, yank that stuff out of there and get a tii exhaust manifold in place of the goofy one that was connected to the smog stuff. It's your personal preference when it comes to color, year, modifications, etc. Decide what you like best before you shop in earnest. Find an '02 buddy in your area to help you look some '02's over. See what you like and what you don't like & then buy one!

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Thanks for the input... so changing out the smog equipment is a function of replacing the exhaust? I was thinking this car would be a street/track car anyway...depending on what I buy, so I figure on a set of headers and a free flow exhaust... problem solved?

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It really comes down to the condition of the car in question and if it has a sunroof, (2002s with out sunroofs are really just parts cars anyway) rather than the year, they all can be desmoged easily enough. 72's and on all come with 2bbl carbs and that manifold can get you up to a weber 40/40 carb with a bit of mods.

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It really comes down to the condition of the car in question and if it has a sunroof, (2002s with out sunroofs are really just parts cars anyway) rather than the year, they all can be desmoged easily enough. 72's and on all come with 2bbl carbs and that manifold can get you up to a weber 40/40 carb with a bit of mods.

I think I am missing something. What's wrong with no sunroof?

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I have a 74 NON-sunroof car, my DD, restored and modified car. I have to admit when driving I am glad I have the bigger tail lights. If you take a poll I would bet a large number of the round tail light cars have been rearended more than square ones. I think the round tail light cars look great so please that is not a bash.

Never heard anyone ever consider a non-sunroof car a parts car. I actually watned a non-sunroof car.

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I'm no expert, but I owned a nearly new '76 20 years ago and when the muffler fell off one day, I had to replace it. So I did, but along the way, I decided to put on headers, which required the removal of the smog plumbing attached to the exhaust manifold and once I did that, I figured, why not pitch the smog pump and once I did that, I got rid of all of the various tubing connected to it and the intake manifold, plugged all the open holes where the tubes attached, put on a Weber and voila: new car! I new absolutely nothing about anything, did what I mentioned and had a better running car with no problems.

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This discussion continued for many years in the Roundel and elsewhere. the general concensus was that the late 72 and the 73 model years were the "best." The reasoning went like this:

1. roundies are about 200 lbs lighter than squarelights due to bumper reinforcements, etc.

2. With the E12 head introduction in late '72, the engines ran clean enough to drop the air pump and much of the smog stuff that had plagued the E121 head cars.

3. Upholstery quality on the roundies was far superior to the squarelights. The Mark's value was rising against the dollar so quickly that to remain competitive in the US market, BMW had to save some $$ somewhere; they chose trim vs mechanical bits.

In a more personal preference segment, the arguement was that the metal grilles and round taillights of the earlier cars was the original, more pure design, and of course didn't have the giant bumpers.

Bottom line--buy what rings your bell.

cheers

mike

PS--sunroof cars actually have more heavily reinforced roofs than non-sunroof cars...

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