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Story Of My 02 And How To Celebrate Its Bday (Cheesy And Long)


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Wierd title I know but last night I got curious to see what my VIN could tell me about the car. Aside from originally being Blue (apparently 114 Hellblau unless I read it wrong), I found out its my cars bday this month. Being a 74 its turning 39 this month and getting a new heart, new rims tires, etc, basically a new lease on life. Seeing as how its only going to be on the road in the later part of this summer (damn Canadian summers are too short!) I figure I wont be taking it very far on a road trip.

Call me strange but I get attatched to my cars, and none moreso than the 2002. I never saw one or heard of one up until 2 years ago when I saw a little metallic green car whiz past me and all I could see was the Roundel and the number 2002 with the coolest round tail lights ive ever seen. I got a few glances of some other ones online shortly after but found myself turned off by the price of old cars in the local classifieds (Living in Alberta seems to run a premium on everything). The next time I came across a 2002 was actually in my hobby shop looking for a body to run on one of my rc's.


Ended up painting it up just like the one I saw despite being a Turbo style 02




Pretty nifty looking. A while later I got on a nice gig plumbing up north started making some decent money and found myself looking for a car to play around with and give my buddies 68 Malibu a headache. What I found next was love at first sight...




a 1974 2002 for $1500 running condition... I immediately called the guy and said I want the car and I will be there tomorrow, we worked a time out, I flew home got a ride out to the tiny town where I was greeted with an older German fellow. We got to talking about the car and he asked me if I wanted to see it. Of course I did! He went into his garage and I hear the door open up and this little BMW sitting in there fires up like a charm and rolls out. I told myself to be cool and collected but I couldnt help myself from grinning ear to ear shaking with excitement.




There it sits, the 2002 I heard so much about, knew very little about, but fell head over heels for in an instant. It was far from perfect, the roof has peeling paint, the drivers door has seen better days and the passenger rear quarter looks questionably repaired but it was a beauty! I took it for a quick little rip, and the M10 was solid as a rock! Hotted up with a nice header, exhaust and a weber 32/36 carb she purred away and was begging to be driven hard.


I got back and I started asking the owner questions about why he bought it and why he is letting it go for so cheap. He told me the story of how he had one growing up in Germany as a teenager and young man. Once he moved over to Canada he started a job and a family. After his son got old enough to drive he tracked a 2002 down secretly for his son, fixed it up to pass safety and it was his kids bday gift. Sad part is, his kid told him he wouldnt be seen dead in a 2002 and went out and bought an early 90's Prelude. Shortly after the kid crashed the prelude into a fence and needing some cash to fix the car and still not wanting the 2002 they were selling it for the price of repairs. Happily I handed over the cash and told the guy I will definitely be taking care of the car, and that it was indeed going to be enjoyed. We shook hands and I drove my new 2002 home.


The smell of fuel and fresh air from that drive home is still vivid. I remember rowing through the gears and flying through corners that night with my buddies 396 Malibu struggling to keep track of my tail lights on the twisty roads outside of town.




This 2002 was driving Nirvana to me. It was the first car I felt connected with, I could feel the road, I could feel the suspension begging me to go harder. Ive driven quick cars like my old mans z3 3.0 but I never felt fully connected like I did in the 2002. I started to learn about rev matching and soon found myself becoming quite good at heel-toe techniques pushing the car on empty twisty roads.


A few months later after small mechanical gremlins popped up the engine soon bit the dust by hardware in my carburettor coming loose and going into cylinder number 4. I was quite upset as the car was my pride and joy, and I wanted to bring it back to life I found myself looking into rebuilds for the M10, but found myself craving more power. In the end I found myself slowly accumulating parts for my M20 swap, and getting myself into one big long project like none I have done before. I have swapped engines in my old cavalier, and boosted it aswell but most of that stuff from a donor car allowed me to unbolt and bolt a new engine in...


This 2002, this was different. Fast forward to current day I am slowly chiseling away at the swap, and a few other mods aswell. The car is turning into what I always wanted my 2002 to be. Not some shiney show car or non functional "Stance" car, but something I can jump in, turn heads in town with, hit the twisties or a local trackday and have a good ol time.




Plans for running that big beast for 2014 have been put on the back burner as I think having it in the garage for its 40th birthday is wrong. I hope to have this car down in the states for its bday next year attending shows and track days on a big road trip. I hope to get this car back tearing up the road as every 2002 should be doing, and inspiring people to get their own hands dirty. If I can get this old pile of Bavarian metal on the road, any one should be able to. Perhaps its not so much the car I want to celebrate, but its the celebration that I took that old car that was dead and stepped WAAAAAAY outside my comfort zone, and gave it a new lease on life ad didnt give up on it. Some days I find myself thinking im never going to get this car on the road, but I cant fail this car. It has given me so much happiness, made so many people smile and tell old stories about how they had one or grew up in one, ive had almost every type of person throw me thumbs up and every car guy just drools over them...


Ugh, I just love this car and I hope to do it proud. So for those of you out there trying to stay focused chasing down an electrical gremlin or battling rust or whatever to keep these cars on the road, I want to say Thank you! Someone out there did the same for my car at one point in its life, and who are we to let these cars down. They are awesome little classics, and lets do them proud!







1974 2002 - M20/Getrag 260 swap underway

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