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Help for my 1976 BMW 2002 stuck in limbo

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Hi all, first time posting, but have read various posts over the years.

I think my '76 is doomed, please tell me how to help save my BMW 2002 !

Basically, I have a 1976 BMW 2002 that I was not able to fully register because the engine blew after I first bought it, but before I was able to get it smogged and registered.

When we bought it we had the oil and other fluids changed, but on the highway the oil filter fell off and well...you can guess from there.

I also had collected quite a lot of great parts and even have another engine that drove really well.

We have all the parts for a 5-speed conversion, LSD and axles, brand new 3-core radiator, new old stock kidney, etc...

The purpose was for me to do a custom restoration to make it the way we wanted it, but I realized the work was beyond me.

My wife was going to have it as her daily driver and has been waiting years for me to get this done.

Now we have the money to pay an expert mechanic to do the restoration.

The problem is that since it is a 1976, the smog laws seem to have created a situation we cannot legally get out of.

We also have a parts car, I think it is a 1975, but would require more serious restoration work.

We really need help here. I don't want to end up just parting it all out and scrapping the bodies, but I can't see any way to avoid this fate!

Anyone out there who can help me save our '76 ?


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! (best option at the bottom in my opinion)


This is my first response but I have been using this thread religiously for a few months now and have finally decided to create an account.


I have a situation (smog-related) very similar to yours. My father and I have begun to restore our old '76 2002 that has sat in our garage for the past twenty years. After about a month of working, we almost have the car ready to drive on the road. However, we have run into the exact same smog problem you are describing (we know it will not pass because we have ripped off all the smog components).


Here is what I can suggest LEGALLY:


-->obtain the smog components and send the vehicle to a mechanic to have them re-installed. There is a chance you can pass from reinstalling all the original components (although remember the state California is out to make it as hard as possible for you to have it pass)


--> visit you local DMV and obtain a "vehicle moving permit (REG 172)." This will allow you to drive your 2002 around the neighborhood, or to any location really, regardless of whether the vehicle is registered or not (ours is currently non-operational status, with a 1997 registration sticker haha!). We simply got the form and copied it a few dozen times (each one is only good for a day), so for the foreseeable future we can drive the car around wherever we want an can not be ticketed for the registration if we are pulled over(just make up a plausible location every time). Obviously, this will not work for the long-term, so look below at what is arguably your best option.


Here is what I can suggest NON-legally:


-->Hot smog the car; in other words, if you  know the right people, you can simple take your car to the smog station and they will "fake" smog the car for you (usually involves putting an entirely different car on the machine). This can cost you upward of $300, but over time the costs of this smog every two years far outweigh every other option you have. I personally have my first, upcoming smog appointment for our car this Monday (a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing), so I am kind of nervous but am optimistic.


-->THIS MIGHT BE BEST OPTION: You said you have a '75 2002 that you are pulling parts off of. Simply switch the VIN numbers of the cars. The models are so similar that no one pulling you over will ever notice the difference, and you will never have to pass smog ever again. All you have to do is register the '75, switch the VIN (and probably license plate) onto your '76, and then once you are done salvaging parts either properly dispose of the car (although it hurts me to say that) and enjoy your new "1975" BMW 2002.


Hope I helping in one way or the other!

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