Here is my ‘02…#2577807, born on September ’71. I purchased it from a lifelong friend in 2003 after he bought another ‘02 that he liked a bit more. It was purchased in Birmingham, Alabama at German Auto and spent about two years out there before moving to the Bay Area, Palo Alto. It changed hands at least twice before my friend bought it, so I think I’m probably the fourth owner.
When I bought it, I was in grad school and didn’t have many resources to lavish upon it, so i started the “refresh” process by painting the replacement front fenders and doors in the spray booth at Art Center in Pasadena where I was attending. thus began a long journey to restore and enjoy the car!
I drove it about 35K miles, all over California, once driving a spare M10 engine home in the trunk from Oakland. After a while, in a new garage, I began to work on the car and mission creep and the learning process began.
I decided to do everything myself, including bodywork and paint. I attempted to do rust repair in a few areas, but decided my welding ability was lacking and had the rockers and inner fenders repaired by a 2002 specialist. I stripped the car to bare metal, prepped, epoxy primed, seam sealed and endlessly sanded it. I finally painted it in my garage in October 2014.
As part of the process, I renewed the brakes and suspension, media blasting components after hours at work and refinishing them. I installed a fresh Esty carpet set and had the trim restored at Speedway in Santa Ana. I had the e21 Recaro seats rehabbed at Orange Auto Upholstery, where the perforated center material was saved and re-dyed to match fresh vinyl elsewhere. I have sought to use new BMW OEM or good used parts sourced from all over, but Jim at Mesa Performance in Costa Mesa has been extraordinarily helpful over the years with parts and advice.
Our 2002 is a family member and will always have the best spot reserved in the garage. If there is any way I can help others or encourage their project through my experience, please reach out, I am happy to help!