Even though we had a fair number of BMW dealers in the Tri-State area (NY/NJ/CT) in the early 70s, seeing another 1600/2002 on the road was cause for blinking your lights, waving, and even stopping to "talk BMW" with the other driver. When I was 21, I had scrimped and saved enough to buy my first 2002 (a new '73 Sahara) in Dec '72. I soon discovered that owning it gave you automatic 'membership' in an unofficial 'club'. Not a bunch of elitists, by any means. Just a common camaraderie of people passionate about their '02s. Those were the days when they were just cool cars, not yet yuppy mobiles (now I know where FAQ member PREYUPPY gets his moniker!). They out-performed damn near everything else, especially on the twisty-turny roads of Rockland County, where I grew up. Brit sports cars (MGs, TRs, Sunbeams, Healeys) just couldn't keep up, and American iron didn't stand a chance. Commonly heard question after they'd catch up to me was: "Hey, what kind of car IS that?" I'd repeat what was told to me the fist time I rode in one, a new 2002 'way back in '68: "It's a German car, a BMW: stands for Barbarian Motor Works" I still say that at car shows, always garners a laugh. And at these car shows, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!, now says one of two things: either "I used to have one of those" or "My neighbor used to have one of those." So it seems like EVERYONE had one or knew someone who did!
And now, here we are in 2017, and history is repeating itself: once again, the uber-rare occurrence of seeing another 1600/2002 on the road today is once again cause for blinking your lights, waving, and stopping to "talk BMW" with the other driver. What's really cool is that I'm now seeing some younger drivers falling in love with these great little cars. And that's what we need; new blood; a new generation to keep these wonderful cars on the road as us Olde Phartz start to fade away.
And speaking of Olde Phartz; I'm 21 years old again whenever I get behind the wheel... The fun never ends.