• Chassis # 2781032
  • Engine # 2781032
  • Thoughtful High-Quality Build
  • A Numbers Matching Example

The Overview

The BMW 3-series model line consists of some of the most magnificent sports cars to ever hit the showroom floor and are among the most well balanced cars money can buy. These cars always maintained the quality of the driving experience as a priority all while making the design practical enough for day to day use. The root of the 3-series can be traced back to the 1960’s when BMW was having quite a bit of financial difficulty as a result of low sales in the U.S. market in addition to still feeling the after effects of WWII. BMW was trying to insert their affordable sedans onto American buyers but there was not much room with thousands of Mustangs and Camaros parked in people’s garages. No one really wanted a 4-door family saloon with a German badge when they could have an American made sports coupe with a powerful V8 at their disposal. BMW realized this and wondered, well, what if we make a car with less doors and more power? So, that is exactly what they did.


In 1968, BMW debuted the 2002 which used a 2-door platform but maintained enough room in the cabin for 4 passengers. This design was revolutionary for BMW had essentially created the first sports sedan. A sports car with enough room to put the kids in the back, as well as a large boot for luggage but also incorporated a proper suspension system and a canted 2.0L engine. This was the home run BMW needed to pull themselves out of their post war rut and little did they know, they would go onto sell over 800,000 units. In 1972, BMW released a high-performance version of the 2002 called the tii which was identical to the standard cars but it replaced the carburetors with a Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system. This allowed the car to produce 135bhp which was 30 more than the standard model. The 2002 is now viewed and beloved as one the best driver’s cars ever built, setting the stage for cars such as the almighty E30 M3 to come about. This was a car that embodied performance, iconic styling, all while remaining very practical. Achieving this balance in their sports cars has become BMW’s calling card and why we have an avid enthusiasm for them here at LBI. Now, let us get to the example on offer.


The example offered here is a 1974 BMW 2002tii, chassis number 2781032, a matching numbers example that has received some tasteful upgrades during restoration to further enhance road and track capabilities. This example was a California car that had a performance oriented restoration completed by the folks at Groma Race Fabrication in Los Angeles. The car was then purchased from Groma and owned in California for a period of time until it was then sold to a gentleman in Maryland in 2011. Since then, the car has made its way to its current owner in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and is now in search of its next custodian.


The exterior of this example is refinished in a stunning, but non-factory BMW Navy Blue color that in combination with the deleted chrome belt-line trim really accentuates the natural body lines of this car, giving it a sleek appearance. This car was built to be driven so it is to be noted that there are some blemishes from enjoyed road use. Currently, the paint shows well from 10 feet but as one inspects it closely there a few items that come to light. The first is that there is some moderate chipping located on the front end of the car, the worst of it being on the lower, turbo style, valence from high-speed driving. There are also some more mild paint chips on the nose of the car along the hood line which are all in line with a driver quality example. Continuing with our assessment of the car, one may overlook a subtle alteration that has been made to the front and rear fenders which have been artfully rolled out to accommodate the 15” Rota Alpina style wheels. It makes for a welcomed aesthetic appearance and the wider wheels means wider tires which means more grip, thus, more fun in the corners. The panel gaps are straight and even throughout, displaying no signs that this example endured any serious damage or rust at any point. The remaining chrome trim pieces (windshield frame, headlamp and taillamp bezels, front grill, door mirrors, emblems) and rear bumper (very rare 2002 Turbo bumper) have no serious pitting but have dulled a bit which could easily be remedied with a good polish. The glass on the car is free of any cracking, chips, or deep scratches presenting as one would expect given the condition of the of rest of the car.


Moving our focus to the interior, there are several upgrades beginning with the Recaro front seats from a later 3-series. They are in superb condition with no tears, wrinkling, or fading with rear stock seats in much of the same condition. To accommodate to track safety regulations and overall stiffness to the chassis, there has also been a four-point roll cage installed but in such a manner that still grants passengers access to the rear seats. On the dash, there is an area where it has been previously patched but done so very well and can hardly be seen. The original steering wheel has been replaced by a Moto Lita wheel with a BMW horn button. The custom aluminum brushed center console houses the Sun Performance gauges and aftermarket AM/FM radio. The rugs have no significant blemishes with the coco mats having done their job. The only real eye sore regarding the interior are the door jams which show evidence of use having developed some chipping and minor surface rust. Depending on one’s intentions for this car, it could easily be corrected but for anyone looking for regular use it likely makes no difference.


An inspection of the engine bay will conclude some further modifications including a larger radiator, modern wiring, strut bar, and painted valve cover and exhaust manifold. The 2.0L engine has been fully built and tuned to squeeze every bit of power out of it with heightened responsiveness. All work was done tastefully with the engine bay coming off as neat and well sorted. The rear boot shows much of the same with a clean mat as well as the nooks and crannies free of rust. The undercarriage of this car is an area where a lot of time was spent to ensure that this car handled as well as it could without having to completely chop up the car. This example has received performance shocks, coil springs, front and rear camber bars, in addition to front and rear sway bars. The frame shows straight and true with no indications that this car ever incurred any damage. Cosmetically, things appear in tandem with a drive quality example with a moderate amount of use but still presentable.


The mechanics of this car have been dialed-in and any post build “teething” issues this car may have had were addressed. It starts from cold with a turn of the key and a tap of the gas consistently. Once warm, the car runs flawlessly with the nippy 2.0L power plant propels you down the straights and into the corners. The modifications to the suspension systems make the car extremely composed in the turns and gives the user confidence to push the limits of the car. The clutch operates without fault and the lovely upgraded 5-speed gearbox going in and out of gear seamlessly. There has been a complete 2.5” exhaust fabricated specifically for this car allowing the engine to breathe better all while producing a fabulous soundtrack that only a tii could achieve. The braking system has been sorted through in full and performs as such, making this car feel much more modern than it really is.


In summation, this 2002tii has taken one of the best driver’s cars of all time and further refined all the qualities that make this car great. It is certainly not a trailer queen, but that is just fine as these cars were built to be driven. The well thought-out upgrades and modifications make this car unique and appreciated by any enthusiast. This car possesses the iconic looks one can admire for hours at a time and the driving capabilities that make you want to take the long way home. Offered with the sale are some of the original books, spare, and some documentation.