Courtesy of Bonhams
Courtesy of Bonhams
The 2002 Turbo upped the game again. Engine designer Alex von Falkenhausen eschewed the option of a larger engine shoehorned into the lightweight 2002 and instead developed the successful Group Five turbocharging idea for a fast road car. By using a KKK turbo coupled to the tii Kugelfischer fuel injection, he created a 170-hp engine that offered Porsche 911-beating performance: 0–60 mph in 7 seconds, with a top speed of 131 mph.” — Octane magazine Produced for the 1973/74 season only, the legendary BMW 2002 Turbo was Europe’s first turbocharged production car. Demands for increased power for its medium-sized saloon had prompted BMW to introduce the original 2002 in 1968, and it was the fuel-injected 2002 tii that provided the basis for the model’s ultimate expression — the Turbo — which was readily distinguishable by its deep front air dam, wheelarch extensions and boot-mounted spoiler. This top-of-the-range model had been introduced following a successful racing program that saw a Works-entered, turbocharger-equipped 2002 win the 1969 European Touring Car Championship in the hands of Dieter Quester. Faced with having to compete against the Porsche 911 (subsequently banned from touring car racing), BMW had opted for bolt-on horsepower courtesy of a turbocharger, the result being a hike from 210 horsepower to around 270 horsepower in race trim. The road version made do with 170 hp, which in a compact package resulted in outstanding performance; the Turbo’s top speed was 130 mph, making it the fastest and most exciting medium-sized sports saloon of its day. Today, this rare model (only 1,672 were made, all left-hand drive) is rightly regarded as a modern classic and much sought after. Currently Italian registered, chassis 4291057 was delivered new in Germany, residing initially for many years in Aachen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, and has been meticulously maintained. The recent Italian owner has passed on paperwork showing the car left Germany for Italy in 1994. With just over 75,000 miles on the clock and a very original interior, its most recent Italian owner believes it has been in two or three big collections and barely used at all. Finished in Chamonix White and described by the current private vendor as in generally very good condition, this iconic BMW is offered with Italian registration papers, an original manual, and a Certificate of Authenticity from the BMW Archive in Munich.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1974 BMW 2002 Turbo coupe
Number Produced:1,672
Original List Price:$6,600
Tune Up Cost:$100
Distributor Caps:$14
Chassis Number Location:Engine compartment, right side
Engine Number Location:N/A
Club Info:BMW Car Club of America
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 192, sold for $77,397, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Collectors’ Motor Cars and Automobilia sale in Oxford, U.K., on June 7, 2014.

As if we needed any more proof that the collector market is on its way to the hottest summer since the start of the Great Recession, you can add this 2002 Turbo sale to the long list of new high-water marks this year.

With this sale commanding more than twice the price of the previous best sale, it would be tempting to say that a case of “gotta have it” took place here. Except that in the same week, a similar 1974 2002 Turbo with 130,000 miles on the clock pulled over $66,000 in bids on eBay. That auction failed to meet reserve, so we don’t know exactly what price would have tipped the scales.

There’s also another white 1974 example for sale this summer in London at £39,995 (about $68,000), so it’s fair to assume that the new going rate for a nice 2002 Turbo is at least that much.

One of 1,672

So, what do you get for that kind of money? The easy answer is: You can have one of just 1,672 turbocharged 2002s ever made. The cars came with special custom wheelarch flares, a little kick-up rear spoiler, and a chin-spoiler kit. You didn’t get a front bumper, however. That was dropped for weight and sex-appeal reasons.

Every 2002 Turbo seems to have been painted white or silver, with a sexy BMW red/blue stripe design. Inside, you got Recaro seats, a special steering wheel and red facing around the gauges. A 4-speed manual gearbox was standard in the 2002 Turbo, but you could also order the car with a 5-speed. The car also received larger brakes than a conventional 2002.

Blowing away Porsche and Alfa

Of course, the real reason to buy the 2002 Turbo was the engine. Adding a turbo to the mechanically fuel-injected engine from the 2002 tii boosted output from 125 horsepower up to 170 horsepower. For comparison, the base 2002 delivered 100 horsepower. That 70% increase over the base model was a big deal back then, especially when compared with the 129 horsepower of the 1974 Alfa GTV or the 143 horsepower of the base 1974 Porsche 911. To get a Porsche with an equivalent engine to the 2002 Turbo, you had to move up to the 911S at 167 hp.

Pricing in the day was equally instructive. The 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo retailed for around $6,600 and the Alfa GTV was priced at $6,450. Compare that with $9,950 for the base 911 or a whopping $11,875 for the 911S. Of course, the European marques also had to contend with the new Datsun 260Z at 162 horsepower and just $5,289.

A rising star

Coming back to the present day, this particular 2002 Turbo appears to be in very good condition, with some wear showing in the engine bay and interior that indicates a driven car rather than an extensive restoration. The paint appears in much better shape than the engine bay or interior, which may indicate a respray, but there are enough dings and scrapes on the body trim that this could just be a very nicely kept example.

BMW enthusiasts and sports car racers have long prized the 2002 line, but these cars are only now really coming into serious money in collector circles. With so few 2002 Turbo cars on the market, comparable sales are few and far between, but it seems obvious that a new price floor has been set this year. At $77,397, we can certainly call this car well sold. Time will tell if it was also well bought, but that seems the likeliest scenario. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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