The BMW 2002 is an iconic car, an originator of the brand’s reputation as the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” Built from 1968 to 1972, the landmark model begat decades of Bavarian sports sedans. Now, an example of one of the rarest 2002 variants is coming up for auction in Munich.
Over 420,000 BMW 2002s were made in total, but the 1972 BMW 2002 Cabriolet being auctioned by RM Sotheby’s is one of just 200 built. Stuttgart’s Karosserie Baur was responsible for the conversions, which were initially done with the 2002’s 1.6-liter predecessor, the BMW 1600-2. Baur’s partnership with BMW goes back to the 1950s, and the cars were officially sold through BMW dealers in Germany.
However, Baur had plans to build what they called a Top Cabriolet, which had a fixed frame and pillars and a removable roof section. In essence, it was a targa top, except Porsche owned the copyright to the Targa name. So when Baur switched over to building 2002s in 1971, production of the full droptop continued for only eight months before the switch to the Top Cabriolet. Over 2,300 of those were made. As such, the true convertible 2002 Cabriolet is the rarest of the 02 series cars made by Baur.
Though the motor made only 99 horsepower, the 2002 weighs just a tad over 2,000 pounds. The stout M10 engine and its descendants would go on to power generations of BMW cars, including BMW’s Formula 1 cars and endurance prototypes. With a fully independent suspension at all four corners at a time when most cars were still solid axle, the 2002 proved to be a nimble, fun to drive runabout.
Its styling was part of the Neue Klasse designs that would inform everything from E9s to E28s to E30s. This family of cars was the first to incorporate the Hofmeister kink C-pillars as well, a design cue that’s appeared on BMWs for nearly 60 years now. Even though the Cabriolet is absent a C-pillar, the fabric top still retains a hint of that dogleg shape.
The yellow example was completed on March 31, 1971. The current seller, who owns a large BMW collection, bought it in 2015 and it’s been on display since. Immaculate as it may be, it would be prudent for the next buyer to check the mechanicals thoroughly before driving it. The car has no reserve and is expected to sell between $51,000 and $72,000. Given the fact that the U.S. dollar is trading extremely favorably against many currencies right now, it may be the perfect time to add this rare gem to your collection. RM Sotheby’s Munich auction begins November 26.