Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire and The Drive takes a BMW 2002 to the track. Really.
Peculiar timing, it is. Just yesterday I was reading about Davis E. Davis Jr., trying to learn more about who he was as a writer and an automotive enthusiast altogether. I don’t know what came over me, but it didn’t even occur to me that the anniversary of his passing was just a few weeks ago. When I went to google his name, one of the articles that came up was the BMW 2002. Sure, there were other stories about his life and career in retrospect, but it was the BMW 2002 article that caught my eye. Why? It’s the third from the top of the list of google search hits.
It must be important.
How poetic was Davis E. Davis Jr. about the car?
"As I sit here, fresh from the elegant embrace of BMW’s new 2002, it occurs to me that something between nine and ten million Americans are going to make a terrible mistake this year. Like dutiful little robots they will march out of their identical split-level boxes and buy the wrong kind of car. Fools, fools! Terrible, terrible, I say."
Essentially, that’s how I feel about people skipping on any generation of MR2 as an automotive purchase.
What does this have to do with Matt Farah? Not much really, except that even Matt Farah felt a hint of the magic that resonates with the driving experience of the BMW 2002, especially a modified one.
Clarion Builds went through the BMW 2002 and modernized it for contemporary use. Sticky tires were added. Beefier brakes were added. Kobe, I mean, Koni springs with adjustable struts were added. The M10 engine has been overhauled with higher compression pistons, head, and valves. The original 1968 BMW 2002 cranked out 100 horsepower from the factory. With the modifications, total output is approaching 120 horsepower. While that doesn’t seem like much, we are talking about a car with 2+2 seating, and it is nearly as light as a Lotus Elise.
The gearbox was upgraded to a 5-speed manual from a 3-series model, up a gear from the factory 4-speed manual.
Overall, the car just looked like it came from the factory yesterday. It took a flogging on the track and didn’t see to have any perceived issues. The wheels are flush nicely with body. The body is level and flat with a BMW original color. The interior is simplified with a Clarion head unit and what hints at an HVAC system. Crank windows keep the doors light, while the alcantara ceiling and fresh seats add a level of class to the BMW 2002.
BMW tried to recapture the magic all over again in their latest BMW M2.
Do I want one? Obviously. It’s a special thing when automotive journalists like Davis E. Davis Jr. rave about a car so much. It’s another thing when decades later, even Matt Farah can recapture the magic of what a BMW 2002 is all about.
As long as we don’t add a Mustang and get ourselves on some terrible memes, right?