The BMW 2002 Re-Imagined: A Fall-Line Motorsports Project
The 2002 was always designed to be the "entry level" BMW of its time—the "20" being a BMW-esque reference to the 2.0L displacement of its M10 engine and the latter "02" as a callout to its series (pre-dated by the 1600 and 1602 respectively).
Despite its humble beginnings, the 2002 has enjoyed an incredible cult following since its inception and an affectionately popular platform for modern BMW enthusiasts to take on as restoration projects.
This particular example started off as exactly that—a restoration that began humbly at Vintage Sports & Restoration in New Hampshire. The Inka Orange body was fitted with 2002 Turbo flares and lovingly brought back to period correct showroom condition, while the interior took on some decidedly modern enhancements: reupholstered Recaros in M fabric, Momo steering wheel, VDO gauges, an upgraded audio system, and a generous helping of orange accents—contrast stitching, seatbelts, etc. But that's where the more commonplace restoration ended and the real fun began.
Underneath the hood, the standard M10 engine was tossed aside in favor of an AC Schnitzer built 2.5L S14 engine from the E30 M3. It was after this fitting that the car transitioned owners and made its way to Fall-Line Motorsports here in Chicago.
The swap needed a great deal of work. It wasn't exactly running right upon arrival and there were still some antiquities that Fall-Line wanted to eliminate in order to bring this 2002 up to snuff. The car was suffering from overheating at idle so a lot of attention was paid to making sure the car was fed cool air properly. A new radiator, fan, oil cooler, and carbon intake are just some of the things you could see from the photo above.
One of the things that I've always admired about Fall-Line is there unwavering commitment to engineering excellence. The custom strut bar they created for this 2002 is no exception—it takes into account the 2002's unique engine offset and is machined and finished beautifully. Amongst the other incredible cars in the shop, the 2002 still manages to stand out which, we feel, is a testament to Fall-Line's tasteful work here.
As far as lineage is concerned, we can't help but wonder whether the current M2 Competition will someday be the 21st century's 2002. The comparisons have been made already, but we'll have another fifty years before we can know for sure.
Speaking of speculation, I was fortunate enough to see the car get strapped down for a few dyno pulls before it was time to call it a night. A healthy 230whp was extracted from the Mustang dyno without much fiddling—a huge delta considering the stock 02's power. More than the numbers, just hearing that S14 wind up to redline as the 2002's rear end squatted into the rollers was enough to induce an ear-to-ear grin on my face. As the car settled to a stop and the S14 left to tick itself cool, it was undeniable that this orange 02 was indeed a Future Classic.
Check out the dyno run below: