November 27, 2022

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The 2002 BMW is an iconic car, a builder of the brand’s reputation as the “Ultimate Driving Machine”. Built between 1968 and 1972, the iconic model spawned decades of Bavarian sports sedans. Now, an example of one of the rarest variants from 2002 is being auctioned in Munich.

More than 420,000 BMW 2002s were made in total, but the 1972 BMW 2002 Cabriolet being auctioned by RM Sotheby’s is one of only 200 built. Stuttgart’s Karosserie Baur was responsible for the conversions, which were initially done on the 2002 1.6-liter predecessor, the BMW 1600-2. Baur’s association with BMW dates back to the 1950s, and the cars were officially sold through BMW dealers in Germany.

However, Baur planned 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 top targa, except Porsche owned the copyright to the Targa name. So when Baur switched to building 2002s in 1971, production of the full toptop continued for just eight months before switching to the Top Cabriolet. More than 2,300 were made. As such, the true Cabriolet 2002 convertible is the rarest of the 02 series cars made by Baur.

Although the engine only made 99 horsepower, the 2002 weighs just over 2,000 pounds. The robust M10 engine and its descendants would go on to power generations of BMW cars, including Formula 1 cars and BMW endurance prototypes. With fully independent suspension at all four corners at a time when most cars were still solid axle, the 2002 proved to be a nimble and fun car to drive.

Its styling was part of the Neue Klasse designs that would inform everything from the E9s to the E28s and E30s. This family of cars was the first to also incorporate the Hofmeister C-pillars, a design cue that has appeared on BMWs for nearly 60 years. Although the Cabriolet lacks a C-pillar, the cloth 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, purchased it in 2015 and has been on display ever since. Impeccable as it is, the next buyer would be wise to thoroughly check the mechanics before driving it. The car has no reserve and is expected to sell for between $51,000 and $72,000. With the US dollar trading very favorably against many currencies right now, it may be the perfect time to add this rare gem to your collection. The RM Sotheby’s auction in Munich will start on November 26.

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