In 2004, 30 years after Daniël Brillat walked in at Heidegger, I thought of building a replica of the car that won the 24 hours of Le Mans. It was the only 02 that ever drove the race in Le Mans. After I placed a call on the forum for getting information about this car, it soon appeared to be very difficult to retrieve information.
After intensive searching and with the help of other club members, I found out that Heidegger still exists and is situated in Liechtenstein. First to have been in contact to Heidegger jr., Mr. Max Heidegger called me. Nice anecdotes and a report of the race were the results. I was allowed to write him, asking for more information.
Because, as he said, there is nothing in paper, but everything was in his mind. After a nice day on the circuit in Zandvoort, late september 2004, the DTM went back into the garage. It would not see any sunlight again for a long time, the project could start. We stripped the car totally and put all parts into boxes.
Slowly the bald body became visible and with that also the bad parts and pieces. There was a lot of work to be done. The mountain of boxes grew, while it left a bit of steel with a piece of polyester attached. Maurice did show me that the polyester was also damaged and at several places also needed to be repaired.
The front spoiler was damaged, but that could luckily be repaired. The trunk cover with integrated rear spoiler needed to make place for a normal cover. The doors had stand the test of time well, while the hood needed to be replaced. Luckily Wilbert still had a nice sample.
When the doors, hood and trunk cover were ready, it was time to work on the body. The bad marks were ground out of the build out set. After that it could be repaired with new polyester.
Some spots where the build out set was attached to the body, appeared to be bad. Little cracks became visible. So also here it was ground and repaired. After that it was ready to be smoothed.
There were already many hours of labour in this project, but Maurice was still positive and enthusiastic, while I sometimes wondered “where did I start with?”
To build a replica, you need a lot of information about the original.
But because Heidegger in the mid 70ties didn’t do anything about PR, this is a big problem. With the information we gathered until then, it seemed that the fuel filling opening should be not on the right, but in the middle of the trunk cover.
However this gave so much problems, that we decided to just move it to the rear panel. The own made rear side was needed to be replaced by an original one. So I did put an advert in the BMW 02 club. Henk was just stripping a Sienna brown 02 parts and we were lucky. The rear side was in pretty good shape and was cut out nice.
The car stood, in relation to the original car, too high on its feet. So we lowered the car about 3 cm and widened it 20 cm. Rally driving on forest lanes will probably not be possible anymore in the future. The front spoiler was now pretty low to the ground. I just hope that it won’t go wrong.
Front and spoiler were made exactly tight fit to each other, so the brutal looks came out again. Because lately the car has been used for daily purposes, there was in several places rust again. Bits and pieces needed to be cut out. Probably caused because of using a not well attaching coating. I let myself be persuaded by a salesman to buy this coating, but this wont stay flexible. It turned hard and solid. So the coating cracked in some places and humidity could enter between the coating and the metal. A car will not look nicer with that, I can assure you.
During the work, that Maurice and me did on the future Heidegger, I was busy trying hard to get the needed stickers. Fortunately I received from various sides nice tips and even authentic material. It was nice to see that the “Heidegger-project” began to make people interested and that feel with you. For the both of us this was so stimulating, that it became nicer and nicer.
Beginning January I was called by Mr. Max Heidegger and a nice conversation followed. This conversation went very smooth, so we decided to travel to Liechtenstein to meet the “Big Boss” himself. One month later we went travelling by camper to bring a visit to Liechtenstein. Somewhat nervous on Monday morning, we entered the showroom where they offered us a cup of coffee while waiting for “father”. Within 5 minutes he arrived and came towards us with his hand stretched out and a big smile on his face.
Another very nice conversation started in which he explained how he did things back then. I listened closely and made notes of the technical information he gave me. The modifications to the cooling system, the fuel system, moving the dynamo, everything was told. In the real car there was a formula 2 engine, but he advised not to put that now. “Believe me, Tim”, he said “That engine is too expensive and not worth your hobby” He advised me to have a normal 8 valve, 2 litre motor and then he told me how to modify that.
From 1969 till 1990 Heidegger, next to the dealership of BMW and Alpina, also kept busy tuning BMW engines. Aside of that he was for many years active in auto sports and the results were very good. At the end Hiedegger took us with him to admire his private collection. Because in a few years Heidegger will celebrate their 50th anniversary, he started to collect cars that will be displayed then.
In the two meetings we had with mr. Max Heidegger, I already learned so many things. When we left he gave me a letter. Here he wrote down everything he just told me. He also gave some unique pictures from his private photo album about the victory on Le Mans. It was a great honour for us to meet this man.
After we got back from this vacation and not being able to work on the project for 2 Saturday, there waited me a big surprise. Maurice had been working like an ox and he already had the car finished with the polyester. I didn’t believe what I saw. The rear side, that was still heavily damaged when we left, was already been replaced and smoothed. On the outside the car was already as we wanted it. It really began to look like something now.
Because the car was already in a far state, Maurice asked me with urge to get the stickers a.s.a.p. He first wanted to paint the car with the base colour, then put the stickers and then provide it with several layers of transparent paint.
Meanwhile we searched the internet for the parts we needed to rebuild the replica as good as possible. After a long time of searching for the original ATS wheels we found out that it was still possible to order them new. It took some time for delivery, but it was worth waiting for.
One thing that was high placed on my “list of the presents” was a rollbar. One with four mounting points, later versions had six of them. This one was only for the backside. On internet I contacted a man who bought a 02 with a rollbar and didn’t want that thing in his car. I was able to buy the thing, scoured it, repainted it and at last mounted it into the car.
Finally the time was arrived to show what we had done for the last month. Time to go to spray the first colour. Alpineweiss with as a finishing off a robust clear lacquer. After months of preparation, this would become a beautiful crown on all the work we had done.
The last small unevenness’s were smoothed yet even by Maurice smooth. After that the future Heidegger was ridden in the sprayer cabin and prepared to be sprayed. The painting could begin. The temperature in the cabin was pretty warm. After a few hours it was finished, the BMW was shiny and brand new. It looked as if it was reborn.
Now was the time to paint the lying parts in the colour black. It took quit some time to smooth the parts before painting. After that the parts could be mounted on the car. It was a hell of a job to fit the parts on the car but Maurice was a prof and knew exactly what he was doing.
In the letter that Mr.Max Heidegger wrote me, he told me a big surprise. He promised me a full reprint of the “Heidegger-stickerset” because, as he wrote down, the project was worthwhile supporting. After a few weeks a little box arrived in Holland within a full set of stickers and the original Heidegger Rev. counter! What a honour that this was realised by Mr. Heidegger himself.
The only thing that was missing were 6 stickers of Kléber. This was not a big problem because Tanco Reclame from Naaldwijk Holland could take care of this. Thanks to Cees and his men my stickers were complete at the last moment.
The last part of painting the car could start. It was again a lot of work to do the striping on the car but the result was more then good. Now it was time to place the stickers onto the car.
Finally the car was ready to be sprayed with the clear lacquer. But because it was late in the afternoon we decided to wait with this to next week. It was quite a surprise for me when I opened my email the next day and found some photos of the Heidegger shiny and brand new. Maurice went back the next day to give the car his last protection! I can not tell you how grateful I am to have such a good friend with so many passions for rebuilding this project.
Now the last part of painting was done, it was time for the replica to be moved to the garage. After 10 month of restoring and painting, we could finally start with rebuilding.
While the car was visiting Honour Car Repair for 10 month, I did a lot of pre-work. I prepared the 2-litre engine that would be build in for a while, during the time I needed building the Heidegger 2-litre engine. 11 years ago I bought a set of headlights and they were still waiting to be mounted on the car.
The electric wires were also 31 years old, so they had to be checked for damage. Some new plug were needed for a good electrical contact. The old tape was gone and had to be replaced for original new.
The front flasher lamps were no good anymore, but Jan, from the 02-club, had a pair of new ones for me. The outside door handle on the left side didn’t had the glory of 1974 anymore, so it had to be replaced as well. The inside of the locker was taken of the old one because we still could use the old key. On a show in Essen (Germany) we had been able to buy a new set of stickers. This was the time to bring them on. And it looked very nice. Shiny and brand new!