Stacey Gabbard’s 2002

 

This is 2371095, a 1976 BMW 2002 from Columbus, Ohio.  Originally delivered from the factory in Malaga paint color in Dallas, Texas, at some point in its history was re-sprayed in Fjord Blue.  I purchased the car in the late 1990’s, and though the original interior was a little worn, and the valve guides a little loose, it was my daily driver for many years in Oklahoma until I moved to Ohio, where it was retired from daily use and a full, 3-year restoration effort undertaken.

My goal in restoring the car was to make it a driver, and not a “trailer queen”.  The car was an inaugural member of the Alex Van Faulkenhausen drive, in Arkansas, so graciously hosted and coordinated yearly by Bo Black.  And, now that we reside in Ohio, we regularly participate in the fall Kentucky Ridge Run, graciously hosted and coordinated by Jason and Karie Gipson.  Many spirited miles have been put on the car, and we’ve made many friends along the way.

 

The restoration “theme”, if only loosely adhered to, was to create a driver that to the untrained eye appears stock, but to the trained eye many subtle changes are apparent.  The most obvious deviation is paint color- Slate Gray, or “Schiefergrau” -which is a Porsche color common to 356’s and early 911’s.  The bulk of the restoration time was body work, and several modifications were made to the body.  The lower belt trim was “shaved”, as was the US DOT side markers and the extra exhaust knock-out.  The antenna was deleted as well, and relocated to top of the inside of the rear seat.  The US DOT “diving board” bumpers were retained, but tucked in and contoured next to the car, and the twenty pound rubber inserts were tossed and replaced with much lighter material.  The late model plastic front grill was replaced with a metal example from an earlier round tail light and painted black.

Also borrowing from that other factory in Stuttgart are the Recarro front seats, which came from a 924 Turbo.  The door panels, which are hand-made from new hardboard material, are loosely based off of early 911RS cars, where minimalism is the theme.  Completing the interior was fresh carpet, and new VW seat belts, with 3-point retractables fitted in the rear.  A new Blaupunkt system was installed, headliner, and new upholstery by Kemper Upholstery in Columbus.  Rounding out the interior is a custom VDO gauge cluster, replacing the ash tray.

Under the hood, or “bonnet”, as you say on the other side of the pond, is a Metric Mechanic 2.2L Hi Flow Sport engine with a 290 degree cam, dual Weber 45 DCOEs, and a Korman intake manifold.  Cooling system is a 320i radiator with an oversized tropical fan.  It also has an E-12 65 amp alternator, 5-series starter, and tii exhaust manifold with Ireland Engineering 2.5” exhaust system.  The ignition is a Pro-Bimmer blueprinted mechanical advance distributor with a Pertronix trigger, MSD Blaster coil, MSD 6A Controller, and Ireland Engineering high output plug wires.

The sounds created by the dual Webers, tropical fan and Ireland exhaust are orchestral, but what makes the 2002 a joy to drive is the suspension; riding on H&R springs with Bilstein Sport shocks.  Ireland Engineering 22mm adjustable sway bars are installed front and back, with a Top End Performance rear shock tower and battery relocation bar, and Metal Concepts front strut tower bar.  Wheels are E30 14” “steelies” painted Wurth silver, with 195/60 Sumitomos in the rear, and 185/60’s in the front. Braking is enhanced with stainless braided lines and an Aardvark Racing front upgrade kit with Volvo Girling calipers and vented discs.

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