Larry D. Gray, Ohio, USA – COTM May 2021

After visiting England and Scotland extensively seven times, my wife, Lynn, and I have found a particularly dear spots in our hearts for England, in general, and Cornwall, in particular.  After owning BMW 2002’s for 48 years, we determined some sort of Gray-BMW-Cornwall marriage was in order.  Now, we are proud members of the BMWCC GB, Cornwall Region, and are honored to be so.

The subject of this article is a 1974 Inka 2002tii (VIN 2782059) and its steering wheel.  This ’74 tii is related to two other 2002’s:  a previously owned 1973 Rivera 2002 and a now-owned 1970 black 2002.  The best part of my love for these cars is the steering wheel of the ’74 tii (See The Best Part below).

For 34 years we owned and drove daily a 1973 Rivera 2002.  For many years the son of a longtime and dear friend dreamed of inheriting his dad’s 1973 Sahara 2002 one day.  A total-loss car fire ended that dream.  So, we gave the kid our 1973 2002.  I still tearfully miss that car – daily.

1973 BMW 2002 (Rivera)

The entire time we owned the ’73 I (freely admit) seriously lusted for an Inka 2002tii6 years ago, I found a 41-year-old one-owner 1974 Inka 2002tii being repaired in a shop.  The owner of the car said it was “definitely not for sale…never…ever”.  I bought it two hours later.

 

The car was in reasonably good shape for its age; all four numbers matched; virtually every part was original.  At the time, I was unaware both rockers/panels, parts of quarter-panels, and a few other body sections needed to be cut out and replaced (Yeah, like those are surprise findings in a 2002…).  My goal was to save the car and make it happy by restoring/rehabbing it to its former self and to make it reasonably close to a European version of a 2002tii (that is, as well as I could understand Euro versions of 2002’s).  Three wonderful people helped greatly during the five-year rehab project:  my wife paid for me to rent a three-bay garage to do the rehab; a bright and talented young man, Ben Nichols, taught me how to think like and be a mechanic (at least as much as I was capable) and worked on the rehab as much as I did (Thank you, Ben.); and Bob Winkelman did the body and paint work.  NOTE:  Remember, we screwed up all U.S. cars in 1974 by requiring fat, heavy, ugly bumpers, gaudy side and rear lights and reflectors, padded steering wheels, and budging front turn signals.  This car has been relieved of all those “safety features” so now it can breathe easily.

 

The Best Part.  The young man who now has my ’73 2002 sent me the steering wheel from that car — a steering wheel I held for 34 years.  That steering wheel is now a proud and integral part of the ’74 tii.  So, now every time I drive the ’74 tii, I literally feel the ’73 2002 — my first BMW.

Significant Upgrades and Changes and Upgrades from Original

  • alterations for “Euro” conversion: deleted front, rear, and side lights and reflectors; deleted non-U.S. bumpers; deleted flush turn signals; added bumper guards and bumper seam covers  (NOTE:  The Euro conversion of this car is by no means accurate or complete.  Example:  The re-chromed rear bumper is too nice to molest for Euro license plate lights.
  • Getrag 245 5-speed (being installed at time of this writing)
  • complete interior rehab with E21 sport seats upholstered in German vinyl and corduroy and custom fit carpet with 1960’s period checked CocoMats
  • special steering wheel (See The Best Part at end of article.)
  • new brake system with upgrade to E21 250-mm drums
  • drive train and components (engine to differential); new, rebuilt, and/or powder-coated suspension and steering components; upgrade to ST sway bars, H&R sport springs, and Bilstein HD shocks and strut inserts
  • E28 fuel pump and tuned KF pump
  • rebuilt front and rear axles, bearings, CV joints, and differential seals
  • powder-coated original steel rims; original optional FPS alloy rims; 185/70 13 Pirelli Centurato CN36 tires

 

Ben Nichols (L) and Larry Gray (R)

Old original parts removed;

New parts;

Exterior;

Interior;

Engine;

Suspension;

Artsy:  Day-of-Purchase Christening with a Nice Belgian Beer

Artsy:  “Year of Manufacture” License Plate.  1974 – the last year Ohio stamped the year into a metal plate

Artsy:  Original Optional Alloys

Artsy:  Brothers and Sisters

Artsy:  Interesting Locations

 

The ’74tii is not a Garage Queen.  I drive it 2,000 miles every year across the U.S. to a gathering of >80 other 2002’s (row 3, first car).

A Brood of Over 80 Brothers and Sisters

My current project and the car which followed the ’74 tii is a 1970 2002 which is being rehabbed into a “2002ti tribute” or “2002ti-wannabe” hot rod…of sorts.  51 years old and it has virtually no rust.  Interesting:  body, 1970; block, 1975; head, 1983; seats, 1987; color:  black, tan, and red (depends on which part of the car you are seeing).  Exterior:  bad paint, scratches, dents, scabs, scrapes, wounds, and other proudly worn battle scars.  The dual Solex 40 PHH’s are from a BMW 2000 CS.  This car is turning into a sweet little machine for autocross.

The stable;

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