Big engines in small cars have always been a recipe for fun. But long before the hot hatchback was a gleam in designers’ eyes, the little BMW 2002 was terrorising Mercedes and Porsche drivers on the Autobahns. Max Hoffman, the US BMW importer in 1966, was the man partly responsible.
Over the moon with his 1500 Series four door-derived 1600-2 two-door coupe, he agreed with his customers that the car would be a knockout with more power. He thus – over two years persuaded BMW to drop the 100 Bhp 1990cc engine used in the Neue Klass saloons into the smaller car, creating the 2002. ￼ However, the previous year a BMW 1600-2 with the 1990cc engine already existed with outputs of up to 160 Bhp. But these cars were not products of the Munich factory.
They came from a small firm; Alpina, in the Bavarian town of Kaufbeuren. Burkhard Bovensiepen started his career in his fathers firm as a typewriter engineer, where the Alpina label was applied to machines with 45 keys and a sloping front. He managed to persuade his father to let him dabble with his hobby of tuning cars and developed a few kits in the early 1960’s.
In 1965 the typewriter firm was sold, and Bovensiepen committed himself fully into the car tuning business. Starting from his workshop in Kaufbeuren, he developed further the ideas for the 1500cc BMW straight four he had started in 1963, and by the time the new small BMW 1600-2 was launched and so impressing Max Hoffman in 1966, he was already working on a 1990cc power unit that would fit.
The mating of the two was swift and well chosen, but through the arrival of BMW’s own such car – designated as the 2002 – meant the specialist Alpina equivalent was short-lived, it gave Bovensiepen the chance to advance the concept further still from a higher base. A whole range of 2002 modifications came to life… ￼ The tuning was varied but straight forward, if you wanted a “warmed-over” 2002, you chose an Alpina A1. This involved throwing away the single choke Solex 40PDSI carburetor and replacing it with a twin 40DDH Solex item, enlarging the inlet valves by 2mm, polishing the cylinder head and installing a 264o duration camshaft. Power and torque increased from 100 Bhp at 5500 Rpm and 116Ibs/ft at 3000 Rpm, to 115 Bhp at 5800 Rpm and 126Ibs/ft at 4000 Rpm.
The more ambitious Alpina A2 derivative used the same 46/38mm intake/exhaust valve size, but with modified cylinder head and pistons raised the compression ratio to 10.0:1 This engine used the 300o duration camshaft and twin 45DDH Solexes for 150 Bhp at 6600 Rpm and 137 Ibs/ft torque at 5000 Rpm. Top speed was restricted by gearing to 120 Mph (at 6000 Rpm), 0-60 Mph was a startling (for the 1960’s) 8.2 seconds and 0-100 Mph came in a 20.3 seconds.
Moving on, the most powerful carbureted version on offer was the A2S, as per the A2 but with KS racing pistons and 1mm larger exhaust valves, which offered a further 8 Bhp and 8Ibs/ft more torque 500 Rpm further up the rev range. The A3 was the same engine, but with twin Weber DCOE’s added.
Twin Carburetor Setup.
In 1971 saw the factory upping the pace again, with the introduction of the Tii package 130 Bhp at 5800 Rpm and weighing in with 131Ibs/ft of torque at 4500 Rpm, this time the mechanical Kugelfischer injection system of the 1990cc engine. Alpina upped the stakes again, applying most of the tuning parts from the A2 and A2S cars to achieve 160 Bhp and 169 Bhp respectively from what became known as the A4 and A4S. ￼ As far we know only a handful of these Alpina A4S ever made it to the UK. All Alpinas were special order only with the A4S working out at approximately twice the price of a standard 2002 in 1972. The A4S was truly the pick of the bunch; a well thought out, simple, but superbly executed engineering exercise.
A tubular exhaust manifold was fitted to all the modified engines, and if the customer wished, the four-speed manual gearbox could be replaced with the close-ratio five-speed which compensated for the narrow power band of the tuned unit. With this box, a 3.89:1 final drive with limited slip differential replaced the stock 4.11:1 unit.
Lower uprated springs were fitted, with Bilstein inserts in the front with MacPherson struts and adjustable Konis at the rear. The semi-trailing arms were reinforced, as were the front spindles. Thicker anti-roll bars were also installed at both ends, and the steering rack quickened by swapping from the standard 17.6:1 ratio to 12.8:1 Finally, 5.5Jx13″ wheels with 165HR12 rubber replaced the skinny 4Jx13″ cross-ply standard steel wheels of the 1600, vented front discs replaced the factory solid items and bonded metallic linings were used in the rear drums.
Double Carburetor Kits (details taken from the actual engine sales leaflet)
Alpina kit 2 double Weber carburetors 40 DCOE Weber for 1600-2 performance increase from 85 bhp to 100 bhp; 900DM
Alpina kit 2 double Weber carburetors 40 DCOE Weber for 2002 performance increase from 100 bhp to 115 bhp; 900DM
Alpina kit 2 double Weber carburetors 40 DCOE for 1600 Ti, 1600 GT, 2000 Ti, Ti Lux/CS, 2002 Ti; 590DM
Polished Inlet manifold exchange 50DM
Alpina kit with special cylinder head with 2 Weber carburetors, sports camshaft, larger inlet and exhaust valves, special exhaust system consisting of breeches pipe and sound muffler for BMW 1600-2, 115 bhp increase; 2000DM
As above for the 2002 increase from 100 to 140 bhp; 2000DM
As above for the 2002 Ti increase from 120 bhp to 145 bhp; 1800DM
Alpina engine conversions were applicable to new engines with less than 6200 miles (10,000 km).
Alpina special engine, 2.0 litre, with 150 bhp, with Ti pistons, 2 Weber double carburetors 40 DCOE, special cylinder head with sports camshaft, special exhaust system, retouched crankshaft gear, engine completely reassembled, top speed approx 125 Mph (200 kph); 2600DM
Special Air Cleaner for 150 bhp engine; 90DM
Alpina special engine, 2.0 litre, with 165 bhp, with forged pistons, 2 Weber double carburetors 45 DCOE, special cylinder head with larger inlet and exhaust valves and sports camshaft, retouched crank gear, rally exhaust system and air cleaner, top speed exceeding 128 Mph (205 Kph); 3800DM
Alpina special engine, 2.0 litre, with 165 bhp, with forged pistons, Kugelfischer fuel injection, special cylinder head with larger inlet and exhaust valves and sports camshaft, retouched crank gear, special exhaust system and air cleaner, top speed exceeding 130 Mph (210 Kph); 5500DM (Price is for carbureted engine converted to injection for already injected engine price is 3600DM
Alpina special engine, 1.6 litre, with 145 bhp, with forged pistons, 2 Weber double carburetor, special cylinder head with larger inlet and exhaust valves and sports camshaft, retouched crank gear, special exhaust system and air cleaner, top speed exceeding 120 Mph (195 Kph); 3700DM
Run-in on the Alpina 4-Cylinder engines on the test bench; 400DM
Alpina also did made-to-order 02 race engines with 200 bhp, upgraded oil pumps/sumps and much more. Prices at the time soared to 7100DM for a 2002 injected race engine.
Extras included clutch with light alloy pressure plate, lightened fly-wheels, high-grade steel connecting rods, various sports camshafts starting at 300 degrees up to 324 degrees, special valve springs, special radiator, modified water pumps, high pressure oil coolers, racing exhaust systems and more bench testing if the customer wanted it.