The 1 Series Coupe Throwback: 1972 2002tii

With the introduction of the 1 Series coupe and convertible BMW has gone retro, at least in marketing. At releases they have mentioned comparisons to the 2002, had them present for the viewing public and have even named a concept with the suffix tii. So what is the reason for all this? Is it to feed the publics ‘ love of nostalgia in order to sell more cars?Is it simply BMW going back to their origins and what made people fall in love with the brand: a practical and sporty car?

That is for you to decide but here at Bimmerfile we thought we should give the 1972 2002tii an introduction to all those too young to have experienced the car in its hay-day or for those of you that wish you had never sold yours a trip down memory lane!

The 2002 model was introduced in 1968 to the US market after two years of sales within Europe. American car buyers viewed the car as roomy for a two-door, with a large trunk and that German engineered quality that we have come to love. Over 850,000 of the model were sold around the world until in 1977 the beloved 3er replaced it.

The original 2002 was carbureted and suffered from all the standard issues associated with them, a performance decrease being one of them. This all changed with the introduction of the tii in 1972. The tii featured a Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection,a cast iron block and an aluminum head with a single overhead cam. Until 1974 enthusiasts could have purchased this version with its increased horsepower, drivability and efficiency for $4100.

With only 140 hp and 145 lbs. of torque (I say only because by today ‘s standards that is miniscule) the tii benefited from its superb handling and a lighter weight (2225 lbs). BMW accomplished this by designing a rigid monocoque chassis that was the base for all other aspects. Steering utilized a rack-and-pinion setup, the car featured an almost unheard of(for the time period) independent rear suspension and the front featured MacPherson struts along with coil springs. Power front discs along with rear drums provided the braking grip. There was one transmission option, so take it or leave it; a four-speed manual that even included a third floor mounted pedal for the clutch.

The January 1972 issue of Motor Trend describes the tii as the most fun anyone has ever built into a car. They recorded the 0-60 time for it at 9.9 seconds and also stated it was the best small sedan in its class.

In late 2005 BMW Mobile Tradition had completed a project that took over 11 months… the team was busy at work building the very car that created the buzz behind the brand. The car that was practical for everyday, sophisticated and more importantly showed the public that there was more to sporty than 0 to 60 in a straight line; handling. They had built a new (old) 2002 tii in Inka Orange! Over 90% of the car was build from new old stock parts, with the remainder of it being built by parts the team created from original plans. All this work was completed in a glass workshop outside the Four-Cylinder Munich headquarters so that passersby could see what was going on.

The restoration car shows what an overwhelming difference the BMW of today has in terms of interior amenities from it. The interior from 1972 featured a no frills approach with none of today ‘s comforts. Power steering, power door locks or windows were not available (not to mention any of the other technologies we take for granted). Just a black instrument cluster (tach, speedofuel and TEMP), a deep three-spoke wheel and some manually adjustable weaved black vinyl seats. Oh, and by-the-way they only adjust four ways!

The tii that Mobile Traditions recreated is something to be marveled. The car was built to factory specifications by a passionate team. They did it because they could and because of the memories it invokes, the car is a throwback to what BMW was and what they are trying to become again. It was a cue to what BMW had up its sleeve in the 135i: a practical car with sporting intentions.

For further reading I recommend an article in the January 2007 Roundel by Mike Self. He wrote about his experiences with this car. He and a few privileged others have had the opportunity to drive this new/old car and one thing they all have stated in common is that it made each of the smile from ear to ear!Motor Trendwas also able to spend time with the car and they took it through the paces as well.

Research for this article was conducted using information from magazines, BMW press releases and archives. Further information was obtained from the web including the BMWCCA and Motor Trend websites. Pictures were also obtained from these sources.

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  • dave

    a veritable classic, nice article

  • cze33r

    What a fantastic article !!!

    I really hope that someone in BMW and MINI takes note of this and is inspired to create true successors to the original cars and stop the current trend of making everything bigger and more complicated.

  • Thanks for the comments! We too hope to see some lighter, simpler cars… well at least lighter!

  • 9

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • 9

    “I really hope that someone in BMW and MINI takes note of this and is inspired to create true successors to the original cars and stop the current trend of making everything bigger and more complicated.” -cze33r I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • So what is $4100 in 1974 equivalent to in today’s terms? Makes you wish you could go back in time and get one.

    Great article! Love the car!

  • I remember my Dad taking us out for a very spirited test drive in a 70’s 2002 and flying around in the back seat like on the Star video

  • dickdavid :So what is $4100 in 1974 equivalent to in today’s terms? Makes you wish you could go back in time and get one.

    $4100 would equate to around $18k today. However, you can not do a 1:1 comparison because of the added safety requirements of modern cars and the additional “standard” equipment. So you are looking at a low to mid $20k car with those additions…. a stripped 1 is a bit more than that!

  • Jon

    I totally agree, especially since I think even a Mini is bloated, the BMW clan trending towards middle age (i.e. getting a bit bulky around the midsection).

    I am keeping my fingers crossed for a lightweight Tii one of these days. Will be looking hard at the E89 once it comes out to see how its weight is doing, though I have already read that its gaining weight too. Then again have read several sites that says their is a option of eventually getting the new V8 in a E89(droooool)

  • Jon: Will be looking hard at the E89 once it comes out to see how its weight is doing

    I too hope of a lighter Z in the pipeline. With the Audi TT being made of mostly Aluminum it has gone on a diet and weighs in at 2900 lbs with the heavy Quattro system, BMW has to at least hit that number in a rear-wheel-drive variant. I believe they can with the move to Regensburg.

  • Thanks, Michael.

  • R. L. Wadsworth

    I loved my T11, bought new in 1972 to replace a ’68 2002 that had been rear-ended while stopped behind a flashing school bus. (There were inattentive drivers in those days, too.) But I’m not prepared to get bent all out of shape about the weight of the 135 I have on order. With me and a full tank of gas, it will weigh about 3350. How bad is this considering that a Porsche 911 Turbo weighs 3610 (R&T Curb weight)? Given the greatly increased performance, handling, and refinement over the Tii, I don’t expect to be anything but delighted with the 135 as a car for the road. Weight or no weight, we’ve come a long way, baby.

  • Jon

    I have also been reading a few rumors about a possible Z2 to offer a entry level Z with a tad lighter weight. Would love to see M grab the new e89 and make a e89 lightweight with the new V8 in it. They are already talking the new e89 is going to weigh in a bit more than the e86. Would love to see a sub 3000 lbs e89 m coupe with the new V8. Would buy one right now without hesitation.

  • Given the greatly increased performance, handling, and refinement over the Tii, I don’t expect to be anything but delighted with the 135 as a car for the road. Weight or no weight, we’ve come a long way, baby.

    Having driven the car, I couldn’t agree more. I think people will be happily surprised at how the 135i seems to shrink around you when it’s pushed.

    On a side note, while the suspension could do a slightly better job at hiding the weight, I think the car is set-up to please the vast majority of enthusiasts who will be buying it.

  • Jon

    Still can’t wait to lay my right foot into one Gabe. Looking forward to the future for the 1 series as I am pretty sure sooner or later the M division will make a full on development. Would honestly be shocked if they don’t call it the Tii as a nod to history and since they already produced a M1.

    The 135i looks to be a nice starting point for a fun road toy though from the video’s I’ve seen to date looks like the suspension could do with a little work. Will be in the BMW showroom the day this car rolls off the carrier. Have already secured a first day test drive of the 135i.

  • Looking forward to the future for the 1 series as I am pretty sure sooner or later the M division will make a full on development.

    After talking directly to the head engineer on the new M3 I can confidently say… don’t hold your breath.

  • R. L. Wadsworth

    Gabe,

    It was your review I was thinking of when remarking on the effect of the weight. I’m likely, at 72, to be in your “vast majority” for whom the stock lift-off-tuck-in/throttle-on-tail-out behavior is enough fun. (I think, by the way, that you put this issue tactfully and don’t sneer as some writers have done, suggesting that anyone who doesn’t modify the car at once must be undiscriminating or not any kind of enthusiast.) If I find the push sets in too far below my driving speeds on public roads,

    Slightly OT, but this is as good a place as any. Having enjoyed your contributions to Motoringfile, I’m glad to find you on this promising new site. Good stuff. Thanks.

  • Jon

    Kinda sad to hear that Gabe but think the 135i is a really nice place to start for modifying it to really shine. Starting with a product this nice should not take a huge investment to really make it the kind of car I love.

  • I’m likely, at 72, to be in your “vast majority” for whom the stock lift-off-tuck-in/throttle-on-tail-out behavior is enough fun.

    I couldn’t have put it better myself. And if/when I get a 135i, I’ll probably be in the same camp due to Chicago roads and only doing a few track days a year.

    Having enjoyed your contributions to Motoringfile, I’m glad to find you on this promising new site. Good stuff. Thanks.

    I’m honored to have you here. Be sure to let us know how you like the 1 Series.

    Kinda sad to hear that Gabe but think the 135i is a really nice place to start for modifying it to really shine. Starting with a product this nice should not take a huge investment to really make it the kind of car I love.

    If it makes you (or any other potential 135i owner) feel better, the M engineer I spoke with seemed frustrated when I asked him about the idea of an M1. I remember him saying, “sometimes an AG car is already fully optimized and it’s not possible for us to do anything within the appropriate price bracket.

  • Jon

    Nice! Although I think that without to much drama I could take care of the low speed under steer that seems built in on every car to protect people from themselves.

    I would be happy as a clam in a bone stock 135i though as the car already has a large majority of what I love about cars going for it.

  • R. L. Wadsworth

    Amen. And to finish the sentence that somehow ended up truncated in my last comment–Tried the preview?–let me say that I understand fully the little tweaks at either end that would “cure” the understeer if it is more protective than I’d like. I recall the experience of my Porsche 996: a racer used to a Viper drove it and could only say, “Push, push, push” about a car that seemed to me to have just about the right amount of it. That is, if you entered a corner too fast, that tug came early enough that you could lift off and not swap ends, while the terrific power allowed you to plant the back and continue once you had a better line. From what Gabe has said, I’d expect the 135i to feel pretty much the same. I’d call that benign understeer and live with it.

  • Todd

    Just trying to work out what color 135 will look nice next to my polaris silver 1974 2002…

  • MINIAC
    Until 1974 enthusiasts could have purchased this version with its increased horsepower, drivability and efficiency for $4100.

    Not quite …

    My 1967 Austin Cooper S was stolen in August 1972 and I ordered an Inka tii in September. Looking at the invoice, $4,360 base price, $160 for sunroof, $90 for reclining seats with Skai (vinyl) uphostery, $58 for tinted glass, $37 for Michelin XAS tires and $110 for dealer prep. About $5,100 with taxes and license.

    After waiting 5 months, I ended up taking delivery of a Taiga (metallic green) tii that someone else passed on. Same spec as the one I ordered but with a base price increase and $150 extra for the metallic paint … about $5,500 out the door.

    The tii was my only car for almost 30 years. I sold it for $10,500 in September 2002, two months after taking delivery on my MINI Cooper S.

  • Miniac thanks for the info! In piecing together this article there were a lot of discrepancies on pricing, weight, horsepower etc. If you have an invoice obviously I take that as first hand evidence and the correct numbers. What I found were press releases and marketing materials from the archives in addition to period reviews. Thanks for the insight and hope you enjoy the site!

  • MINIAC

    Michael,

    I enjoyed your write-up on the tii.

    Here’s two great sources for information on the 2002:

    • September 1996 Issue of Roundel (BMW CCA Magazine)
    • The BMW 02 Series “The Cult Car” by BMW Mobil Tradition

    These two publications are a “must have” for the 2002 enthusiast.

  • TOM CLEAVE

    Sadly 2002 is gone forever and sorry to say it’s not ever coming back! With Americas need to have everything at our finger tips and the fact that we legslated natrul selection out of existance it just not posible! So enjoy and take care of the ones we still have, being a bmw master for 30 years now, the new cars are as always most fun to drive car but by no means not a 2002.An 02 talks to the driver thourgh the steering wheel, the brake pedal, gas pedal and not to forget the set of your pants. Sorry the new cars level of proformace is much higher but they feel numb and one must truly trust them because they’re like a video game more than a car.

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  • Kyle S

    My 1995 5 series is communicative in the same way.