David E Davis on the 2002: The Best Review Ever?

BMW 2002

We like to think of our reviews as some of the better ones out there in the enthusiast oriented press. However they clearly pale in comparison to the greats. And one of the greatest in our opinion is the recently deceased David E. Davis.

Perhaps uncoincidentally his most well known, loved and respected review of all time is arguably his BMW 2002 review from April ‘s 1968 Car & Driver. “Turn Your Hymnals to 2002 ” was one of the first American accounts of the BMW that changed the automotive landscape. But it ‘s not just the timeliness of the review but the way it truly transported you through prose to a time, place and state of mind.

To give you an idea of the power of this review, it was this piece that ultimately led to a ground swell of grass-roots support that saw my father buy a 2002 in the early 70 ‘s. It was then that car that gave me the BMW bug when I was a small boy in the early 80 ‘s. And I can only imagine countless readers have similar stories. But enough of that, let ‘s check out the review. Here are a few excerpts for you to judge for yourself:

As I sit here, fresh from the elegant embrace of BMW’s new 2002, it occurs to me that something between nine and ten million Americans are going to make a terrible mistake this year.

…So far as I’m concerned, to hell with all of ‘em. If they’re content to remain in the automotive dark, let them. I know about the BMW 2002, and I suspect enthusiasts will buy as many as those pink-cheeked Bavarians in their leather pants and mountain-climbing shoes would like to build and ship over here. Something between nine and ten million squares will miss out on this neat little 2-door sedan with all the cojones and brio and elan of cars twice its size and four times its price, but some ten thousand keen types will buy them in 1968, so the majority loses for once.

Depress the clutch. Easy. Like there was no spring. Snick. First gear. Remove weight of left foot from clutch. Place weight of right foot on accelerator. The minute it starts moving, you know that Fangio and Moss and Tony Brooks and all those other big racing studs retired only because the feared that someday you’d have one of these, and when that day came, you’d be indomitable. They were right. You are indomitable.

I ‘m not going to use this time to try to equate the 2002 to any modern BMW. There were and are some great cars that wear the Roundel but perhaps none quite captured the pioneering spirit of the 2002. And no one quite captured the essence of the car and the flag of revolution it was about to unfurl than David E. Davis.

You can read the entire original review here. And for a full retrospective on David E. Davis head over to Car & Driver.

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  • JonPD

    I am 100% onboard with your feelings about Davis, and Harris and Metcalfe are the two best today imo. Would have been glorious if Davis would have still been around to write about the 1M.