The Unknown Hatchback, A 1971 BMW 2002 Touring

BMW made hatchbacks in 1971, one such car was the BMW 2002 Touring

The BMW 2002 is the legendary compact sedan that made BMW the powerhouse it is today. Many middle-aged people have fond memories of their younger years, with this car playing a key role. Did you know that BMW made a ‘hatchback’ or three-door version of the car back in the early 1970s, long before the hatchbacks we have today.

BMW’s Neue Klasse

In the early 1960s, BMW created a line of sedans and coupes that were manufactured between 1962 and 1977. These models, particularly the 02 series saved the company after financial crisis in the 1950s.

The first Neue Klasse vehicles were the 1500 and 2000-Series cars.  The 1500 was a 4-door compact executive car first introduced in 1963.  The 2000C and 2000CS luxury coupes designed by famed Italian design house, Bertone that followed two years later. Both vehicles were powered by the new M10 engine, a single overhead cam 4-cylinder engine that has been proven to be very capable over the years.

BMW 02 Series

Determining that a smaller 2 door sedan was needed, BMW created such a car on a shortened version of the Neue Klasse sedans. In 1966, BMW unveiled the 1600-2, at the Geneva Auto Show that would go on to be sold in several variations until production ceased in 1976.  In 1971, the 1600-2 was renamed the 1602.

BMW’s director of product planning, Helmut Werner Bonsch and Alex Von Falkenhausen, the designer of the M10 engine both had a two -liter engine installed in their 1600-2 for their own personal use.  One day, both when having their vehicles worked on at the factory on the same day were shocked to learn that each had made the exact same modifications to their vehicles. From that day forward, they both lobbied the Board of Directors to approve what became the BMW 02 Series.

Meanwhile, American importer Max Hoffman saw an opportunity for a high performance version of the 1600-02. He started also lobbying Munich for such a car for the American market. Shortly thereafter, the Board of Directors at BMW approved the BMW 2002 for production.

The BMW 2002 was a success on several fronts. First, it saved the company from financial ruin, second, it established BMW as a driving machine, third, it created the compact sports sedan as a major automotive segment, and fourth, it was the first turbocharged vehicle for sale in Europe. 1,672 units of the BMW 2002 were produced and sold. The legacy of the 02 Series BMW is a big one. It largely defined the company that BMW is today.

By the end of its production run in 1976, BMW had produced 861,940 02 Series cars globally. 25,827 of those vehicles were the 02 Series touring, a hatchback version of the 02 Series BMW that was sold primarily in Europe.

BMW 2002 Touring

Minimal exterior dimensions combined with maximum interior space were the objectives behind the BMW 02 Series Touring. Available in 1502, 1602, 1802 and 2002, and 2002t ii engine configurations in Europe, the shape of the Touring originated in the wind tunnel. This is typified in the flat windshield and cut-off rear end, which made for decreased wind resistance.

Today, 2002s have increased considerably in value.  The most desirable variants of the BMW 02 Series are the turbos, Cabriolets, 2002tii’s and BMW 2002 Tourings.  As their numbers decrease and their legacy grows, they will increase in value in the eyes of collectors.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top