The BMW 2002 was a bit of an oddball when it came to American shores. The compact, boxy two-door clashed with the sizable American iron that prowled the roadways, and it’s low-displacement inline-four had a hard time keeping up with the big V-8 engines. However, what it lacked in power, the 2002 more than made up for in the corners. Its low weight and dynamic handling characteristics made the 2002 ideal for just about any motoring event involving turns.

One such event was SCCA Trans Am racing. The first few years of the 70s are typically referred to as the latter half of the “golden years” for SCCA Trans Am, with classes that featured production cars you could actually walk into a showroom and buy.

This particular 2002ti was built to compete in that series with the help of legendary BMW performance specialist company Alpina. The car features several Alpina upgrades, including a Weber side-draft carburetor setup and three-piece alloy wheels. The fenders are stuffed with extra rubber, and the engine has been tinkered with to give the Bimmer a little more speed down the straights.

The car ran in the ’71 and ’72 seasons before reaching retirement. It was then put into storage for nearly a quarter century before BMW resurrected it with new livery for the 1996 Monterey Historic Races.

In August 2014, the Bimmer was back at Laguna Seca, this time with Road&Track Executive Editor Sam Smith at the wheel and its original Alpina orange-and-black paint on the sheet metal. It’s a real treat seeing this old-school racer on full attack, slipping around its competitors and charging the corkscrew. You can check out the video of Smith in action here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti.

  • 1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti
  • Year:
    1970
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    220 @ 8000
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    50000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti High Resolution Exterior
- image 563920

The 2002 employs a pretty straightforward exterior when it comes to styling. Nothing frilly or extraneous; just simple, boxy lines from hood to trunk. On this particular example, the alloy wheels are wider than stock, the fenders are flared out to accommodate larger race tires, and the livery resurrects its Trans Am heritage, plus there are some light aero enhancements to make it a bit more slippery. Some of the chrome trim is retained for extra style points. Note the iconic BMW grille; that twin design can be seen throughout BMW’s evolution, growing in size and length through the years.

1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti - Exterior Dimensions

Weight Approx. 1990 lbs.
Length 166.5 Inches
Width 64.0 Inches
Wheelbase 98.4 Inches

Interior

As expected, the inside of this racecar is all business: bucket seats, harnesses, window net, and a roll cage. The large steering wheel was returned to Alpina for restoration, and now sports brand-new hand stitched leather to assist in oversteer corrections.

Drivetrain

Alpina has a long history of creating high-performance versions of BMW’s most popular cars, and this 2002 represents genesis for that tradition. The uncorked four-cylinder puts out around 220 horsepower, which is a healthy figure for a vehicle that weighs less than a ton. And when you consider that this car is almost 50 years old, getting the motor to spin to 8,000 rpm is pretty impressive as well. Alpina clearly did good work to keep this Bimmer hanging with the more powerful cars in the straights.

1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti - Drivetrain Specifications

Engine Type SOHC, 8-valve 4-Cylinder, Twin Side-Draft 2-Barrel Weber Carburators
Displacement 1,990 cc
Bore x stroke 89 mm x 80 mm
Power output Approx. 220 HP @ 8,000 RPM

Prices

If you want to build your own lithe 70s racer, or if you just like the idea of a 2002 for the street, you’re in luck: there are plenty available to purchase on the used car market, from old beaters for a few grand, to perfectly restored $25,000 show-stoppers. If you want a fun, compact classic, the 2002 is a great choice.

Competitors

Datsun 510

no article High Resolution Exterior
- image 577013

Pictured model is not the SCCA Trans Am model

In the battle of the speed boxes, the 2002 had some stiff competition running against the 510. There were plenty of similarities between the two: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, light body, and small, torquey motor. However, with the likes of driver John Morton behind the wheel, the 510 ran away with the championship in ’71 and ’72.

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

Video: A Look Back at the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale
- image 571552

The Italian entrant in SCCA Trans Am clinched a championship win in 1970, and stayed on as a frontrunner for ’71 and ’72. At the time, Alfas were quite popular amongst both privateers and professional race teams around the world, with it’s racing division Autodelta preparing competition versions of Alfa’s street cars for road races and rally events.

Conclusion

1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti High Resolution Exterior
- image 563919

The Alpina 2002ti is a throwback to a simpler time in racing, when anyone with a few bucks and a passion for going fast could take a trip to their local dealership and buy, more or less, the same car they saw trading blows on the track. Nowadays, the fires of competition have pushed the limits of what an automobile is capable of, and for better or worse, there is a disconnect between what you cheer for on track and what you can drive around on the street. Modern race cars are like spaceships compared to these older models, but when the flag is dropped at events like the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion, the glory days are brought back to life over the sound of carbureted motors.

  • Leave it
    • Low power
    • Possibly too tail-happy

Press Release

Today BMW announced that it will run its newly restored 1970 BMW ALPINA 2002ti in the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next week. The car will be raced by Road & Track Executive Editor and vintage racer Sam Smith.

1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti High Resolution Exterior
- image 563920

This racing 2002ti was built by German BMW constructor/tuner/race team ALPINA GmbH in 1970 and features ALPINA’s signature Weber side draft carburetor setup, engine performance upgrades, flared fenders and three piece ALPINA alloy wheels. In late 1970, the car was sold to Vasek Polak BMW of Hermosa Beach, California. The car was then campaigned by Competition of Torrance in SCCA events for the 1971 and 1972 seasons and then retired.

The car spent the next 24 years in storage before being purchased by BMW of North America, completely reconditioned and painted in non-period-correct BMW Motorsport livery and entered for the BMW celebration at the 1996 Monterey Historic Races. Nick Craw, John Morton, Danica Patrick, Boris Said, Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner have all vintage raced the car since its rebirth.

In early 2014, the car was restored to its original 1970 BMW ALPINA Team Orange with Semi-Gloss Black hood and rear deck livery with the help of ALPINA. Even the steering wheel was returned to ALPINA in order for ALPINA’s leather specialists to restore the hand stitched leather on the original wheel.

BMW and ALPINA, both at home in the German state of Bavaria, have a long history of working together to produce special BMW automobiles. Burkard Bovensiepen, son of the founder of ALPINA Business Machines and an enthusastic racing driver/engineer, began his automotive career path in 1961 by developing a dual-carburetor setup for the just-introduced BMW 1500 sedan – the precusor to the venerable 2002 models. It was a predictive beginning: to take an already fine-performing BMW (which also just happened to be a practical sedan) and making it perform even better. ALPINA soon became a name famous in Europe and the wider world for putting a particular performance accent on BMWs and winning races.

By 1964, BMW had officially recognized ALPINA’s contribution to BMW performance. Not long thereafter, Burkard Bovensiepen founded the ALPINA company – ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen KG – that continues today, creating special versions of BMW automobiles that offer a particular brand of performance for discriminating auto enthusiasts. Yet outside the circle of dedicated BMW enthusiasts, ALPINA has kept a low profile in North America. In addition to racing versions of BMWs, ALPINA has developed a progression of BMW-based cars based on 3, 5, 6, 8, Z4 and Z8 models and offered them on a limited-production basis. ALPINA is located in the small Bavarian city of Buchloe, some 50 miles southwest of Munich, BMW’s headquarters city and the capital of Bavaria.

In recent models, ALPINA has concentrated on delivering very high levels of performance with moderate rpm ranges and automatic transmission. ALPINA currently offers the B7 model line based on the BMW 7 Series and newly introduced BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe in the US market.

The BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe delivers the exceptional 0 to 60 mph acceleration of only 3.7 seconds. The 540-horsepower and 540 lb-ft output of the ALPINA V8 Bi-Turbo engine is channeled through an 8 speed Sport Automatic Transmission with ALPINA Switch-Tronic and BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system.

A carefully tuned high performance stainless steel ALPINA exhaust system with twin elliptical tailpipes resonates with a deep but unobtrusive exhaust note.

1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti High Resolution Exterior
- image 563919

BMW Adaptive Drive with Active Roll Stabilization technology works together with the fully variable torque distribution of the xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system. The seamless integration of chassis and powertrain enables agile and neutral driving dynamics that meet the highest demands for sportiness, comfort and all-weather traction.

With a top speed of 198 MPH, the BMW Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe impresses not only through its effortless and confident super-high performance, but also with its finely balanced handling and smooth refinement.

The BMW ALPINA 2002ti is scheduled to race at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion from Thursday August 14th through Sunday August 17th.

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