Behind The Build | BMW 2002 TII

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It’s not often you get the opportunity to reflect on something that you are truly proud of.

Classic car restoration is something we just love here at SouthernBM, but it’s even better when the hard work pays off, the owner is delighted, and you get to share it with so many BMW enthusiasts. Here is a look back on the latest SouthernBM Classic restoration project – a 2002Tii.

Like all good stories, this one starts with a guy randomly ask if we would do a rebuild project for an old BMW. Now, this isn’t an unusual conversation to have, I do get this a lot but there needs to be a lot of discussion had before we can go down this road. Most importantly, is it restoration or rejuvenation? A paint job or just a clean up? As you can imagine the list goes on. The owner of the 2002Tii had seen our previous work and was keen to hear my opinion.


Knowing that he wanted to drive the car once the works were completed, I suggested that rejuvenation would be the way to go. He was keen from the start and I was surprised how much he let me have the lead, I know if it was one of my cars I would have had a plan in my head from the day I bought it home. In this instance, I got to treat this project like it was my own car and he just wanted to come along for the ride.

This was all well and good, I was excited, he was excited but there was just a small hitch in the plan; he hadn’t actually bought the car yet. There is nothing like a good plan to help motivate the buying process. It all came around really quickly, we performed a pre-purchase inspection, he sorted the details and he was now the owner of a very clean 2002Tii in Polaris Silver, manual (and surprisingly) a nice straight car with only minimal rust. It had good bones to start a project on and something you could really ‘see’ at the other end.

The disassembly on these cars is fairly straight forward for us, I had one as my daily back in the early 90’s and really bought me back to those times. Jim and I had this car in pieces in no time in our SouthernBM Classic workshop. The car was back to a bare shell and ready to go out and be rust repaired, the body work attended to and the whole thing repainted.

The brief for the car was for it to look as good as it did in the showroom back in 1974. A lot of time was taken for the little things like the deft lines along the sides of the car which is important on an original car’s character but not seen often nowadays after the cars have had paint jobs and various repairs.

We set out and sourced all the original alloy external moulds, the waist moulds, all the body, door and window seals from BMW which took forever to arrive. We disassembled all the suspension, stripped it out, sandblasted the componentry, ordered new bearings, bushes and seals, electroplated all the nuts and bolts, and then powder coated all the componentry that wasn’t getting replaced with new parts.

Some items were naturally replaced from wear and tear over the years and items like the brake boosters, master cylinders were all rebuilt or replaced with ATE Classic original parts. We had the dash re-skun, new seat material, new carpets, and had the cluster rebuilt to make sure everything worked perfectly.

All of these made the reassembly a breeze and naturally really rewarding for someone like myself who has a real passion for BMW cars.


We took our time on the reassembly and when almost completed we attacked the fuel injection system, rebuilding the cold start circuit which had several issues. The fuel injectors were overhauled, as was the Kugelfischer pump. The starter motor, alternator, radiator, water pump, thermostat and all the water hoses and fuel hoses were also replaced.

I was so impressed with how well the car came together, plus it was great to see that comments were flowing from so many of the people who came to visit us and our BMW museum while we were on the journey of the rebuild. It really goes to show the kind of following Classic BMW’s have. I think it is mainly the reminder of days gone by where everything seemed a lot simpler.

The real joy was going for that first drive. The feeling of driving a really mechanical car again was definitely a thrill. The looks and thumbs up I got on that first drive I will remember for a long time. It just goes to show when you do a job right, people will see it and can appreciated it, even if they have no idea want went into it. It definitely took me back to when I had my 2002 back in the day and reminded me that we had really hit the brief on this build. It really is a showroom condition car and something that if you viewed in real life would have to agree, it really is stunning.

For someone who bought one of these new it must have been something, I tell you. It was a really enjoyable project to be apart of and something personally I am really proud of.

The SouthernBM team all pulled together and produced exactly what the owner was looking to achieve when he set out on this process and something he can now just admire, drive and enjoy for years to come.

Words: Andrew Brien | SouthernBM

Images: Leigh Kelly / Minami Media + Production
Originally published in BMWDCM’s idrive edition 2

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