The BMW 2002 Tii: Poised to finally become a collector’s car?


For as much as 30 years, we’ve enjoyed a relatively affordable classic car in the BMW 2002tii by comparison of other cars of similar notoriety. The Tii’s have always been dear to those in the “know” as the 2002 series car to have. Some of you may not know, it was produced in small numbers by comparison of many other desired collectibles.

While not as rare as say as the limited run 2002 full cabriolet or the 2002 Turbo which were only shipped to a few countries originally, the 1971-1975 2002tii series has been the go-to car for those with the ’02 bug who wanted the best readily available performance looks of the 2002 models with more get up and go.

Worldwide, total production of the fuel injected 2002tii was 44, 478 – produced from April 1971 to December 1975 in 5 variations.

Considering that they were initially a relatively inexpensive car for their day, it may explain why very few were spared the lifetime of pampered luxury that owners of the now super valuable 1965-70 Shelby Mustangs (14,237 total production ) or 1967-69 Z/28 Camaro (28,103 produced) would have later given their car, the 2002tii is rare. Produced from 1972-1974, the 2002Tii’s are one half the Shelby  production and one fourth all the desirable Z/28’s by one quarter.

Let’s face it, if you’ve owned one, you know it wasn’t meant to be a garage queen. To not drive a Tii regularly is a sin of great proportions. The car truly thrives on high revving 6,500 RPM acceleration and gravity defying handling where it has few peers even today. With an overdrive 5 speed transmission installed, it has legs for 120 mph any time you feel like going there.

As this car celebrates a thirty five year anniversary, why has this car not yet seen the skyrocketing values of the others of it’s day?  To the uneducated buyer, Kelly Blue Book lists the car now in the 14,000$ range for best of the best. For those in the know, several fine original examples have sold for $16,000-28,000 on eBay in the last nine months. We know of a few pristine, perfectly restored originals selling for $40k and up.

Where is the seller’s market heading with the 2002tii? Let’s investigate a few reasons why the days of an affordable 2002tii are just about over.
In general, what drives the prices up for any collectible sports car?

This writer’s observation, which I can speak to,  since I fall into that category is this:

Men, reaching their gray beard years of 40-55 often dreamed of these cars or held fond memories of driving one when new. They are searching for something to fill their void after the days of poverty! The kids have left the house and finished college, and the career brings Dad his time to finally spend a few bucks on himself so he can enjoy his hobby – cars. Be it a Chevy, Ford, Ferrari, MG or BMW 2002tii, the feeling appears to be universal.
Collect ability – the Barrett Jackson phenom

The driving factor of escalating prices of the Z/28s and Shelbys is directly proportional to the acceptance of truly popular cars. If they were popular when new, many are timeless. They are directly as popular now, with a 21st century price tag. The age of this awareness is now true for 2002tiis. A $5,000 Tii in 2001 is now a $15,000 car if it’s not a rust bucket and has been reasonably documented and cared for. California lifetime cars easily meet this category by the location alone.

Another factor is TV of course. Rising popularity of motorcycle and car themed shows on the Speed Channel, Discovery or TLC are at an all time high. Names like Chip Foose, Boyd Coddington and Orange County Chopper are now part of the TV watching generation vernacular. A recent trip I made to Argentina for business encountered several unanticipated conversations about “OverHaulin” and “American Hot Rod” by car enthusiasts there.

Can the thrill be universal in countries similar to Europe and the USA? In my opinion… yes.

Barrett Jackson auctions in many ways set the bar for what somebody is willing to pay for a car on the high side . Now, is there a show that features a 2002tii being worked over like a 70 ‘Cuda? Not yet. Stay tuned.

Will original BMW replacement price drive up the value?

Probably only for the people who already have a 2002 and want to buy a 2002tii for a project car. In the USA where the dollar has steadily declined against the Euro, the cost of parts for any BMW has escalated as much as 50% from 2003 to 2006. When it was considered “high” to pay $600 for a new dash, they are now nearing $2,000. Many parts which sat in parts bins at BMW’s Mobile Tradition for decades finally run out, they eventually come back at 3x the price. The door seals which originally sold for about $40 each in the early 80’s are now over $200 each BMW list. Our hobbies have limits for each person. If there is value in restoring the car, the money isn’t always returned immediately. When your house goes on the market, is an addition to your house or major redecoration immediately returned on your sale price right after it’s done? Generally speaking no, and it may take 2-5 years before the value add is realized. In cars, this aging period can take even longer on some makes.
Calendar dates

The year 2002 was truly the high water mark of instant gratification for many buyers. The demand has peaked since, but the coolness of driving a 2002 in the year 2002 is still remembered by many owners as a “magic” time of ownership and respectability from the automotive press who heralded the car after many years of being a dormant species.


A review of the Tii Registry shows we have about 1,000 cars known in the database. I could argue that we have 10% of the cars known in the world registered. That would leave 43, 478 left. My US speculation is that we can account for 20% of the 7,447 – or roughly 1,500 Tii’s are left. Left meaning accounted for, not 1,500 running. I would speculate there are one third – 500 of that 1,500 that could muster a 500 mile drive if forced to. There are maybe 10% of that 10% willing to make a cross country drive without fear of breakdown.

If there are 1,500 Tii’s left in the USA, and 500 you could actually drive on a road somewhere, I estimate the demand would have to be 20x that to drive the price up. 30,000 buyers wanting 2002tiis bad enough to create a buyers market to put the car in a muscle car category. Will that ever happen?

Likely not. Speculating that the car will never reach a demand akin to Shelbys, early Z/28s or the ‘Cuda or Challenger of Mopar, is more about brand awareness than anything else.

BMW is not a brand that people with average car knowledge recognize as a sports car company who has cars from its past. Cars from 1996 on perhaps? Yes – the M3 and other M cars have done a lot for the image of BMW, but few connect the dots between M and Tii the way people connect the latest Porsche 911 from any of it’s ancestral past.

As 2002 and 2002tii owners, we constantly educate those who stop long enough to ask us “what is it, a Mini Cooper?” There is much work to do… before the car is truly recognized by the public as the car to have. Will it take a blockbuster Hollywood movie where the 2002 is part of the plot – a star who can’t stop driving their Tii? A car the next US president has? An MTV music video with the Hip Hop crowd?

An old car friend from my high school days made a simple 4,500$ investment for a 1968 Shelby GT500 in 1978 that was in pretty rough shape body wise, but mechanically sound. He fixed it up and painted it the right way in the 80s. He only managed to keep his wife from selling it 4 times when they needed money. He won the argument every time. “Just wait, somebody will want this more than us one day”. The car is still in his garage… his insurance policy for the car is 2x the value of his home.

For the 2002tii, only time will tell. In the mean time, I’ll just keep putting gas in my 2002tii’s tank, fling it around a curve or two any chance I get,  and dream about a day when a Tii is placed on the same pedestal with the a Shelby GT-500KR or a 70 Hemi Cuda convertible at Barrett Jackson auctions.

Not that I would sell mine then, you understand… 🙂 Keith

By the numbers

LHD Tii                27,572
USA Tii                 7,447
2000 Tii Touring        5,058
RHD Tii                 3,678
2002 Tii Touring          723
Total               44,478

Last update: 2008-09-27 21:12
Author: Keith Kreeger

Comment of Jim Gerock (2008-01-18 20:14:07):
I certainly agree with Keith’s comments on the “up and coming” popularity of the 02 series. I have been a VW (beetle) nut for at least 30 years and reading the 2002 Buyers Guide in the August 2006 Bimmer Magazine got me hooked! Most people think I just bought a 2002 3-series. The price of replacement parts has seemed to be on the rise. Only time will tell, since there aren’t many tii’s left here in the states.

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