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BMW 2002 classic race car

Broadcast date : 7th January 2007

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, BMW began forging a performance image for its cars that had been dormant for decades.

At the forefront of this assault was the famous 2002 coupe, a car that was raced here in long distance events by the likes of Coenrad Spamer, Frank Rundle and Carl-Heinz Peters.

Internationally, the 2002 was already the car to beat, while the famous Batmobile, the be-winged monster based on the three-litre CSL coupe, would go on to greater race track glory.

By the late Ď70s the company had introduced its knife-edged M1, BMWís first, and some would argue only, supercar.

The M1, like the Batmobile, is ultra-rare in South Africa, with only a handful examples of each residing here.

Yes, this was a street-going car back in 1972, although in Germany the car had to be sold with the wing-pack in the boot.

As for the smaller coupe, this re-creation of a famous racing 2002 is all new on the SA historic racing scene, now in 2006.

The idea with this car was to build more than just another 2002 race replica.

Itís an exact replica of the 1971 Alpina 2002 with flared wheel arches, orange paint with matt black boot and bonnet lid, BBS wheels, and even a gaudily contrasting green front spoiler.

The car was built by Mike Oí Sullivanís Mosport race-car workshop, based at Kyalami. And it involved piecing together bits and pieces from all over the world.

Clive Massel and the Mosport team spent months on researching every detail of the car, so that it would be historically correct, true to a heritage that had launched the careers of some great racing drivers.

The 2002 uses a four-cylinder engine thatís perhaps the most famous in BMWís history.

These engines started out as 1600 units in 1966 in the 1602, and ended up in Formula One cars, which, turbocharged by BMW Motorsport, were developing over 1300 horsepower in 1985!

Mosportís Mike O Sullivan is not only a great motorsport engineer, but a great racing driver as well. He has raced everything from Rover V8s through BMWs and Fiats, to Subaru Imprezas, and whenever Mike is on the grid, sparks will fly.

He and his brother Paddy have built and driven some of the countryís most memorable race-cars and continue to do so, with some exciting projects always under development.

This is the car that superseded the BMW 2002 as far as the factory racing effort was concerned in the early 1970s.

Known as the Batmobile for obvious reasons, itís based on the BMW CSL Coupe, and this South African replica is owned by Uli Sanne, and runs an M88 24-valve six-cylinder 635 engine.

The 24-valve engine was a development of this six-cylinder unit, used on the BMW M1.

This M1 Coupe was recently restored by BMW South Africaís Special Vehicles department run by Danie Human, and it has an interesting history.

It was used as a pace car for an international sports car race in the late 1980s, and famously left the track on the old Kyalami circuit at Barbeque corner, confusing the drivers of Porsche 956ís and the like.

This four-spoke steering wheel will quicken the pulse-rate of any Beemer enthusiast. It is present and correct on one of just two road-going CSL Batmobiles in the country, this pristine example owned by champion veteran tennis player Frank Puncec.

The CSL is a lightweight three-litre car with a rated 206 horsepower or 154 kiloWatts, which was astounding back in 1973 when it was launched.

Yes, all those stripes, wheel-arch eyebrows, bonnet strakes and wings were factory-fit equipment.

The final version of the much-loved 2002 was this Tii, also owned by Clive Massel. It featured a fuel-injected engine and was a potential Alfa beater in the early 1970s, despite its typically restrained German interior.

Today 2002ís are becoming increasingly collectible, and, with race-cars like the Alpina flying the flag once again, enthusiasm for the car can only deepen, thanks to Massel and his Mosport crew.

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