There is something about putting ‘Japan’ before a car club’s name that automatically raises the interest levels by a couple of percentage points, and this is no different.
While there aren’t any hidden neon lights or bosozoku-inspired styling here (Japan’s 2002 Club are quite traditional in that respect), there was something quite Japanese about how this impromptu meet came about. Mark’s original plan was to meet just the club’s president, Toshio Shizu, but inevitably, considerably more members showed up.
Although they have their own following within the BMW community, ’02s are generally overlooked by the rest of the car world, despite being the predecessor to the 3 Series. The entry-level BMW saloon (that’s sedan, Americans) was definitely one of BMW’s more humble offerings, and the Turbo model aside (which was BMW’s first turbocharged production car), never really set the world alight, nor was it meant to.
In motorsport, the 2002 had the unenviable task of competing with Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Datsun in the Trans Am Series, taking only two victories. It did win the 1970 Nürburgring 24 Hours with a gentleman named Hans Stuck behind the wheel…
There isn’t much to write about here, although it’s just nice to reflect and see so many good examples of these cars being maintained and used still in 2019. It’s also one of those rare occasions where Japan’s club could actually be any club elsewhere in the world. I guess there’s a tried and tested recipe for the ’02s which transcends borders and cultures.
Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing to take a closer look at one. You know, for science.
Photos by Mark Riccioni