Meet Japan’s BMW 2002 Club

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.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Photos by Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia



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This article came as a total, but certainly most welcome, surprise. Great cars, great atmosphere, interesting pictures. It is interestings to see the owners, as they are the heroes who keep these vehicles on the street. Back in 1996, my first car was a (rust bucket) 1977 BMW 1502. Yes I know - a far cry from a 2002 or any half-decently motorized 02. But hey... I didn't have money and it was a love/hate experience.

Speaking of love: I created an 02 Wagon and Turbo delivery van a couple of years ago with photoshop :-)


Geest work Sebastian. I would love an '02 as a project car but prices, even of really rusty ones are going up like crazy. But maybe Dome day.... Keep up the good work!!!


The BMW 2002 would be a nice project car to work on
My dream build with the S54 straight-six engine from M3


The BMW 2002 is one of the best driver's cars ever made


In reference to your comment about trans am you should added that Datsun spent tons of money supporting the 510 team. Alfa also supported their team. The SCCA would not allow race parts homologated in Europe to be used on the 2002 so they refused to support the 2002 in the US. SCCA also allowed Datsun to use a 5spd from the 240z. The 2002 was run by privateers running against factory teams.


Horst Kwech's Alfas were as private as they get. First he was allowed to buy a Giulia GTA and later he used a modified 1750 GTV


Unlike the current BMW models, the 2002's kidney grille just look so right and fitting.

Thanks for sharing the 2002s, all in one place at SH.


Nice to see photos of the proud owners with their cars :-)


Fun Fact... Japanese-spec 2002 Turbos had molded flares (as shown in these photos). It's an odd look, so I know of some who have converted to the more-typical exposed-rivet look found everywhere else around the world.


.... and, great shots! Always good to see 02's on SH.


I am impressed to see so many in good condition. But the guy in the varsity jacket reminds me of professional wrestler Masahiro Chono.


2002 club of the little island of Puerto Rico


Did you seriously just looked up the Motorsports Data from Wikipedia?....Jesus........I know this is not Petrolicous but dam..... The 2002 was not campaigned well in America, no factory support, handicapped by targeted rules, and literally only dealership owners were racing them.... The 2002 was on and off European touring car champion for several with it's Alfa gtv rival. It was the European rally champion in 1971, Won both 1970/1971 24h nurburgring not just 1970, and lastly it won a class win at Le Man's in 1975 beating a rx3, 911 rsr, it's bigger brother CSL, and ford was using a detuned m12 f2 motor........


I'm impressed I just managed to spell BMW correctly. (Thank you for the clarification, BTW)


What is not mentioned is Japan is insane with taxing old cars. Anything after 12 years old gets a compounding tax increase every year.....That's a lot of money


I love the cockpit on that bmw 2002 with the red gauge surround, feels like a small fighter jet or airplane or something. Definitely the precursor to the E30, rare and rarely seen I love how well maintained these cars are. But then again everything from japan is well cared for as cars over there are a bit different then what we see here.

Take away as a whole cool to see the nice photos like always, the front grille reminds me of the 1989 5 series I saw for sale in 2000 a long time ago, would you believe the dealer wanted 16k usd for it and it had 50k millage 5speed manual and was considered "low millage" at the time.

Lmao those 5 series now go for pennies on the dollar.

Sorry for the Rant, Love your articles, Cheers From the East Coast, US



I was so delighted to see those 02s featured here on Speedhunters, the last time i think was the tourings from the US? Those clear glass headlights on the Japan Turbo are strange.


Wow guys I wish I was not staying in South Africa I'll be one of you guys, keep it up


Wow guys I wish I was not staying in South Africa I'll be one of you guys, keep it up