This is the first one of these I've ever seen in the flesh. It's a 1972 BMW 2002 tii I spotted across the street from City Hall in San Francisco. I was walking by and saw a familiar headlight and turn signal peeking out from a row of parked cars and said to myself, "Meh, just another 2002- waaaaaitaminute."
That roofline seemed a little long for a 2002 and sure enough, it was a Touring. Touring was BMW's name for the wagon version of their cars, though the 2002 Touring is really more of a hatchback than a true wagon. I'm used to seeing 2002s in The City all the time, which is why none have previously been featured here. I've basically stopped caring about them. But this one was special. And by special I mean rare. I know basically nothing about the 2002 Touring beyond the fact I never see them, ever, and the irritation I get from looking at the rear angle. Where the regular 2002 of this vintage has rounded rear corners that suit the little circular lenses, the Touring has a squared-off Kamm tail which makes the taillight panel resemble some kind of Fiat or even a second-generation Corvair missing a pair of lights. All the BMW details are there, right down to the so-called Hoffmeister kink in the C-pillar. But I dunno, it just kind of bugs me when I look at it.
I was really surprised it had California blue plates and no tacked-on US side markers. As far as I know, Tourings were never officially sold here. Must have been brought over a long time ago, perhaps as a grey-market import. The blue plates are late-issue, suggesting it arrived in the US maybe one year before California adopted its 1ABC123 license number format. It seems to be in pretty good shape, with a clean and dent-free body and nice chrome. I'm digging those wheels on it, too.
This counts as one of the top two most interesting 2002s I've spotted in San Francisco, the other being a maroon one which had the back half of the roof cut off and the trunk area turned into a mini pickup bed. Classic BMWs are plentiful, they just happen to mostly be garden-variety 2002s. Sometimes I hit paydirt with an E9 coupe like the 2800CS I featured last year. Maybe I'll get lucky and the fellow with the Bavaria sedan in the Inner Richmond will park it on the street next time I'm there.