Have you ever heard the story of how the BMW 2002 came to life – it’s nearly as fascinating as the story behind the 3 Series Touring (E30). Here’s a very short version of the story – two of the company’s highest-ranked executives at the time both installed a 2.0-liter engine in their 1600-2 for personal use. Once they realized they both made the same modification, they prepared a proposal to BMW’s board of directors and asked them to build a factory 1600-2 with a 2.0-liter engine. The rest, as they say, is history.

To date, the 2002 remains one of the most iconic BMW models. The predecessor of the 3 Series as we know it today, the model is famous for its sporty road behavior and perfect weight balance which are synonymous with BMW’s modern vehicles. It’s no surprise that many BMW enthusiasts love the 2002 and its prices on the vintage car market are skyrocketing. We love seeing people who restore their 2002s to factory condition or even give them well-deserved upgrades.

This is exactly the story of Dorian Hicklin who recently visited Jay Leno’s Garage with his lovely orange 1973 BMW 2002. Hicklin bought the car from a friend and started a full nut-and-bolt restoration before modifying the car to a cleaner, cafe racer style (I know that’s a motorcycle term). The body remains mostly stock but the front bumper is gone and there’s less trim than on a stock 2002.

Once Hicklin opens up the hood, this is where this vehicle’s gem hides. A heavily modified 2.0-liter (or slightly larger) four-cylinder engine sits there with two Webber carburetors. The car hasn’t been dynoed yet but the owner says it likely produces around 150 to 160 horsepower (110 to 118 kilowatts) in its current state. A five-speed manual transmission from a 3 Series channels the power to the front wheels.

The interior is also absolutely fantastic. It keeps the basic design of the original car but adds a few very nice touches, such as the bucket seats with a cloth insert, drilled pedals, drilled gear shifter, and others. Hicklin wants to get the car to races one day so it is equipped with a full roll cage and other features required for motorsport.

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