1969 2002: Mike Self
1969 BMW 2002 #1664801
2.0-liter M10 four-cylinder, 113 hp/116 lb-ft
February 4, 1969
Mike Self (since 1969)
In 1967, US Air Force second lieutenant Mike Self considered splurging on a 1600, at least until he saw its 6-volt battery. “My wife Carol and I had struggled through several cold winters with 6-volt electrics in my Renault 4CV and Carol’s Volkswagen, and I said, Not gonna do that again!”
When the 2002 arrived a year later, with 12-volt electrics and more power, Self gave BMW a second look. “Like everybody else, I read David E. Davis in Car and Driver and thought, Dang, that sounds like a neat car! A sedan that drives like a sports car!”
Self was still skeptical, but in April 1968 a friend bought one of the first 2002s in the US and put 10,000 miles on it in three months. “He was hard on cars, but he hadn’t broken anything. I thought, If it stands up to him, it’ll last me a good long time!”
In January 1969, stationed in upstate New York, Self ordered a new 2002. On May 4, 1969, he and Carol picked up #1664801 from Bavarian Motors in Queens.
By the end of the summer, the Selfs had taken it on a 2,000-mile road trip. When Mike left for Viet Nam a year later, the car he’d nicknamed “Wolfgang”—for Mozart—became Carol’s daily driver. “All the new was squoze out of it by the time I got back!” he laughs.
Over the next few years, Self treated it to a wood-rim steering wheel, driving lights, sisal floor mats, and a set of 5.0-inch tii wheels in place of the original 4.5-inchers. In 1978, the car was joined by a ’73 2002—named Ludwig, naturally. Relegated to winter duty, Wolfgang’s sheet metal was overwhelmed by rust by the early ’90s.
“I spent five years repairing the body with welder and grinder, then had it repainted in 2000,” he says. “I installed an OEM heated rear window at the same time, but the car hasn’t been driven in winter since!”
A lifetime of tinkering has made Self one of the world’s true experts on the 2002, and he’s been sharing his knowledge with BMW CCA members in Roundel since 1983.
As for Wolfgang, “He’s a friend, one that’s been part of my life for 50 years,” Self says. “He’s been repainted and rechromed, but the engine’s never been apart but for a valve job at 157,000 miles. He’s still got the same transmission, the same differential. The interior is original, too, but it’s no hangar queen. It gets used.”