Writing by Riley Koidahl. Photography by Jade Nelson and Riley Koidahl.
Each year over 100 classic BMWs make a trek to the Brisbane Marina, turning a quaint, San Francisco Bay park into a BMW-haven. The Bay Area 02 Swap and Show is the mecca for all things BMW 2002. Even in Germany, the motherland, there are few events that come close.
Most hail from California, while a few dedicated fans come from all over the country. This year, multiple vendors came from out of state, bringing car and truckloads of parts from as far as Oregon and Washington State.
While BMW 2002s are the focus of the event, quite a few other classic BMWs come to crash the party. You are sure to see Bavarias, Neue Klasses, E9s, and a smattering of M3s, 6-series, E30s, and the likes.
This 1800ti was a favorite of ours. The "California patina" was perfect, with uniform paint wear and faded chrome, but without the terminal rust that most states are accustom to.
Without a doubt, the show has the highest concentration of 2002 Tourings anywhere in the country - a rare sight, particularly in the US, where they were never sold. At SoCal Vintage, the largest classic BMW show in the state, you're lucky to see one Touring. At the Bay Area 02 show this year, there were at least 6 or 7 Tourings in attendance.
While fun in stock form, much of the appeal of a BMW 2002 is it's "modability," or eagerness to take upgrades. Both of these silver 2002s had S14 engine swaps, over doubling their horsepower. Besides the obvious similarities, however, the cars sported many differing modifications displaying the contrasting tastes of the owners.
The photos above show two versions of Hardy & Beck 3-piece wheels,. On the left is the original, period-correct style, in gold, while the silver wheels on the right are the newer style. While not cheap, you can still buy the newer style wheels brand new from Hardy & Beck.
Recently imported from Europe, this early 1967 BMW 1600 was a show stopper. The car was carefully restored to maintain all of the original early details that set it apart - two spoke steering wheel, early mirror, dog dish hubcaps, low-back seats, and more.
This particular 1600 was one of just a few known BMWs in the US to be an original Derby grey car.
If you're a classic BMW fan, the Bay Area 02 Swap and Show should be at the top of your bucket list. The cars are plentiful and the swap meet has many hidden treasures, but, best of all, the people are the nicest group of car enthusiasts you will ever meet.