Friday, August 23, 2019

Now available! The BMW 2002: The real story behind the legend

Attention 2002 fans! I've just published a new book on your favorite BMW! Available from Amazon via this link:
Why did I write The BMW 2002: The real story behind the legend? First, because I think the creation of the 2002 is interesting in itself. This car changed everything for BMW when it arrived in 1968. It marked BMW’s return to making real high-performance sports cars for the first time since the late 1930s, and it was the first BMW to find an audience in the crucial export market of the US. Second, because so much misinformation continues to circulate about the 2002’s creation, and its design. Some of that misinformation was put forth by BMW itself twenty years ago, in The cult car, the official history of the model. (Long out of print, by the way…) The rest of it stems from journalists relying on a 1972 article in Automobile Quarterly that its own author later corrected, at least to the extent that it was possible. Specifically, I wanted to address the falsehood that Max Hoffman, BMW’s importer at the time, was responsible for getting BMW to install the 2.0-liter engine in the Type 114 chassis, aka the 1600-2. Research within the BMW Archive in Munich refutes that notion, and it illuminates a very clear progression of events by which the car came to get the more powerful engine. I also wanted to tell the story of Max Hoffman’s relationship with BMW, from the late 1950s through 1974. It’s a pretty salty tale, and I was genuinely shocked to read some of the documents in the BMW Archive that dealt with Hoffman. Put simply, he’s no hero in any story about BMW! Or Mercedes, or any of the other marques he represented in the US, at least not after the initial introduction phase. Finally, I wanted to answer a question that the 2002 geeks have been asking me to investigate for a while now, which concerns the model’s internal development code. Is it a Type 114, or is it an E10? This is pretty obscure stuff, I realize, but I think the 2002 obsessives will appreciate having a real answer to the question!