If ever there was an automotive trendsetter, BMW's 2002 was it. This is the car that literally spawned the soon-to-be-popular Sport GT category and, in the end, was the main reason why the Bavarian Motor Werks became the successful car company that it is today. Struggling for survival as a manufacturer of both large, luxurious cars and the motorcycle-engined 600 and 700 series, BMW was literally put on the world map by the compact 2002 BMW as it became the hit seller that the company had long dreamed of creating. It was a car that crossed several markets, attracting buyers who really wanted a sports car but for practical reasons--be they family needs, cold weather driving or parking on city streets--were forced to buy a small sedan instead. The 2002 offered buyers both types of cars in a single, stylish package. And what a car it turned out to be.
Lovingly referred to by its loyal following as an 02, from the time it was introduced in 1968, to its last iteration as a 1976 model when it was replaced by the more modern 320i, an amazing 401,947 cars were produced. This number included not just the standard 2002 sedan, but the higher-performing ti, tii and Turbo models, and the Cabriolet, Touring and Targa versions. As expected, the biggest seller was the standard model, of which 320,806 were built. For a car produced by a small manufacturer, such as BMW was back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, this was an incredible achievement.