The BMW 2002 is the ancestor of all modern BMW performance cars, but there's always room for improvement. Dorian Hicklin tastefully restomodded this 1973 example and recently brought it along to Jay Leno's Garage.

As he's done with other car owners, Leno asked Hicklin to come visit after seeing his car out and about. With that bright orange paint, it's hard to miss. The car was previously owned by a friend of Hicklin's, who had let it decay for many years.

1973 BMW 2002 restomod on Jay Leno's Garage

1973 BMW 2002 restomod on Jay Leno's Garage


After making a deal for the car, Hicklin undertook a full rotisserie rebuild of the body and chassis. But he didn't leave it 100% stock. The front bumper was deleted for a cleaner look, and the car rides lower thanks to aftermarket adjustable suspension.

The 2.0-liter inline-4 was bored out, received new carburetors, a more aggressive camshaft, heavy duty lifter springs and valves, and an Alpina exhaust system. Hicklin told Leno that he didn't want to go too crazy with the modifications, but still estimates an output of between 150 and 160 hp (the car hand't been dyno tested when this video was filmed). That's a healthy increase over the roughly 100 hp of the stock version.

And while the 2002 left the factory with a 4-speed manual transmission, Hicklin swapped in a 5-speed manual and rear limited-slip differential from a later E21 BMW 320. The brakes are from an E12 5-Series. 

Hicklin doesn't plan to keep the completed 2002 confined to public roads. He built it to meet Vintage Auto Racing Association (VARA) rules, meaning it's got a fire suppression system, roll cage, trunk-mounted fuel cell, and race-ready seats and harnesses. While the 2002 will see some track days, Hicklin said he also left the suspension compliant enough for comfortable on-road driving.

While the interior is pretty spartan, it's not without style. Some of the distinctive touches include plaid seats, a drilled shift knob, and a dashboard sourced from a BMW 3.0 CSL.

Watch the full video for more details on this well executed restomod, and to hear the buzz of the tuned inline-4 as Leno and Hicklin cruise around the streets of Los Angeles.