BMW 2002 became not-so-ugly truckling

By Staff reporter Time of article published Jun 26, 2012

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Sometimes, when we see a particularly ungraceful conversion, we have to ask why. Usually the answer is, “Because I can”, but in the case of this beautifully detailed BMW bakkie, it was, “Because I needed it”.

Way back in 1995 Otto, proprietor of BMW specialist tuners Ottowerks in San Francisco, decided he needed a bakkie to fetch and carry parts and components for the European autocracy he was working on.

However, he realised that whatever he drove would also reflect the standard of his workmanship - and that it should also be a BMW.

So, he bought a low-mileage, rust-free 1971 BMW 2002 body, chopped off the roof behind the B pillars and removed everything behind that point - seats, boot lining, the works - but without altering the rear subframe.

The bakkie's load bed was handmade out of sheet metal (as were the wheel-arch flares) and rubberised to protect it from everyday dings and scratches, a roll cage was installed to stiffen the topless, backless body, and the edges were lined with stained Australian lacewood, to resemble the finish on a vintage Chris-Craft powerboat.

Then Otto got serious.

All the suspension bushings were replaced with M3-spec Delrin bushings and Bilstein shocks with shorter springs lowered the ride height. The front sub-frames were reinforced to the same spec as an E36 M3, the front disk brakes came off a Jaguar XJ40 and the front and rear anti-roll bars were hand-made.

Since he didn't have the original 1600cc, four-cylinder engine anyway, he rebuilt an M20B 2.5-litre straight-six with a high-lift camshaft, a larger throttle body, a Cobra mass air-flow sensor and a Split Second dashboard-mounted air-fuel ratio adjuster and adjustable fuel-pressure regulator.

That was mated to a five-speed Getrag gearbox and shoe-horned into the little truckling's engine bay, along with a custom-built propshaft and a 3.45:1 limited-slip differential.

DUCATI TAILPIPES

Induction is via a long-cone aftermarket air filter and it breathes out through a handmade stainless-steel branch and a pair of Remus aftermarket tailpipes originally made for a Ducati 916.

To retain the 1970's look and feel the interior was restored to original, except for the Split Second controls and a pair of (very necessary) TRW 'Vader' racing seats with four-point harnesses, also originally intended for an E36 M3.

The 2002 truckling is way lighter than the 3 Series body the engine was intended for, so its performance is impressive, says Otto, as is the noise level, since the back of the cab is open to the load bed.

He has driven it 35 000km since 1995, but in that time Ottowerks has grown way beyond the one-man shop it was then, so this one-of-a-kind BMW bakkie is looking for a home on e-bay, which is where we found it.

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