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1976 BMW 2002 Ceylon

Turn Signal Economics

Classic Velocity


They make such a difference. The bulbous appendages are replaced with streamlined units that match the countours of the body. It makes you wonder why the US versions were ever produced. I am talking of course, about the infamous turn signal lenses that were an affliction on US cars and a thing of beauty by contrast on european versions. The reason, of course, was that the newly safety-conscious US DOT regulations wanted a certain amount of visibility front and side. One simple, but ugly way to get there was to increase the surface area of the lens, while keeping the base the same to avoid modifications to the body shell. Voila, US turn signal lenses.

Fast forward 45 years, and the end result of this is a thriving trade in Euro lenses. They are highly sought after, and limited in supply, so the price goes up. The italian version, with split amber and white lenses are even more rare due to numbers produced. There is a set of the Italian/Touring/Cabrio lenses on Ebay at the moment for $1500 !! Oh, and that is without shipping. There are now plastic reproductions and of course you can still source OEM units from Germany if your needs require it and your wallet allows it.


After passing up deals over the years (regrettably), I found a pair via a local 02 club Member. They are almost too nice for the car, but there you have it. Unfortunately, this scenario is playing out over a number of vehicles as the market grows/shrinks. I have purchased whole cars for less than the price of a set of so-so seats today. In fact, I purchased an 02 in 1997 for less than those Italian lenses! Throw nothing away!


Testing The Faithful

Classic Velocity


The thermometer was reading 87 degrees, and it was 7:09am. Google maps said 45 minutes to the destination. Time to crank up the A/C. I reached over and twisted the knob that would free the vent window, and I pushed it open about halfway. No sense in putting it on maximum yet, let’s see how this works. I did the same by loosening the seat belt and reaching over to the passenger side vent. The airflow was impressive. Despite the windows already being open, the driver’s area cooled significantly. The phone said it was now 90 degrees outside and a frigid 81 degrees in the cockpit. The temperature outside continued to climb. I opened the driver side vent to max. Another impressive boost in the direction of airflow, if not the volume. Thankfully, traffic was doing 80 mph in the left lane. But not for long, as we soon went through the city center. The slowdown to 45mph was brutal. 97 degrees and humid outside, 92 degrees and humid in the car. I eyed the air conditioner controls in the center console. They had not been connected to anything for years, but for a second, I thought that turning them to the coldest position might actually do something. Anything. I could hear Alec Guinness imploring me to use the Force. But my training was apparently incomplete. I was not ready.

An interminably long 11 minutes later, we were back up to full speed, only to exit the highway and endure 3 long miles of traffic lights until the destination. Inside the restaurant, I headed immediately for the restroom., and did my best to mitigate the sweat. Then I joined 15 like-minded individuals who had commandeered two tables. Several of them bore the telltale damp-chested t-shirt of a man who had just arrived in a car without air conditioning. In fact, only a few of the cars had functioning air conditioning, but they gladly endured trips of varying lengths to get to a breakfast in the middle of July. After breakfast we went outside to look at cars and parts. The temperature had stabilized at 97 degrees. Issues were diagnosed. Advice given. Wrenches turned. All of the cars are found worthy. All are in some perpetual state of “almost finished” or “ongoing project”. But they were all driven and endured and patched up and sanded down and discussed at length in a convection oven masquerading as a parking lot. Why? Because that is what the faithful do in the middle of July on a sweltering morning in an asphalt parking lot, when they all have perfectly good climate controlled vehicles that they left at a climate controlled home.



Classic Velocity


Finally, after years of work-related cancellations and botched logistics, I make it to the BMW 2002 Mid America event. It is held each year in picturesque Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and has been happening for 19 years!  Several good friends over the years including founder Bo Black, chief instigator Mike Pugh, and writer Mike Self, have attempted to get me there, and I have tried. In this case, a combination of business and personal landed me within striking distance, with the car. We would not be denied again.


Doing hours of interstate with the car made me nervous, but it was flawless in the engine department. However, between the lack of upholstery and the wind noise, it is fatiguing. It was happy to jump onto route 23 and enjoy the twisty Ozark mountain roads. The event was a blast and is covered in the main blog.

The event involves a few drives on spectacular roads, and we enjoyed good weather for the most part. The suspension at the rear needs some sorting out, so the sport springs may go on after all. There are a few more things on the todo list, but overall the car performed well.  And as a bonus, I won a set of door cards !


A Matter of Mirrors

Classic Velocity

The car had a stock driver’s side mirror with a bad base, and two holes in the passenger side. I did not have a spare passenger side mirror. What to do? After rummaging around, what I did find were some 3.0CS flag mirrors, and a set of Vitaloni mirrors. Since the Vitalonis were black, they fit the look on this “Bitsa” car, so on they went. Of course, the PO had not removed the driver side mirror to paint the car. Why !! It is just 2 screws !! Aaaarrrggh ! Despite the aesthetics, which are par for the course on this car, we can now see out of both sides.


Cars and Coffee

Classic Velocity

In a clear test for the car, it is off to a BMW dealership Cars and Coffee event. It is an hour away, with some toll road, so it will be the first sustained stint at 70-80mph. Despite its challenges at low speed, the car feels better the faster you drive it. No worries, and once warmed up, the low speed fueling is a bit better. The event was pretty good with a lot of very nice exotics and even another 2002 driven by Brian from the local club, and a lovely 628CSI Euro car. Then it was on to a VW open house event 20 minutes away. Finally, back to base at high speed. A solid test and the vehicle performed well. There is a slight exhaust smell that may be due to the trunk seal, but it bears further investigation.