1976 BMW 2002 – Honda F20 Powered


It’s difficult to imagine an automotive landscape without a BMW 2002 to kick-start the compact sports-sedan movement. BMW’s New Class (or Neue Klasse, in the event you sprechen sie Deutsch) arrived after a decade of expensive cars nobody bought (just like the 507 sports vehicle) and microcars that offered little profit margin (like the licensed Isetta). The New Class was BMW’s best a solution to survival; it arrived in 1962 being a 1,500cc sedan with unit-body construction, fully independent suspension featuring MacPherson struts in front plus a semi-trailing-arm arrangement in the rear, front disc brakes along with a SOHC inline Four. It had been proof that you may have fun without having to sacrifice passenger room or quality. (Fuel injection arrived as being an option in 1972, a complete decade before most car companies thought about getting out of carburetors altogether.) Put it all together and therefore sounds like a rather modern specification, but remember, BMW did this when TVs were white and black, Kennedy was still president and WWII was only a little more distant for them than 9/11 is designed for us.upgrades and models followed slowly as BMW climbed out from its financial hole on the success of the brand new Class. Various two-doors followed, as did a 1,990cc variant of BMW’s M10 engine; the 2002 model, launched in 1966, sold nearly 850,000 copies alone worldwide over the following decade, out of more than 1.2 million New Class BMWs. The 2002 put BMW on the map and instantly had become the world prototype for a small, quality-built, technologically-advanced small sedan. For example the ’73 Turbo, (Datsun’s 510 sedan is an excellent case in point.) 2002s were even available with turbocharged two-liter Fours before. It was Europe’s first turbocharged production car (beating even Saab and Porsche to the punch), good for 170hp from its KKK turbo. So, seeing a blown Four under the hood of a BMW 2002 isn’t unusual. Visiting a Honda engine under that reverse-opening hood, however, is surely anwith the turn in the millennium, Honda gave us the F20C: all-aluminum construction, 11.7: 1 compression, 51-degree valve angle, heat-treated and surface-carburized forged alloy crank and connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons with short skirts, the engine’s five main bearings incorporated into one particular girdle for strength, an 8,300rpm peak along with ainto a car that’s some 700 pounds lighter, as a 2002 is when compared to Honda; suddenly that power gets a lot snappier. Mount a turbo onto the hard-working F20C and suddenly you’re in another stratosphere. With ten pounds of boost, stock internals, stock compression, a stock Honda 6-speed trans and simply a handful of tweaks, like larger throttle bodies, fuel rails, injectors as well as an AEM computer, owner Max Polishchuk (who also owns CAtuned Motorsports, a BMW-friendly shop in Sacramento, CA), claims 404 horsepower at the wheels. And we’re not done, he informs us. Do the math: that’s near enough to five pounds per horsepower for our liking.

But…why a Honda F20C? BMW makes a good amount of good engines; witness the late-’80s M3’s S14 inline Four, or better yet the S65 V8 seen in the last generation of M3s. The answer is straightforward enough: We have loved BMWs for some time, Max informs us. Even as kids. But we have now built Hondas and have had many S2000s. We joked for years about stuffing one into a classic car. The BMW S14 is a great classic racing motor but a second hand motor needing a rebuild is right around $3,000. Rebuild parts are very expensive, and a typical rebuild consumes about 40 hours. Mount up the parts and labor and it also comes out beingout of your S2000 makes 404whp!

Curiously, the holdup is with the rear, which is currently a stock 3.91-open-geared early ’80s BMW 320i rear that bolts right into the 2002. We’ve had it up to 500 horsepower, Max says, but the differential was gone after 10 passes. We are along the way of machining out the internal case diameter to accept heavy-duty internals in the E30 [the 1982-1994 generation of 3-series BMW]. That should handle well above 650hp.

Have sold a greater number abroad, to Canada, the UK and Germany, although it’s such an interesting idea that CAtuned sells a conversion kit with custom-fabricated mounts; they’ve performed three of these operations in-house, including theirs. Fitting the six-speed Honda ‘box required a newly-fabricated transmission tunnel. And any time you’re going to start cutting up a unit-body floor, a lot more than tripling the horsepower it absolutely was designed to harness, it’s always a good idea to reinforce things here and there. The subframes were solid, but we did add some support in several spots. There’s a custom strut bar done like a race cage from the trunk; batteryreally a minimalist creation. The front brakes have 11-inch rotors and Wilwood four-piston calipers now, because there’s absolutely no way the stock rotors could handle that type of power in a panic, but the rear brakes remain drums to the moment. The interior has improved steering and seating (and shifting, obviously, thanks to the new transmission), nevertheless the stereo is a straightforward Pioneer in-dash CD player with Kicker speakers. Those American park-bench bumpers happen to be brought even closer to the body compared to the thin stock chrome Euro bumpers ever were, nevertheless the red paint is deliberately unfinished; the wheels look massive, yet are only 15 inches in diameter (stock wheels and tires on US-spec 2002s were 13-inchers! ). Coilovers and sway bars on the stock chassis architecture will be the basis for the suspension. Using the hood down, the slammed stance and larger rolling stock are the only indications that it isn’t grandpa’s Bimmer.