25 years spent together in unison. It’s a fair while really. Certainly enough to create a strong-rooted relationship based on trust and tons of mutual experiences.
I was only 15 years old when my best mate took over his grandmothers beautiful low-mileage Morris 1000 Super. Already at this age, I was quite the car enthusiast with a real appreciation for classics, so I was naturally rather jealous. In Denmark we’re not legal to drive until we’re 18 years of age, but I couldn’t see why that should stop me from experiencing the joy of car ownership. In October 1992 – having only just turned 16 – a deal was struck with an old friend of my fathers, Peter Christensen, who was Head Mechanic at the BMW & Honda dealership which my father used to co-own. Peter’s old Verona red 1973 BMW 2002 – while still MOT’ed – was starting to look rather tired, yet still had good bones. We agreed that with a lot of Peter’s help and a corner of the BMW workshop in which he still worked, we would bring the 02 back to its former glory, and I would be her next – and fourth – custodian. As all of this was done on a handshake, no paperwork exists to precisely establish the exact day where I became an 02-owner. Regardless, just short of 2 years after that handshake, my little 02 was finally ready just as I turned 18 and passed my driving test.
I was naturally over the moon with joy, and drove my little red BMW everywhere. I truly loved the car, but in all honesty, at the time I had no plans of keeping her forever. I doubt I even understood the concept of a “keeper”. After a while I seriously considered swapping her (with cash on top of course) for a very cool orange VW-Porsche 914. I didn’t quite manage to get the extra cash together. Shortly after I was terribly tempted by a very rare factory BMW 2002 Turbo, but it was not in near as good condition as my stock 2002, so I walked away. Yup, still kicking myself for that one! As it is, I just never got around to selling my “NullZwei”, so instead I continued to drive her and enjoy her…
Plenty of other cars came and went – especially as I just couldn’t get myself to drive “NullZwei” on the heavily salted Danish winter roads. But from early spring through to late autumn every year, we would be out and about having our fun attending classic car meets and drives throughout Denmark and Sweden. During the summer of ’99 the Goodyear Classic in Denmark became our first taste of classic tourist rallying with tulip roadbooks. More tourist rallies followed, and come the early noughts I even started trackdaying my 2002 in stock form on Sturup Raceway in south Sweden and on Padborg Park in Denmark. During one of our visits to the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, we even ventured onto the famous 20.8 km Nordschleife for a full four laps at max attack – after all, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly. Eventually I got so serious about my trackdays that another 02 had to take over the duties in an attempt to spare “NullZwei” just a little bit.
While we eased off the trackdays, I instead started venturing further abroad in my 02, as I found the true joy of proper roadtrips. In the (for 02-enthusiasts at least) magical year of 2002, I participated in the first Bavaria Tour held in Oberammergau in southern Germany, with approximately 200 classic BMW’s taking part in the celebrations. The following year, we departed Denmark to spend the summer of 2003 touring the UK, making my way up the length of the west coast, well into Scotland, and then back down the east coast. The following three Bavaria Tour’s of 2006, 2011 and 2016 respectively celebrating the 40th, 45th and latest the 50th anniversary of the 02-series also saw my “NullZwei” participating in the festive meet in south Bavaria, with stunning drives into the Austrian and Swiss Alps, where 02’s were originally developed by BMW engineers and test drivers.
These past 25 years of ownership has taken my beloved BMW 2002 through 11 different countries while we’ve covered about 125,000 enthusiast kilometres together. We’ve attended more classic car meets and events than I care to count, participated in tourist rallies, trackdays and even all four Bavaria Tours. Earlier this year we also took part in our first Drive-it Day here in the UK, which you can read more about here. It’s been 25 years of fabulous driving experiences, but of even more importance, “NullZwei” has so often been the instigator for meeting other interesting enthusiasts and often establishing new friendships.
A life without my “NullZwei” is today utterly unimaginable to me. I wonder what the next 25 years will bring…
Do you too own a keeper? If so, please share your story with us. I’m sure there will be plenty out there who can comfortably beat my 25 years.