This...is a 1974 BMW 2002.
My mom's had this car in some form or another since she turned 16 as a present from her dad. The original was a 1976, and it was silver.
My mom came down from PA/Boston in '85, so the car had seen a lot of salt and snow, and the body had rusted through a lot...almost too far to save. These are the only pictures I can find of that car looking through some photos I have scanned on my computer.
As you can see, even in '88/'89, it was missing a few of the trim pieces. (And yes, that's little me).
You might say my family is kinda crazy in how we feel about our cars. Some of them are more or less a part of the family. Our first "new" car was bought in 1998, and up until that point, this BMW and the blue Saab in the picture below were our main cars and remained in daily service til 2004 or so. After growing up with it as my favorite car, the 1985 Saab became my first car, blew the oil pump, and either threw a rod or timing chain or something at 320,000 miles in 2005.
Back to the story! My dad bought the 1974 red car for the body that had spent its whole life in the South back in 1991, which came to us as a 3-speed automatic (pretty rare), along with air conditioning (a very rare option), a jammed door, and an automatic choke that liked to stick on a cold start and leave the engine idling at 4,000 RPM, tires that stuck way out from the sides of the car, a tattered tan interior, and an engine that smoked a good deal. Despite all that, the body was in excellent shape.
So began the transformation of taking everything from the silver 76 to the red 74. The 4-speed manual transmission, engine, and entire interior was gutted from the silver car and installed into the red one.
After that, the car went on as a daily driver for almost 7 years with little to no problems. In 1997, my dad was leaving for work at night and hit a deer at ~40 MPH.
Again, really only picture I could find of it.
The front end was rebuilt, the whole car repainted, and it looked very, very good. The frame of the car did suffer some bending that was hard to straighten back out, and to this day, the doors and hood require a good solid slam to make them shut. The front end shimmys a bit around 65 mph, but this car really isn't driven on the highway (it's a screamer with only 4 gears - 70 MPH results in 4,000 RPM). It was later involved in a small accident in 2003 that again destroyed the hood and grille.
We inherited the grey Buick (picture behind the Saab in the snow) from my grandfather in 2001 after the lease on the 1998 Expedition was up, and the BMW spent winters parked in the garage at that point. A well-deserved break from a hard life.
As my parents have been busy with life, the BMW hasn't been driven much, and has sat in the garage a lot the past few years. Recently, my 17-yr-old brother has sparked up an interest in the old car, and worked on restoring it a bit more. Within the last year or so, he's put in new front seats, tuned up the engine, put in a new transmission (and clutch) that no longer whines, and put in a new rear differential that no longer shakes. The parts just get tired over time. It was running great for about 6 months, and my dad had once again been driving it back and forth to work since it's a lot better on gas than his Jeep.
We'd known this motor has had a small head gasket leak - it eats coolant at a very slow rate, but it has never been severe enough to warrant taking the motor apart and fixing it. Recently though, I think it got worse. The #3 cylinder ate through the head gasket a little more on a highway jaunt and destroyed the piston rings for that cylinder. The dipstick blew straight out of the engine, spraying oil all over the underside of the hood, and there was a horrid scraping noise from the engine at an idle. The cylinder had 25 PSI compression. After 36 years of faithful service, the engine is dead. Since the block is likely scarred to sh!t from the rings (we found chunks of ring in the oil pan), the block wouldn't even be worth saving with a rebuild. We have no idea how many miles are on the car (the odometer flips over at 100,000), but we estimate it's at 240,000 since 140,000 seems like too few miles.
Although we still had the engine from the 74 sitting in the garage, apparently it had ALSO had a small head gasket leak and, although stored with oil in the cylinders, one of the cylinders had pretty much fused by rust to the piston skirt, making it pretty much a boat anchor too.
My brother located an engine from a 1975 being parted out that ran very well and is almost sludge-FREE - seriously, this engine is in fantastic shape. I drove home this weekend to help with the motor swap. My brother has spent the past week removing almost everything else in the engine bay so we could get the motor right out and put the new one right in.
And...out it comes (my brother did most of the work, so he got to pose for the picture)
A mere shell of a car now:
This is the "new" engine with everything bolted up to it, and ready to go in. Every rubber seal/gasket has been replaced, as well as the timing chain and oil pump chain. The oil pan and valve cover show NO sludge at all.
New engine down in the car.
The hardest part was bolting back up the dang AC compressor, and we ended the day with that. The transmission and driveshaft go back in tomorrow, and then the exhaust manifold, all the accessories, radiator, and lots of little things here and there. I believe we'll have it running tomorrow before I have to head back to Virginia.