I have a saying in life, “People are good at doing the things they love”. If people have no interest in something, they are usually not very good at it, and this is most definitely the case with driving. Automotive enthusiasts who love their cars also love driving their cars and take pride in driving them to the best of their ability. Non-car people, or as I like to call them NCPs, see cars as appliances, and those people are to be avoided at all costs.
BMW drivers are known for many things, none of them admirable. BMW drivers are accountants, dentists, attorneys, desperate housewives, and trust fund kids. They belt down the center lane of the highway while texting, not using their turn signals, and blaring the latest pop album (thank goodness for windows). They are usually oblivious to what is going on around them, and couldn’t care less about what they’re driving, other than it gets them from point a to point b. The only exception to this is the trust fund kids who are looking for brand recognition and maybe an “M” badge to highlight their daddy’s income and status in society.
Let’s take a trip back in time before this was the case, to a time, a better time if you will, when men were real men, and jobs were real blue-collar jobs. Men came home from work covered in dirt and grime, ate dinner with their wife and 2.5 kids, and then headed to the garage with a beer and their friends to tinker on their hotrods. The war in Vietnam was raging, Richard Nixon was the president, Iron Man by Black Sabbath was blaring on the garage radio, and the pre-oil crisis automotive scene was BOOMING.
The ‘70s had just begun. In Germany, BMW and factory tuning house Alpina were coming off historic back-to-back European Touring Car Championships. Not long before, however, Alpina was not tuning race-bred BMW’s, they were manufacturing textiles mills and typewriters. Luckily for automotive enthusiasts everywhere, Alpina’s owner Burkard Bovensiepen’s love for cars was so intense that he closed both businesses to focus on his passion—tuning legendary BMW’s.
This beautiful BMW 2000 Tii Alpina Touring rolled out of the newly built Alpina factory in Buchloe Germany in 1972. Where was it going? To a Bavarian upper-middle-class household? To the United Kingdom, to a bloke who thought it would outpace his neighbors Ford Escort? No, this car went to an American Yankee home, in the middle of the golden era of muscle cars. It takes a different kind of automotive enthusiast to purchase a foreign car at this time, one who could appreciate the lightweight, low displacement, pure drivers’ car that is the 2000 Tii.
Originally designated for the European market, this car was specially ordered and shipped to the United States. It came equipped with a 2.0-liter BMW M15 4-cylinder engine producing 128bhp, thanks to its upgraded Kugelfischer fuel injection system. The system increased fuel pressure and engine compression, producing approximately 10 hp over the standard engine. With a curb weight of just under 2300lbs, a power to weight ratio of 120hp per ton, and a top speed of 117mph, it rivals the performance of the much newer 1994 Volkswagen Golf 2.0 GTI 16v in terms of performance.
A lower curb-weight and adequate power weren’t the only things making the 2000 a formidable touring car. The Tii came equipped with lowered Bilstein suspension, an Alpina chassis-set, and adjustable sway bars to help keep the car stable at speed. A limited-slip differential, vented rear disc brakes, and sticky 185/70 Pirelli tires kept this car planted on the road. These things shape an elite touring car, but there is one very important detail that hasn’t been mentioned—its beauty.
The contour lines run the length of the body like a majestic mountainside in the Bavarian Alps. Its sweeping roofline bends and curves powerfully like the confluence of the great Rhine River, and the narrow roof pillars give a view that can only come from a time before safety regulations ruined the look of vehicles. The 2000 Alpina exudes the elegance and beauty that one comes to expect from a classic BMW. The pies de resistance is the super rare 13×5.5 Alpina wheels by Borrani. These two-tone alloy wheels really set the car apart from its lower-spec model counterparts both in looks, and lightweight performance. They are the perfect final touch to this classy, high-end German-built touring car.
This 1972 2000 Tii Alpina Touring is a perfect living example of what BMW engineers were capable of in the early 70s: the handling characteristics, body lines, and potent power plant would inspire BMW designers as they created it predecessor, the legendary E21 3-series BMW. If you are looking for a fire-breathing muscle car, this is not the car for you. But, if you are one of those rare, automotive enthusiasts looking for a refined touring car with performance to back up its looks, and what many would call a true driver’s car, look no further than this beautiful piece of automotive history.