Rain or Shine: Bay Area 02 Show and Swap Meet

May 11, 2016

Saturday morning started out chilly and overcast. By the time we arrived at the Brisbane Marina, there were already a few 2002s scattered about the outside lot. Most of them were being prepped for the show as the owners made their final walk arounds. Right away there was a decent variety of cars even with how few were there at that moment. A flared TII touring, an F20 powered 02, my friend Mike’s silver car sitting on a gorgeous set of gold BBS E76s, and even Mark Arcenal in his white Hakosuka.

Once the show section started funneling in cars, it was nonstop for maybe an hour or more! This is right about the time that some spotty, light rain started. One after another, the 02s fanned out on the grass in perfect formation. One part about the show that I enjoyed was the vibrant array of colors. For these cars being as old as they are, there was no shortage of color variety. Everything from bright yellow to Alpine White to completely custom browns and blues; they were all accounted for.

The swap meet part of the show quickly kicked off as vendors and entrants alike placed their goods on display. Some unloaded their trunks of small wheels, gaskets, valve covers, and die cast models. Other larger vendors had tables set up, covered with vintage steering wheels, roundels, center caps, weather stripping, used mechanical bits, and much more.

As I observed all of the cars, I noted that there were distinct types of 2002 owners. One group, which I identify as “Purist,” drives pristine, restored 2002s. These cars are nothing short of excellent condition, both aesthetically and mechanically. Mostly stock, polished engine bays, beautiful paint, and period correct interiors are among this group. These are cars that will retain their value and could be sold as collector vehicles in the future.

Another group, the “Resto-Modders,” vary in their tastes. These are the people who swap anything from S14s to turbo M42s to Honda F20s into their cars, and their build appearances are across the map. Whether they choose bubble or box flares, custom reupholstered interiors, or go back and forth on how many extra lights they have mounted to the front end, each car is unique. This group is where I found the most personal enjoyment.

The last group I noticed was the “Originals.” These 02 owners have really not done any restoration work to their vehicles. This could mean rust spots, dents/dings/scratches, mismatched panels, torn interiors… the list goes on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however, as there are some who prefer an “all original” vehicle.

Another one of the notable cars that made an appearance included Jim Huff’s “Ghost” 1600 Neue Classe, featured in a recent Petrolicious video. The car has a suitable title, as it seemed to have an aura of mystery. Its monochromatic aesthetic gives it a certain personality, making it a bit difficult to read. It’s obvious that it’s seen some road miles, with its rear driver window decked out with road rally badges. Seeing a car featured on the Internet and then seeing it in person can sometimes translate in different ways. This car in person is just as charming as it was in the video.

As I collectively listened to people scattered about the show, they all seemed to have one thing in common. Whether they owned a tattered, restoration-worthy 02, or an expensive, updated build, they all expressed the exact same love for their cars. Between their cars’ quirks and strong suits, it all seemed to be one in the same: a mutual respect for each style of build. It was refreshing, as it’s all too common to witness animosity in the automotive community.

There was a small group of E9s and Bavarias that showed up and parked in the corner of the event. They were mostly stock and restored, but one of the Bavarias was M62 swapped!

To finish off this recap, we’ve provided a short slideshow below. Since we took so many photos of this car, we felt it necessary to provide a small spotlight so you can see the details!

Bay Area 02 is absolutely a show to attend if you’re one for unique vintage cars. Something may seem simple at first, but once you stop and take a second look, you’ll realize that there’s almost always more to see. These cars, although they may be small, have many layers, and are to be appreciated.