If you had to pick one car from BMW‘s history, most every gearhead will choose the 2002. It combines great visibility comfort for four adults, classy looks, and a light chassis. With tons of grip and the right proportions, they are coveted among track enthusiasts as the perfect dual-purpose daily driver. Unfortunately, they were built as an economy car and were delivered without galvanized body panels or much corrosion protection. That is why many great examples were led to the crusher, as the unibody was hard to repair. As the spiritual ancestor of all modern M Performance models, BMW has embraced their heritage with a few 2002 Hommage concept cars.
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Since you rarely see them anymore, Jay Leno invited one of his fans to the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. Of all the attributes found in the classic BMW, horsepower was not in abundance. Being aimed at thrifty drivers, the base model 1.6 liter made 84 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque. Many owners have solved this with the addition of performance parts, but the best cure is an engine swap. Before you go screaming for LS power, know that BMW owners are a loyal group. As such, this example is powered by a 2.5 liter four from an E30 series M3. Making close to double the original power without much of a weight penalty is a wonderful achievement. An M2 badge on the trunk lid is a proper finishing touch. Tell us what you think of this build in the comments below and stay with us for more updates from Jay Leno’s Garage.