Big things with little cars

Teutonic Tuesday: Yeah, another 2002

Way back in 1997, I was temporarily stationed in New Orleans, finishing up some video pieces after a 9-month deployment to Belize with the Louisiana Army National Guard. Belize sounds like fun, right? Sandy beaches, palm trees, snorkeling - a tropical paradise! The reality? A dusty base camp miles from any beach, virtually no days off, tent living with no AC in 114 degree heat and lots and lots of bugs.

But, as I mentioned, I ended up living in the BOQ at Jackson Barracks, New Orleans for a month at the end of the Belize deployment. One afternoon I was driving my rental car to get some dinner and spied a 1976 Fjord Blue 2002 on a used car lot. I bought it for $1,500 then paid a local guy another few hundred bucks to make it road-ready for the long drive back to New Hampshire.

On the track at the New Hampshire Speedway. Alex’s 2002 is in the background. AVA Restoration did a great job!

This post, though, isn’t really about my 2002, but that of my friend Alex Vogel. Alex is the owner of AVA Restoration in beautiful Dublin, NH, a shop specializing in European car maintenance and restoration. I can’t even remember how I found out about Alex, but someone in the NH BMW community recommended him and before I knew it, we had agreed on a thorough restoration of my 2002, including several new body panels and a complete re-spray. Engine and suspension work came after that because what good is shiny if it can’t handle, am I right?

Alex always had his own project cars - in particular I remember a gorgeous 3.CSL in the shop - but his track car at the time was a matte gray big-bumper 2002 like mine. We used to drive at the BMW CCA White Mountain Chapter driving schools and once we even took the cars up to Mt. Tremblant for an epic road trip.

Alex was smart to trailer his 2002 because it was a looonnng drive for me.
In the paddock at Mt. Tremblant.

Diecast, yes, diecast! Ok, so to bring this back to diecast cars, I was in our barn last night, stripping paint off a silver grey Solido 2002 in order to repaint it as my Fjord Blue 2002. Never having done this before I grabbed whatever we had in the house, CitrusStripper, and failed miserably. But the blotchy result made me think of Alex’s grey 2002 so I snapped a few pics and wrote this up as a thank you to the wonderful job Alex did with my (sadly, not mine any more) 2002.


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