Several months ago we at Clarion (you know, the car audio company) threw around the idea of creating a program where we restore and enhance cars that have transformed car culture on an epic scale. Why would Clarion do this you might ask? Well, its simple, Clarion’s engineers, marketers, management, sales staff and practically all employees are “car people”. We love to be around cars and most of us have project cars of our own and are deeply entrenched in car culture, and this program was appealing because it would allow us to connect with the car loving community on a deeper level. Not long after the idea was proposed, a meeting was held to announce that the program was green-lit, and it seemed as if our entire group was thinking the same thing – our first project had to be an 02. Finally, after months of searching, we found our ideal candidate to use as the starting point for our Clarion Builds project. Our entire team carefully looked over the vehicle before deciding on pulling the trigger to sign off on the car. We met the owner at a restaurant down the street from our office in Cypress, CA. While the car was foremost on our mind, our stomachs were growling so we headed inside to grab a quick bite, which also gave us the perfect opportunity to get to know the seller and go over all of the details and history of the car. Another advantage to eating first was it gave us a chance to follow our 4th rule for the previous post and took some time to go over all the paperwork, and boy was there a lot of it! The seller had records going back 20 years. Upon review, we noticed that there were some reoccurring repairs to the drive shaft. The car had a 5-speed swap performed well before the seller got his hands on the car and the repeated drive shaft work was a red flag that something may have been a bit off with the swap. Following lunch, we walked outside to the parking lot to check out what the seller had brought us. All in all, it was a good-looking car – Well, at least for a 40-year-old daily driver. The paint was faded and we could tell that it was a low-end re-spray job (see the before photos), but for us, that was the least of our concerns because our restoration plan included a full teardown. We immediately noticed the wheels were from a newer model BMW. Using our flashlight and magnet, we scoped out under the hood as well as all of the body panels - everything seemed copasetic. Moving into the interior, we found the normal wear and tear one might expect of a car of this age. The dash was cracked, there were small tears within the headliner and back seat, and the heater fan was not working. We took the car out on the open road and put it through its paces. Not a lot of get up and go left in the old motor but we knew that would be remedied soon. Also we heard some rather strange speed sensitive noises coming from the front end and chocked those up to wheel bearings. We were confident that this 74 BMW 2002 would make for a great canvas for our project. In the end, we negotiated the price and the seller was nice enough to deliver our newly purchased Clarion Builds project car right to our warehouse. With the easy part finally done, it’s time to get down to brass tacks! Stay tuned and watch this thread to keep track of each stage of the restoration.