When Rob Daehn drives his ’72 BMW 2002 he gets repeated thumbs-up and high-fives. The static stance of the rusting 2002 on shiny SSR wheels means you’d never guess it was originally a grandma’s car!
Growing up, Rob started working on cars with his dad. Although he was into Barracudas and Bumble Bees, it taught Rob how to build cars. Now 39, he grew out of his ’64 Impala lowrider phase and wanted to create a modern twist on a classic hot rod theme.
Most of the build was dedicated to achieving the correct stance, and Rob’s earlier involvement with the drift scene and JDM crowd got him thinking about transplanting Nissan S14 front suspension into the 2002. To his amazement, the S14 is very similar to the BMW, with only 10mm difference in track width.
With the parts ordered, Rob started on the upper front strut mounts. They were raised 38mm and molded into the shaved engine bay to look stock. Fitted with shortened E30 M3 Koni adjustable struts, it would allow him to lower the body without losing all suspension movement. He then added Ground Control’s coilover conversion kit that would allow him to adjust the height of the 500 lb Eibach springs. The original 2002 spindles were then welded to the shortened struts, while camber plates gave him even more adjustability.
Rob bent the Circuit Sport S14 adjustable control arms by 30˚ to prevent the suspension binding. He then reinforced it with a tension rod and fabricated his own 22mm sway bar. Finally, he added an AKG Motorsport bumpsteer strut spacer.
The rear received similar attention, raising the towers 57mm before adding custom heim joints to the Pro Comp aluminum coilovers with custom valving and 800 lb Eibach springs.
The rear subframe then got AKG’s solid aluminum mounts, and Ireland Engineering’s 22mm sway bar finished it off.
Homemade temporary front spoiler and intake ducts
Intrigued by Rob’s unique blend of JDM and BMW parts, Jay Morris from Ground Control helped dial-in the precise spring rates and camber angles.
For braking, Rob originally used Volvo 240 four-piston front calipers and ’83 VW Rabbit rotors. However, he’s since switched to a brake kit from BMW specialist, Massive Brakes. It included Wilwood four-piston calipers with 12" front and 11" rear rotors mounted with Massive hats.
Steel braided lines connect the calipers to a BMW 750 master cylinder, operated by an E30 pedal assembly and billet Comp Brake handbrake.