Surely one of the most beautiful things about BMW as a whole is the fact that they not only make amazing cars, but amazing motorcycles as well. Rarely do we see a company succeed in both avenues the way BMW has. Michael Le may understand this better than most, because not only does he have one of the cleanest 2002’s to ever hit the streets, but he has a perfectly matched R75/6 to go along with it.
Michael Le’s approach to building cars and motorcycles is that of fluid style. Le’s style comes down to coordination, banking of his natural tenacity to make every aspect match accordingly. He relates this to when he was a child and would perfect his outfit before going to school saying, “In elementary school, I remember my favorite outfit (specifically on Fridays) was a highlighter blue Bugle Boy T-shirt with matching shorts and checkered Vans slip ons…” He later started to use this approach with cars, his first major project was pairing a 2003 MINI Cooper S with that of a 2005 Vespa GT200. From their his style started to blossom.
With the success of the Mini/Vespa Duo Le sought to do it again, but this time with something vintage. He wanted something different, and he definitely wanted vintage, setting his target range at no newer than 1975. And that goes for car and motorcycle. Prepared with a sense of perpetual impatience, something every Moto enthusiast can likely relate to, he wanted this project now. Le started digging, thinking of every cool combo he could come up with. Maybe an Alfa Romeo GTV with a Moto Guzzi. Or maybe an MG Midget with a Triumph. Or something Japanese like a Datsun and a Honda. All good options when looking for a “tasteful two.” While all great options Le decided to go in the direction of something less foreign, to him at least. And that is how he landed on BMW.
His previous experience of owning a BMW is what eventually roped him back into the brand. A smart move considering the bike that would eventually be chosen. But let us stay focused on the car for now. This 2002 that was selected for this project is a 1975 model year with the original square tail lights. Le wanted the body lines to be a tribute to the original Turbo 2002 from 73-74, so he added a Jaymic 2002 turbo style front air dam, 2002Garagewerks turbo fender flares. He finished up the rear end with a set of flat Euro turn signals, an Ireland Engineering rear spoiler and the ‘shorty’ style chrome rear bumper. Removing the antenna and adding some small ‘M’ touches made the silver body really pop.
Then came what Le calls ‘the meat on the bone’ mods. This consists of a Ground Control coilovers with Ireland Engineering front and rear sway bars with a beautiful set of ET10 BBS E76 Magnesium wheels in a square 15×9 setup. This gorgeous setup didn’t come easy though, as the 2002 required Tii front hubs and a set of E21 250mm rear drums while the wheels needed 12mm spacing in front and 15mm in the rear. The work payed off ten fold, because this 2002 has a stance that is as close as perfect gets. Le is adamant about making them drive as good as they look, stating, “They both live in the garage, but I drive them often. They get rock chips. They get abused by bugs on the freeway. Sometimes they smell of unburnt fuel. They’re not only for shows, they’re very much for going anywhere.” I feel this is a huge issue often overlooked. Show cars are still cars after all, this means they should be driven. We call them rolling canvas’s for a reason.
Keeping to his word Le did more than just update the look of the 2002, he updated the performance as well. In place of the M10 4 cylinder is a more potnent M42 out of the much newer E30 318is. The M42 only boasts a jump in about 20-hp in stock trim, but it does so with modern fuel injection and better functionality. Le has also tastefully modified the M42 to make just a little more oomph where it counts. This comes in the form of Dbilas ITBs, straight pipe exhaust with a Scorpion muffler and of course a tune. Le also updated the transmission to a E21 five-speed and then added an LSD to the rear diff. A short through shifter from a Z3 finished off the driveline perfectly. This 2002 is no world beater, but it has been done up perfectly with each component matching and complimenting each other. Le wasn’t kidding, he really does have a knack for this.
The trend of simple beauty continues on with the interior. In here Le went for subtle, trying not to over do it. The results speak for themselves. The 2002 now has an e24 back seat while the front has a pair of Recaro buckets, with all matching fabric and stitch patterns. He also added custom EG Honda armrests, which sounds blasphemous but it actually pulls the interior together. Everything in the interior looks like new, with an all black headliner and pillars. Ireland Engineering supplied the custom gauge pods. Then to add some detailing Le added some wood-grain trim around the gauges as well as a beautiful Nardi Personal steering wheel. Sprinkle in the wood grain shift knob garnished with a BMW badge and you have that classic driver’s car look. It’s the kind of interior you could just sit and enjoy, without even driving the car.
Alright, we now know Le’s 2002 is a real treat, but how about his other BMW. Well for starters it’s one of the most popular BMW motorcycles to customize, so it has that going for it. For Le this was his first motorcycle, so to do it right he knew he needed to enlist some help. That’s where his buddy Fernando comes into play. Fernando is a very talented fabricator that specializes in building motorcycles. Together they took the smart approach and built the R75/6 from the ground up. Instead of going radical with the 75 they kept the approach as simple as they had on the 2002. This means it kept the stock front forks, with a pair of ToasterTan triple trees and then added some Redwing rear struts to even out the rear. From there the R75 got a pair of Boxer Metal rear sets and matching clip-ons to give it that distinctive cafe racer look.
The frame was then stripped down, removing all the unnecessary tabs and such. The rear tail section is entirely custom to fit the shortened rear subframe as well. The seat is upholstered to mimic that of the 2002, with the same fabric and stitch patterns being used. The headlight is a de-tabbed and shaved Ural bucket, adding some vintage flair to the 75′ R series. The engine is blacked out and has an added starter cover from Boxer Cafe added to the mix. A set of spoked Akront aluminum wheels makes the bike pop with vintage flair in the perfect 19-inch front and 18-inch rear combo. Mimicing the 2002 Le has the gauge wrapped in wood grain as well as wood grain grips. To complete his coordination masterpiece Le had the kept the stock toaster tank and had it painted to match the silver and blue detailed 2002. The duo now look as if they were a custom set offered by BMW themselves, back in the 70’s.
Yet Michael Le wasn’t done here. After acquiring both BMW’s in 2014 Le had grand plans to unveil them at the Bay Area 02 show in 2015. Unfortunately, his inexperience with motorcycles didn’t allow this to become a reality, resulting in just the 2002 being finished. Then in 2016 he was able to showcase the R75 with the 2002 as intended, but it still left something to be desired. He needed something that allowed both of these incredible customs to truly mesh together. So Le planned on making his stage three addition, a custom trailer, a reality at the 2017 02 meet.
After losing track of time, Le was forced to scramble to get the trailer built in time for the show. 2002’s aren’t known for their towing powers, meaning Le needed to track down someone who had done a 2002 hitch before. That man was Lucian Hood in LA. A quick drive and Mr. Hood was happy to install the hitch for Le, making this project a real possibility. From there Le bought a trailer from Craigslist, modified it. Then he found a set of 16×8.5 Mahle wheels with BMW bolt patterns that almost perfectly matched those on the 2002. After having some adapters made by Adaptec Speedware the trailer was finished and set for the stage.
The results are obviously an overwhelming success. Both BMW’s are incredible in their own right, when you factor them together with the radical one bike trailer the whole package is almost too much. Michael Le wasn’t kidding when he says “you’ll come to realize that I have a thing for coordination.” Mr. Le, we realize and we totally agree, you have a serious thing for coordination.