When people think of BMW arriving in the US, they think of the 2002. That's because it was tremendously popular and is credited with getting the Bavarians established here stateside.

While that is largely true, the reality is that there are some unsung heroes. The 2000 CA is one of them.

Looking a bit like a landshark with pillarless side profile, it is a sight to behold. Possibly because it also is the basis for the 3.0 CSi and CSL.

But it also represents something else. Quality over quantity and an iconic look. Check out that kidney grille and Hofmeister kink. There's no way you're confusing it with something else German.

Listen to the story of one passionate SoCal-based owner and his 2000 CA to get the gist.

“You picture, back in ’69, the guy that got in here, i mean, he had the coat and tie, thin cigarette in his mouth and driving this luxurious thing—to him, it was a Bentley of the time,” says Emin Kureghian. “Today, I get in, slam the door shut, turn it on, step on the gas; it’s not going anywhere and I have a laugh.”

“They were pretty generic cars, there wasn’t much to it,” he says. He’s right: the car here sports a carbureted 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, skinny 14-inch wheels and tall tires, all a far cry from what BMW offers its customers today. Acquired at a charity auction after being in long-term storage, the car is unrestored but has been cleaned up and turned into a fine driver.

Designed in-house by BMW, its spec sheet isn’t what matters: “It’s kind of a hybrid between the 02 and the newer coupes. It’s got lines from both—if you take a good look, you can see both sides of the story.”

“The fact that it pulled [BMW] out of a sales slump is really something, like a whole new generation...almost like the E30 of its generation.”

If Emin restores the car, it’ll be taken back to its original color, but for the time being, he’s just driving it tastefully, safe in the knowledge he’s been able to keep a part of history alive.

“I’m part of the cause, so to speak—to me, it’s home.”

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