David Obendorfer is an industrial designer from Hungary that has gained a lot of attention worldwide for his retro-inspired automotive design projects.
He graduated from MOME Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design of Budapest. For more than a decade, he has been working for the Officina Italiana Design, designing yachts for Riva and Sanlorenzo.
His involvement with the automotive sector started when his Renault 4 Revival and Fiat 127 Concepts were widely covered by the press.
That prompted David to continue producing “virtual car concepts telling stories of the past in contemporary language”.
Among the cars he has designed are the Fiat 500 Coupé, the BMW CS Vintage Concept, the Volkswagen T1 Revival and the Citroen Type H Anniversary van which is also available for purchase as a kit.
The BMW 02 Reminiscence Concept is a tribute to BMW’s first electric car – the 1602 Elektro-Antrieb, unveiled at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
“I found it symbolically exciting to imagine the full electric remake of the 1602 Elektro-Antrieb, that brings the BMW 2002/1602 Series design into the 21st century. The main dimensions of the vehicle roughly coincide with those of the existing 2-Series Coupé,” David said.
“My aim wasn’t to bring back all the characteristic 02-Series’ design features at any cost, but rather build a respectful reinterpretation, and above all to keep it simple.
“Both exterior and interior design try to stay away from complicated surfaces and busy lines, by exploring a soft three-dimensionality, that somehow is able to communicate zero emissions.”
At the front, the 02 Reminiscence Concept showcases close ties with its source of inspiration, thanks to the shark-nose treatment – typical of BMW models from the ‘70s.
The round LED headlights and thin turn signals are integrated within the elongated graphics, portraying the shape of the dual air intakes of the BMW 2002/1602.
Those elements are now covered with a solid material for improved aerodynamics, and feature a three dimensional treatment for the narrow kidney grille and headlight surrounds.
The bumper features a central lower intake, a prominent chin splitter, and two aero curtains on the sides which follow the shape of the toned fenders.
The concept car measures 4510mm x 1805mm x 1400mm with a wheelbase of 2730mm. That makes it slightly larger than the current generation BMW 2 Series (F22) measuring 4432mm x 1774mm x 1418mm with a 2690mm wheelbase.
Even though it is fully electric, the 02 retains the traditional front-engined rear-wheel drive proportions with a very short front overhang, large wheels and two-door coupe body style. The profile has a very clean look with minimum lines and simple surfaces, giving emphasis on the shoulders and wheel arches.
A signature element of the BMW 2002/1602 was the continuous horizontal line running all around the car. The decorative chrome strip of its predecessor might be gone, but the 02 still has this character line running from the sharp edge of the front bonnet, through the profile to the tail.
Other classic BMW cues are the sporty side window line decorated with chrome, the thin A-pillars and the rising dynamic line on the side sills which is a modern touch.
Moving over at the back, the simplicity that characterises all of David’s designs is more than evident. The roofline is inspired by the coupe models of the ’70s with a large rear windshield.
The round taillights have a three-dimensional treatment with triangular LED graphics just like the tiny taillights of the 2002/1602 series. The licence plate sits between them in the middle of the trunk below the BMW emblem.
Below, the rear bumper features an old-school aerodynamic skirt with two modern slits on each side incorporating the reflectors. As a reminder, the 02 Reminiscence Concept is fully electric which explains the total lack of exhaust pipes.
Inside the cabin, David managed to combine his minimalistic approach with modern elements from the current BMW model range. The dashboard has a clean look, interrupted only by the central touchscreen with the latest BMW iDrive infotainment system.
This is complimented by the digital instrument cluster behind the classic three-spoke steering wheel and we would also expect a BMW-style heads-up-display.
The elongated climate vents finished in aluminium trim are beautifully integrated in the central stripe. Below them we find three aviation-style circular climate controls enclosing digital screens.
Since there is no gearbox, the two-part central tunnel has plenty of space for two cupholders, a practical storage space and a soft-touch armrest. Another nice touch is the seats which look like they merge with the surrounding interior trim.
The BMW 02 Reminiscence Concept is a design study full of nostalgia. As a modern reinterpretation of the 1602/2002, it does a great job in portraying the best design features of the ’70s, without looking like a bad copy.
David managed to stylistically infuse plenty of retro elements in a modern vehicle, while keeping the proportions sexy enough to make it desirable.
This is something quite difficult if you take under consideration the strict regulations that exist in automotive design and the huge size difference of today’s vehicles compared with the classics.
While a few details could be improved in order to make it look more like a true BMW, the 02 Reminiscence is a good example of a minimalistic approach, distancing itself from the current complex design trends.
Thus, with a few alterations, we could imagine it evolving into a full body conversion for the next generation BMW 2 Series that could potentially be available in a limited number of units as a collector’s item.
The BMW 02 Reminiscence Concept was independently designed by David Obendorfer for show purposes as a free-time project, and is not associated with BMW Group.