In 1970, BMW racing driver and businessman Hubert Hahne had the idea for a special-edition, high-spec version of the BMW 2002 TI which he wanted to give his new wife –  well-known actress Diana Körner – as a wedding present. The result was an exceptional series named after the lady in question. With fixtures and fittings by Stuttgart-based Baur, the most striking features of this 02 were definitely the twin headlamps (reminiscent of the luxurious E3-series 2500 and 2800) and the vibrant special paint colours, each of which adorned a single car.

Hubert Hahne began his career as a racing driver in the extremely popular touring car class, his victories in the BMW 1800 and BMW 2000 TI becoming the stuff of legend. In 1970 he brought his motor sport career to a close and reinvented himself as a businessman. His wedding present for his new wife, celebrated actress Diana Körner, needed to be something special – a one-of-a-kind BMW 2002 TI in a highly exclusive specification. This soon turned into a small series of special-edition models finished by Baur in Stuttgart. The “Diana” was born. BMW 02 specialist and parts dealer Michael Cahsel from Löhne in Germany owns of the few examples to have survived. 

“More expensive –by the dozen.”

This was the title of a two-page report on Hubert Hahne’s special model which appeared in issue 1, 1971 of German motoring magazine auto motor und sport. At the time, “Diana” had not yet been added to the name. The twelve vehicles in the batch differed externally only by colour. They were all BMW 2002 TI models with a sliding sunroof and alloy wheels. Five had white leather upholstery, while the others sported brown or black. The most striking elements were definitely the twin headlamps, which were not otherwise found on the BMW 02 series, but were reminiscent of the luxurious BMW 2500 / BMW 2800 models and the CS Coupe. The article gave the price as “from DM 21,500” while Hubert Hahne quoted DM 22,500. This was a bold statement in itself, because a BMW 2800 with a beefy six-cylinder engine could be had for less. Ditto not one but two standard BMW 2002s! At any rate, the “Diana” would be a rare and exclusive sight on the roads.

Fan and collector: Michael Cahsel.

BMW parts dealer and specialist Michael Cahsel has, according to the man himself, owned 495 BMWs from the 02 series to date and there are currently 30 in his showroom. The rarest item may well be the vibrant aubergine green metallic “Diana” at 10 o’clock in the historic photograph.

The first owner, who sold the car to Cahsel in 2008, ordered it on a whim at the 1970 Frankfurt Motor Show and had driven it very little over the years since. However, he dreamed of something even more individual. During the 1980s, car tuning company G-Power carried out customisation work for him, including distinctive flared wings and the front and rear spoilers. The bumpers were dispensed with entirely. This aggressive racing look was very popular at the time and very much in the mould of the works rally and touring cars of the day. These changes seem rather a shame from a present-day perspective, of course, but perhaps that is precisely why this car has survived, avoiding the wear and tear of day-to-day use.

Inside, a battery of additional instruments replace the original two in the centre console. The Hubert Hahne sports steering wheel was allowed to remain, as were the stylish sports seats in brown leather. At the heart of each “Diana” beat the standard BMW 2002 TI engine developing 120 hp, although it could take more without a problem. Indeed, Michael Cahsel’s car puts out some 150 hp, just as its looks suggest it might.

Falling for Diana.

A few “Dianas” may have survived, but barely any are so untouched in substance as this green specimen with just 73,000 kilometres (45,355 miles) on the clock. It has never suffered rust or accident, and its original parts are still present and correct. So, with a little effort, it could still be returned to its original state. Cahsel, however, likes his “Diana” exactly the way it is. It tells a story of all those who fell in love with Diana – both the woman herself and the special car that bore her name.

If you want to take a look around Michael Cahsel’s marvellous “living room”, packed as it is with BMW 02 dreams, be our guest. Beware, though – hidden desires may be unleashed!